The Dotted Line

Stay updated on the latest Texas Longhorns recruiting news brought to you by Longhorns recruiting beat writer Mike Craven of Hookem.com. The Dotted Line will publish M-F at 10 a.m. each morning to provide Texas fans with an in-depth look at the latest for the Longhorns on the recruiting trail.

Duncanville offensive tackle Savion Byrd is a four-star in the 2021 class. (Mike Craven)

Football

The Dotted Line: Nine prospects from the 2021 Fabulous 55 remain uncommitted

Posted October 7th, 2020

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Nine players of the 2021 Fabulous 55 remain uncommitted with two months remaining until the early signing period after four-star safety Andrew Mukuba, No. 30 on the list, chose Clemson over Texas and LSU. The 2021 cycle is unlike any other with COVID-19 restrictions preventing recruits from taking official visits to campuses. That hasn’t stopped the bulk of prospects from committing.

But where are those nine uncommitted players leaning?

Cy-Fair running back LJ Johnson in the top-rated uncommitted prospect in Texs. (Mike Craven/American-Statesman)

LJ Johnson, running back, Houston Cypress-Fairbanks

FYI: 5-10, 204; four stars; No. 4-ranked running back

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Fab 55 rank: 4

Top schools: Texas, Texas A&M, LSU

The state of Texas is home to two of the nation’s top five running back prospects. Johnson is my pick for the state’s top back by a smidge over Camar Wheaton, mostly because Johnson is proven against stiffer competition. The Longhorns wanted to sign one of the two entering the cycle, and Texas is poised to achieve that with Johnson leaning toward Tom Herman’s program thanks to a great relationship with UT running backs coach Stan Drayton. Texas A&M is the other team to watch. 

Johnson was the District 17-6A newcomer of the year in 2018 as a sophomore and a Texas Associated Press all-state selection as a junior. He entered his senior season with 3,090 rushing yards and 57 touchdowns on the ground. He’s also a solid receiver out of the backfield, too. Cy-Fair is currently ranked in the top 20 of Class 6A. Johnson hasn’t announced when he’ll announce or if he’ll wait until national signing day in February in hopes that visits can happen early in 2021. 

Prediction: Texas

 

Bryce Foster, guard, Katy Taylor

FYI: 6-4, 315; four stars; No. 4-ranked guard

Fab 55 rank: 8 

Top schools: Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas

Foster wants to take visits before picking a school, and he might do so on his own family’s dime if the NCAA doesn’t loosen restrictions. Oklahoma and Texas A&M are in a two-team race for him with Oregon and Texas on the outside looking in, but that could change depending on season results, potential coaching changes and what school he enjoys the most when, or if, he gets to take a real visit. His Taylor teammate, Hayden Conner, is pledged to Texas. 

Prediction: Oklahoma

 

Camar Wheaton, running back, Garland Lakeview Centennial

FYI: 5-11, 190; five stars; No. 1-ranked running back

Fab 55 rank: 10

Top schools: Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma

Wheaton is considered the top back in the state on 247Sports’ composite ranking. He dominates his competition in Garland, and he’s the most explosive running back in Texas with legit track speed. The truth is that he and Johnson are both fantastic prospects and ranking them as teenagers is likely splitting hairs. Wheaton’s offer list is impressive. Oklahoma must hold off SEC powers to earn his signature.  

Prediction: Oklahoma

 

Savion Byrd, offensive tackle, Duncanville

FYI: 6-5, 265; four stars; No. 6-ranked offensive tackle 

Fab 55 rank: 11

Top schools: LSU, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas

Texas appears to have fallen off pace for Byrd. He’s a naturally quiet person, so it isn’t surprising that he goes about recruiting without much fanfare despite being a consensus top-15 player in the state with an offer list of 21 power programs. But don’t rule out SMU. The Mustangs are playing well, it’s his hometown team and there are connections between the Duncanville and SMU coaching staffs. 

Prediction: SMU

 

Shemar Turner, defensive end, DeSoto

FYI: 6-3, 282; four stars; No. 117-ranked nationally 

Fab 55 rank: 15 

Top schools: LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Texas A&M

Turner is the state’s best defensive prospect still uncommitted. He’s a big-bodied lineman who plays defensive end now but could grow into a three-technique defensive tackle. He began making an impact at DeSoto as a sophomore when he was named the District 7-6A co-defensive sophomore of the year. He was a first-team all-district selection as a junior. Potential visits loom large for Turner. My feeling is that it is becoming a two-team race between Texas and Texas A&M. 

Prediction: Texas

 

Dametrious Crownover, tight end, Grandview

FYI: 6-6, 275; four stars; No. 11-ranked tight end

Fab 55 rank: 31 

Top schools: Baylor, Nebraska, Texas A&M

Crownover is ranked as a tight end, but he’s probably best listed as an athlete. He’s a big, athletic two-way player with potential as a tight end or defensive lineman. I like him more as a three-technique defensive tackle. His older brother is already at Texas A&M. It’d be surprising if Crownover didn’t follow the same path. 

Prediction: Texas A&M

 

Terrence Cooks, outside linebacker, Alvin Shadow Creek

FYI: 6-2, 210; three stars; No. 25-ranked outside linebacker 

Fab 55 rank: 44

Top schools: Baylor, LSU, Texas

Cooks is a long-time target of Texas’ defensive staff. A trip to Austin in February was one of the last recruiting-related events that Cooks did before the travel restrictions were put in place. He’s close with a few UT commits and current UT players, which is good news for the Longhorns. Texas needs to improve at linebacker. He’d already be pledged f it was a slam dunk, however. Baylor and LSU are legit players in Cooks’ recruitment. 

Prediction: Texas

 

KJ Liggins, athlete, Coppell

FYI: 5-11, 185; three stars; No. 139-ranked wide receiver 

Fab 55 rank: 52

Top schools: Texas A&M, Arkansas, Mississippi State, SMU

Liggins is at Coppell for his senior season after helping Denton Guyer reach the Class 6A Division I state championship game as a junior. Some see him as a wide receiver. Others as a safety. Either way, the two-way star is among the most impactful players in Texas. 

Prediction: Arkansas

 

Cam’ron Valdez, running back, Rockdale

FYI: 5-10, 187; three stars; No. 18-ranked running back

Fab 55 rank: 53

Top schools: Nebraska, Arkansas, Arizona State, Texas Tech

Valdez avoids recruiting headlines because he plays relatively small-town football outside of a major metroplex. He’s still among the best players in the state despite the lack of attention from national recruiting services. He’s a big, athletic player holding 26 offers. Texas Tech is in the running, but my feeling is that he’s tempted to leave the state. Valdez was the District 10-3A Division I newcomer of the year as a sophomore and the same district’s offensive MVP as a junior.

Prediction: Arizona State

RANK (PREV.)PLAYERPOS.HIGH SCHOOLCOLLEGE
1. (1)Donovan JacksonOLBellaire Episcopal (TAPPS)Ohio State
2. (2)Tommy BrockermeyerOLFort Worth All Saints (TAPPS)Alabama
3. (3)Ja'Tavion SandersATHDenton Ryan (5A)Texas
4. (6)Billy Bowman Jr.ATHDenton Ryan (5A)Uncommitted
5. (12)LJ JohnsonRBCy-Fair (6A)Uncommitted
6. (23)Clayton SmithOLBTexas High (6A)Oklahoma
7. (13)Cody JacksonWRRichmond Foster (5A)Oklahoma
8. (5)Bryce FosterOLKaty TaylorUncommitted
9. (4)Landon JacksonDETexarkana Pleasant Grove (3A)LSU
10. (15)Camar WheatonRBGarland Lakeview CentennialUncommitted
11. (7)Savion ByrdOLDuncanville (6A)Uncommitted
12. (10)Jalen MilroeQBKaty Tompkins (6A)Alabama
13. (17)JoJo EarleWRAledo (5A)LSU
14. (11)Marcus BurrisDTTexarkana Pleasant Grove (3A)Texas A&M
15. (38)Shemar TurnerDEDeSoto (6A)Uncommitted
16. (21)Demetrius DavisQBGalena Park North Shore (6A)Auburn
17. (9)Shadrach BanksWRGalena Park North Shore (6A)Texas A&M
18. (8)Preston StoneQBParish Episcopal (TAPPS)SMU
19. (14)Quay DavisWRDallas Skyline (6A)USC
20. (NR)Garrett NussmeierQBFlower Mound Marcus (6A)LSU
21. (16)Latrell McCutchinCBAustin LBJ (4A)Oklahoma
22. (18)Ishmael IbraheemCBDallas Kimball (5A)Texas
23. (20)Reuben Fatheree IIOLRichmond Foster (5A)Texas A&M
24. (28)Ketron JacksonWRRoyse City (5A)Arkansas
25. (22)Sawyer RobertsonQBLubbock Coronado (5A)Mississippi State
26. (24)Theodore KnoxWRThe Woodlands (6A)Mississippi State
27. (25)Jordon ThomasDEPort Arthur Memorial (5A)Texas
28. (30)Eli StowersQBDenton Guyer (6A)Texas A&M
29. (29)Landyn WatsonDEHutto (5A)TCU
30. (NR)Andrew MukubaSAustin LBJ (4A)Clemson
31. (21)Dametrious CrownoverTEGrandview (3A)Uncommitted
32. (32)JD CoffeySKennedale (4A)Texas
33. (NR)Kaidon SalterQBCedar Hill (6A)Tennessee
34. (35)Behren MortonQBEastland (3A)Texas Tech
35. (26)Derrick Harris Jr.DENew Caney (5A)Texas
36. (44)Kyron DronesQBAlvin Shadow Creek (5A)Baylor
37. (27)Kendrick BlackshireILBDuncanville (6A)Alabama
38. (31)Hayden ConnerOLKaty Taylor (6A)Texas
39. (36)Hunter WashingtonCBKaty (6A)Florida State
40. (NR)Elijah ArroyoTEFrisco Independence (5A)Miami
41. (51)Jordan JenkinsRBLindale (5A)Baylor
42. (39)Jaeden RobertsOLGalena Park North Shore (6A)Auburn
43. (41)Cisco CatsonSWeatherford (6A)Baylor
44. (47)Terrence CooksOLBAlvin Shadow Creek (5A)Uncommitted
45. (40)James BrockermeyerOLFort Worth All Saints (TAPPS)Alabama
46. (NR)Morice BlackwellOLBArlington Bowie (6A)Texas
47. (46)Deuce HarmonCBDenton Guyer (6A)Texas A&M
48. (52)David AbiaraDEMansfield Legacy (5A)Notre Dame
49. (55)Byron Murphy IIDTDeSoto (6A)Baylor
50. (34)Cullen MontgomeryOLBellaire Episcopal (TAPPS)Oklahoma
51. (33)Brandon CampbellRBLamar Consolidated (5A)USC
52. (37)KJ LigginsWRDenton GuyerUncommitted
53. (49)Cam'ron ValdezRBRockdale (4A)Uncommitted
54. (42)Bryson GreenWRAllen (6A)Oklahoma State
55. (50)Matthew WykoffOLMagnolia (5A)Texas A&M

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