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.

North Carolina head coach Mack Brown watches players during NCAA college football practice on Aug. 2 in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Football

The Dotted Line: Which programs are off to faster 2021 recruiting starts than Texas so far?

Posted March 11th, 2020

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Texas’ 2021 recruiting class currently ranks eighth in the country, per 247Sports’ composite ratings. The Longhorns have signed three consecutive top-10 classes — and back-to-back No. 3 classes in 2018 and 2019 — entering this cycle.

Five of Texas’ six commitments are ranked on the Fabulous 55 and are considered national top-250 prospects in the country. 

The Longhorns have the fewest commitments among the teams currently ranked in the national top-10 class rankings.

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Here’s a closer look at the seven classes currently rated above Texas’.

Four-star offensive tackle Donovan Jackson — the state’s top-rated recruit on the 2021 Fabulous 55 — is already pledged to Ohio State. (Mike Craven/American-Statesman)

1. Ohio State

Commitments: 10

Top pledges: 5-star DE Jack Sawyer, 5-star QB Kyle McCord, 4-star OT Donovan Jackson (Houston Bellaire Episcopal)

Ohio State didn’t miss a beat on or off the field when Ryan Day replaced Urban Meyer as head coach in Columbus following the 2018 season. The Buckeyes signed a top-5 class in 2020 and are setting the early pace in 2021 with two five-stars among their first 10 pledges. Jackson is the No. 1-ranked player on the Fabulous 55. The offensive lineman from Bellaire Episcopal would become the third top-ranked player on the Fab 55 to sign with the Buckeyes in the last five cycles, joining Lake Travis wide receiver Garrett Wilson in 2019 and Kennedale linebacker Barron Browning in 2017.  

2. Florida

Commitments: 14 

Top pledges: 4-star DE Tyreak Sapp, 4-star CB Clinton Burton Jr., 4-star WR Trevonte Rucker

Head coach Dan Mullen is wasting no time filling up his class; Florida leads the nation with 14 pledges. Eight of those 14 players hail from Florida, including Sapp, a big-bodied defensive end who ranks inside the top-100 nationally and is the nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp. Four of the other commitments are from Georgia. 

3. Clemson

Commitments: 9 

Top pledges: 5-star DE Korey Foreman, 4-star ILB Jeremiah Trotter Jr., 4-star WR Beaux Collins

Clemson routinely competes for national championships because Dabo Swinney’s program continually dominates the recruiting trail. Nothing will change for the Tigers in 2021 coming off another trip to the College Football Playoffs. Foreman, a 6-4, 265-pound defensive end from California, is the nation’s top-ranked prospect. Clemson already holds commitments from players representing six different states.  

4. North Carolina

Commitments: 9 

Top pledges: 4-star QB Drake Maye, 4-star DE Keeshawn Silver, 4-star WR Gavin Blackwell

Breaking news: Mack Brown can recruit. Texas fans are fully aware of Brown’s power of persuasion on the recruiting trail. The Tarheels finished in the top 20 in the 2020 class and hope to push for a top-10 group in Brown’s second full cycle in charge. The biggest recruiting news of the past month was North Carolina flipping Maye from Alabama. Eight of the nine commitments are from North Carolina. 

5. Notre Dame

Commitments: 7 

Top pledges: 4-star QB Tyler Buchner, 4-star WR Deion Colzie, 4-star OT Blake Fisher

Head coach Brian Kelly must improve from last cycle, when the Fighting Irish’s class checked in at No. 17. Notre Dame is off to a fast start in 2021 with Buchner, the nation’s third-ranked dual-threat quarterback, highlighting the early commitments. Colzie and Fisher are top-100 players nationally. 

6. Miami

Commitments: 10 

Top pledges: 4-star RB Thad Franklin, 4-star OL Laurence Seymore 4-star DT Savion Collins

Six of Miami’s first 10 pledges in the 2021 class hail from Miami. The long-term future of head coach Manny Diaz will be determined by his ability to keep the best players in the city to stay at home. The Hurricanes finished the 2020 cycle with the 13th-ranked class in the country. All 10 pledges are from Florida. In 2020, 14 of the Hurricanes’ 22 players were from Florida.

7. Wisconsin

No. of commitments: 8 

Top pledges: 4-star OT JP Benzchawel, 4-star OT Riley Mahlman, 4-star S Hunter Wohler

It isn’t shocking that Wisconsin’s best two commitments project to offensive tackle. The Badgers are likely to get bumped out of the top 10 of the recruiting rankings as higher-profile programs begin adding more players to their classes. Wisconsin finished the 2020 cycle with the 25th-ranked class in the country. 

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