The Dotted Line

Stay updated on the latest Texas Longhorns recruiting news brought to you by Longhorns recruiting beat writer Mike Craven of 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.

Hallettsville running back Jonathon Brooks committed to Texas on May 15. (Mike Craven/Austin American-Statesman)


The Dotted Line: Three current 2021 commitments that Texas can’t afford to lose

Posted November 5th, 2020


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.

Denton Ryan’s Ja’Tavion Sanders is the highest-rated commitment in Texas’ 2021 class. (Jeff Woo/Denton Record-Chronicle)

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. 

Hayden ConnerOTKaty Taylor4July 23 (2019)
Juan DavisWR/TEEverman3July 26 (2019)
Derrick Harris Jr.DENew Caney4Aug. 3 (2019)
Ja'Tavion SandersATHDenton Ryan5Sept. 8 (2019)
Jordon ThomasDEPort Arthur Memorial4May 2
Morice BlackwellOLBArlington Martin4May 10
Jonathon BrooksRBHallettsville3May 15
Casey CainWRWarren Easton (La.)3May 15
Isaac PearsonPProKick AustrailiaNRMay 29
Ishmael IbraheemCBDallas Kimball4June 15
JD CoffeySKennedale4June 15
Jamier JohnsonCBJohn Muir (Pasadena, Calif.)4July 3
Gunnar HelmTECherry Creek (Englewood, Colo.)3July 27
Michael MyslinskiCBishop Kennedy (Jacksonville, Fla.)3Aug. 6
Jaden AlexisWRMonarch Prep (Pompano Beach, Fla.)3Aug. 8
Charles WrightQBAustin3Aug. 22
Max MerrilOTStrake Jesuit3Sept. 25
Terrence CooksOLBAlvin Shadow Creek4Nov. 14
Byron Murphy IIDTDeSoto3Nov. 18