Texas’ 2021 recruiting class sits at 17 members. It ranks 17th in the country, which would be the lowest-ranked class the Longhorns have signed in a year without a coaching change in more than two decades. Texas isn’t in great shape to add elite-level prospects, as the Longhorns lead for only one of the seven remaining uncommitted members of the Fabulous 55.
Tom Herman’s program has already lost five pledges from the 2021 class, including four-star athlete Billy Bowman Jr., who recently pledged to Oklahoma. The Longhorns need to stop the losses on the recruiting front in order to salvage the class. Here are three players Texas simply can’t afford to lose with six weeks remaining until the early signing period:
Ja’Tavion Sanders, ATH, Denton Ryan
FYI: 6-3, 220; five stars; No. 2-ranked athlete
Sanders is the only UT commit to rank inside the national top-100 on the 247Sports composite ratings. He’s also the only prospect in Texas’ class to rank inside the top-20 of the state rankings. He’s the 16th-ranked overall prospect in the entire nation and the only real elite prospect in Texas’ class. He starts on offense and defense for Denton Ryan, which is the same school attended by Bowman, who recently decommitted and is likely working on his friend.
The Longhorns view Sanders as a replacement option for defensive end Joseph Ossai, who is likely to enter the NFL draft next spring. Sanders starts at wide receiver and defensive end in high school, but defense is where he possesses the most upside. He’s recorded 20.5 sacks and 43 tackles for loss in two years.
Jonathon Brooks, RB, Hallettsville
FYI: 6-0, 185; three stars; No. 27-ranked running back
Brooks was supposed to be one of two backs signed by Texas in the 2021 class with the Longhorns hot on the trail of elite in-state prospects LJ Johnson and Camar Wheaton. With the early signing period approaching, Johnson is leaning toward Texas A&M and Wheaton toward Oklahoma. If the Longhorns aren’t planning on finding a second running back in the cycle beyond those two prospects, they must retain the pledge of Brooks. Brooks is playing outstanding as a senior and is inching toward a fourth star.
Hayden Conner, OT, Katy Taylor
FYI: 6-5, 317; four stars; No. 25-ranked offensive tackle
Texas’ ability to land elite 2021 offensive linemen was disappointing. Conner is the only lineman on the Fab 55 to pick Texas despite an historically deep offensive line class within the state. The Longhorns missed out on Tommy and James Brockermeyer. Donovan Jackson is headed to Ohio State. Bryce Foster is trending toward Oklahoma. Savion Byrd appears to be considering Oklahoma or SMU. Texas’ two line commitments outside of Conner are three-stars. Stanford is the program to watch with Conner.
|PLAYER||POS.||HIGH SCHOOL||STARS||COMMITMENT DATE|
|Hayden Conner||OT||Katy Taylor||4||July 23 (2019)|
|Juan Davis||WR/TE||Everman||3||July 26 (2019)|
|Derrick Harris Jr.||DE||New Caney||4||Aug. 3 (2019)|
|Ja'Tavion Sanders||ATH||Denton Ryan||5||Sept. 8 (2019)|
|Jordon Thomas||DE||Port Arthur Memorial||4||May 2|
|Morice Blackwell||OLB||Arlington Martin||4||May 10|
|Jonathon Brooks||RB||Hallettsville||3||May 15|
|Casey Cain||WR||Warren Easton (La.)||3||May 15|
|Isaac Pearson||P||ProKick Austrailia||NR||May 29|
|Ishmael Ibraheem||CB||Dallas Kimball||4||June 15|
|JD Coffey||S||Kennedale||4||June 15|
|Jamier Johnson||CB||John Muir (Pasadena, Calif.)||4||July 3|
|Gunnar Helm||TE||Cherry Creek (Englewood, Colo.)||3||July 27|
|Michael Myslinski||C||Bishop Kennedy (Jacksonville, Fla.)||3||Aug. 6|
|Jaden Alexis||WR||Monarch Prep (Pompano Beach, Fla.)||3||Aug. 8|
|Charles Wright||QB||Austin||3||Aug. 22|
|Max Merril||OT||Strake Jesuit||3||Sept. 25|
|Terrence Cooks||OLB||Alvin Shadow Creek||4||Nov. 14|
|Byron Murphy II||DT||DeSoto||3||Nov. 18|