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The Dotted Line: Del Valle wide receiver Caleb Burton is the latest Texan heading off to Ohio State

The ongoing trend of top prospects from Texas deciding to play football at Ohio State must be concerning in-state programs. Del Valle wide receiver Caleb Burton joined the group on Monday when the five-star junior picked the Buckeyes over 38 other offers, including Texas and Texas A&M. He’s the second-ranked wide receiver in the 2022 class.

Del Valle, TX; Del Valle Cardinals wide receiver Caleb Burton (5) runs after a pass reception against the McNeil Mavericks during the first quarter at the non-district football game on Friday, Aug 30, 2019, at Del Valle High School. [JOHN GUTIERREZ/FOR STATESMAN]

The loss of Burton follows Ohio State’s flip of five-star junior quarterback Quinn Ewers from Texas. Ewers, the top-ranked quarterback in the country for 2022, originally picked Texas in August, then backed away from the Longhorns on Oct. 28. He picked Ohio State on Nov. 19. Ewers and Burton are among the top five recruits in Texas for the 2022 cycle. 

Ohio State swooping into Texas to take away its best recruits is nothing new. The Buckeyes signed South Grand Prairie defensive back Jeff Okudah, Kennedale linebacker Baron Browning and La Grange running back J.K. Dobbins in 2017. Ohio State added Lake Travis five-star receiver Garrett Wilson in 2019 and five-star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba from Rockwall in 2020.

In fact, since Tom Herman took over the Texas program late in the 2017 recruiting cycle, Ohio State has signed more five-stars (4) from the state than the Longhorns (3), and there have only been 17 five-star Texans in that span.

Ewers and Burton would raise Ohio State’s total to six five-star Texans since the 2017 class. 

The mass exodus of recruits from Texas is not restricted to Ohio State. Only two of the top 15 prospects on the 2021 Fabulous 55 are committed to in-state programs. Donovan Jackson, a five-star offensive lineman from Houston, is committed to the Buckeyes. 

The state’s second-ranked player, Tommy Brockermeyer, is pledged to Alabama despite the fact that his father played for the Longhorns and his older brother is currently on Texas’ roster. Billy Bowman Jr., Clayton Smith and Cody Jackson are headed to Oklahoma. Landon Jackson and JoJo Earle to LSU. Jalen Milroe to Alabama. Dematrius Davis to Auburn. 

The reason is simple: winning. A Texas program hasn’t competed on the national level since Colt McCoy left Austin. Until that changes, the best players from the will represent other states on the collegiate level. 

Savion Byrd sets commitment date

Duncanville offensive tackle Savion Byrd is one of six uncommitted players left on the 2021 Fab 55. The four-star will pick a school on Dec. 16, the first day of the early signing period. The 6-5, 295-pound tackle is ranked 11th on the Fab 55. He holds 21 offers and is considering Oklahoma, SMU, Auburn, LSU and Texas. Most predictions favor Oklahoma or SMU. 

Byrd was a first-team all-district selection as a sophomore, blocking for current UT quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson. He moved to defensive tackle as a junior to help out where Duncanville lacked talent, and he helped his program reach the Class 6A Division I state championship for the second consecutive season. 

Texas’ 2021 class consists of three offensive line commits in what looks like a disappointing cycle. The Longhorns hoped to land the Brockermeyer twins, but Tommy and James picked Alabama. Byrd and Bryce Foster remain uncommitted, but the Longhorns are on the outside looking in for both players. 

Texas makes cut for JJ Henry

The Longhorns were among eight schools that made the cut for three-star slot receiver JJ Henry. The McKinney North product is among the top targets on Texas’ 2021 board  with less than a month before the early signing period. Henry, the 69th-ranked receiver in the country, could wait until national signing day in February because his season is still in district play. 

Texas is in the mix with Florida State, Ole Miss, TCU and five other programs. Henry was the District 7-5A Division I co-offensive MVP as a junior after catching 71 passes for 1,418 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also scored two rushing touchdowns. He also excels as a basketball player and long-jumper on the track team.