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The Dotted Line: Pair of offensive linemen, Texas commit in mix to be state's top player

Denton Ryan's Ja'Tavion Sanders, left, has been a high school standout as both a wide receiver and a defensive end. The five-star athlete who's committed to Texas has played more offense than defense his senior season.

An updated version of the 2021 Fabulous 55 is set to release before the early signing period next week. Despite an unfair and unprecedented process for this cycle's recruits, most are poised to sign during the early period despite not taking official visits because of travel restrictions issued by the NCAA over COVID-19 concerns. 

It was a hard year to scout as well. There were no elite camps like The Opening. Going to watch practices, and even games, has been a chore because of stadium capacity limitations and individual school district’s rules regarding attendance by media members. 

Who'll be the No. 1-ranked player in the state is a three-player race between a pair of five-star offensive linemen and a five-star athlete who could star at either defensive end or wide receiver:

Tommy Brockermeyer, OT, Fort Worth All Saints Espicopal

FYI: 6-6, 283; five stars; No. 2-ranked offensive tackle 

College: Committed to Alabama

Brockermeyer possesses every trait required to be an elite tackle. He’s big. He’s long. He’s athletic. He has a mean streak. And his dad, Blake, was an All-American at Texas before a career in the NFL. Tommy has the pedigree and the talent to succeed at the highest levels of football. That means NFL potential. 

Tommy, and his twin brother James, a four-star center, are committed to Alabama. They picked the Crimson Tide over the Longhorns because of the winning tradition in Tuscaloosa as well as Alabama’s reputation of developing prep stars into NFL picks. Tommy ranked second overall on the original Fab 55. He’s the top-ranked player in the state on the 247Sports composite ranking.

Donovan Jackson, G, Houston Bellaire Episcopal

FYI: 6-4, 308; five stars; No. 1-ranked guard 

College: Committed to Ohio State

Jackson was the No. 1-ranked player on the original Fab 55 in February. Tommy Brockermeyer missed his junior season due to an injury. That left Jackson to dominate the season and camp circuit while Tommy mended. Jackson was the offensive line MVP of the 2019 The Opening despite being the only junior there that year. He plays tackle in high school but is expected to move inside to guard or center at Ohio State. 

Jackson might not possess the upside of tackle prospects like Brockermeyer, but he's a ready-made product who could be the rare true freshman offensive lineman to contribute right away. He reminds me a lot of Kenyon Green, who was a top-five member of the 2019 Fab 55 and is now a two-year starter at guard for Texas A&M.

Ja’Tavion Sanders, ATH, Denton Ryan

FYI: 6-3, 220; five stars; No. 1-ranked athlete 

College: Committed to Texas

Sanders is a two-way star who has dominated Class 5A competition at wide receiver and defensive end. He’s become more of a receiver as a senior with Denton Ryan fielding an elite defense without him playing every snap. His size and athleticism is an unfair matchup for high school defensive backs. He caught 35 passes for 658 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns in nine regular season games. 

Keeping Sanders committed has been an impressive feat pulled off by Tom Herman and his staff despite Texas' struggles on the field and the rumors surrounding Herman’s job stability. Sanders is an elite prospect who can contribute to the team in his first season. The prevailing opinion is that he's destined for defensive end, but I’m not so sure. He loves playing offense and that might be his eventual position if the choice is his to make.