HOUSTON — It’s almost odd for a star in the 2020 class to still be uncommitted. Forty players on the Fabulous 55 are already pledged to a school. The trend is continued residue from the advent of the early signing period and the ability of juniors to take official visits in the spring.
Defensive backs Xavion Alford and Joshua Eaton took a different route on the recruiting trail, taking time to access every factor.
“I’d tell guys to stay patient in this process and wait it out,” Alford said. “College football is a business and it is eye-opening.”
Alford is a four-star safety from Alvin Shadow Creek. He’s the 11th-ranked safety in the country and No. 31 on the Fab 55. At 6-0.5 and 188 pounds, he’s the most versatile defensive back in the state. He can play corner, safety or nickel. He was a first-team all-district selection after recording 61 tackles and six interceptions in 2018. He helped lead Shadow Creek to a state championship game appearance in Class 5A Division I.
“It’s real crazy right now,” Alford said Saturday night at the Fast 7v7 Members Only event in Houston. “It’s getting time to make my decision. I can’t take it for granted. It’s been a blessing.”
Alford plans to enroll early, and Texas and Texas A&M are competing for his pledge. The Aggies lead and could gain his commitment before the end of the week. “It comes down to where I feel comfortable, going somewhere I can win, and where I can get on the field early.”
Alford and Eaton were both on hand for the Houston event. The two grew close through their experience playing elite 7-on-7 football. Elite recruits are part of a special fraternity. Only the prospects receiving the constant calls and social media pressure can understand the plight of a teenager tasked with making the biggest decision of his life.
“Josh and I compared notes, and I did that with some other guys,” Alford said. “It’s always good to know what each college is telling us and if it all lines up.”
If Texas does land Alford, it’ll be because of its defensive scheme.
“I love Texas’ defense. It is similar to what we do at our high school,” he said. “It’s safety-oriented and that’s a fun defense to play in because it’s all about speed.”
Eaton is a 6-2 cornerback from Fort Bend MacArthur. The four-star prospect is ranked No. 41 on the Fab 55. He’s considered the 25th-best cornerback in the country for the 2020 cycle. He was a first-team all-district performer as a junior and has picked up 31 offers. Texas is among his favorites after another visit to campus in early August.
“The coaching staff and players at Texas are outstanding. They’ve always treated me right and kept it real throughout the entire process,” Eaton said. “I enjoyed every visit there. It was always a good time.”
“I know where I want to go; I just haven’t announced it yet,” he said. “It’s going to be about where I felt most comfortable with the coaches and the players.”
Much is made of conference allegiances in recruiting. Eaton doesn’t agree.
“You can get to the NFL from anywhere, even JUCO, so it’s all about how you play and handle your business,” he said.