Biggest Recruiting Wins of the Offseason so Far
Since college football coaches can't conduct on-campus workouts and activities, they're all focused on building the 2021 recruiting class.
Despite the restrictions on in-person communication, prospects are committing to schools at a scorching rate. At this point on the calendar, per 247Sports, the 2021 cycle already has double the number of verbal pledges compared to any recent season.
And that includes a sizable group of top prospects.
For good reason, most of the players highlighted are the highest-rated talents in the class. Several of them, though, are particularly notable because of what they'll potentially bring to their future program. The list is organized alphabetically by school.
Alabama: 4-Star WR Jacorey Brooks
Recruiting ranking: No. 39 OVR
Once the 2021 NFL draft has finished, it's possible Alabama will have developed a quartet of first-round picks in two seasons. Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith are hoping to follow a similar path to 2020 selections Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy.
Jacorey Brooks might be next.
Last season at Booker T. Washington in Miami, Florida, he collected 99 passes for 1,281 yards and 18 touchdowns. Brooks committed to the Tide in early May, choosing Alabama over Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Miami, among others.
Clemson: 5-Star RB Will Shipley
Recruiting ranking: No. 25 OVR
The top all-purpose back in the class, Shipley announced his verbal pledge to the Tigers in early May. Should he stick with Clemson, he'll join the backfield after superstar Travis Etienne heads to the NFL, with Lyn-J Dixon a candidate to leave early.
Shipley scampered for 2,066 yards and 30 touchdowns last season, adding 34 catches for 582 yards and eight scores.
North Carolina: 4-Star QB Drake Maye
Recruiting ranking: No. 52 OVR
Based on his performance as a freshman last year, quarterback Sam Howell isn't long for North Carolina. The strong-armed quarterback will likely be a well-regarded NFL prospect during the 2022 season.
Maye—the brother of recent UNC basketball star Luke Maye—shredded opponents for 3,512 yards and 50 touchdowns against only two interceptions last year. Best of all for the Heels, he dropped a pledge to Alabama in favor of North Carolina.
It's safe to say that's enormous.
Ohio State: 5-Star RB TreVeyon Henderson
Recruiting ranking: No. 19 OVR
You can never have enough playmakers.
Ohio State's backfield is expected to rely on Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon and Master Teague next season. Marcus Crowley and Steele Chambers are also on the roster, and the Buckeyes picked up 3-star Miyan Williams in the 2020 recruiting class.
But when a 5-star talent like TreVeyon Henderson is interested, it's only smart to prioritize him too. Ranked as the 19th-best prospect in the class, Henderson committed to the Buckeyes in March.
In 2019, he amassed 2,424 yards and 45 touchdowns as a runner and had 18 catches for 283 yards and five more scores.
Ohio State: 4-Star DE Tunmise Adeleye
Recruiting ranking: No. 33 OVR
Ohio State assistant Larry Johnson is widely recognized as the best defensive line coach in the country. It's easy to understand why Tunmise Adeleye chose the Buckeyes in mid-April.
Adeleye joins a class that already features defensive end Jack Sawyer, the No. 3 overall prospect of the 2021 class. Sawyer, though, is from Ohio; Adelaye—who's set to attend IMG Academy in Florida—is originally from the Houston area.
Dominating the state is important for the Buckeyes, but landing blue-chip out-of-state prospects should keep them an annual national powerhouse.
Oklahoma: 4-Star WR Mario Williams
Recruiting ranking: No. 40 OVR
Under the leadership of head coach Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma has solidified itself as one of the nation's most prolific offenses. Adding elite receivers only strengthens the long-term future of that reputation.
And the latest addition is Mario Williams.
Plucked out of Plant City, Florida, the 4-star target committed to the Sooners in mid-May. Williams chose Oklahoma over the SEC quartet of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU.
Heading into his senior year, Williams has 120 receptions for 2,448 yards and 33 touchdowns in high school.
Tennessee: 5-Star DE Dylan Brooks
Recruiting ranking: No. 21 OVR
Toward the end of April, Tennessee had a respectable class but lacked star power. Dylan Brooks changed that in a major way while sparking a tremendous surge.
Brooks announced his commitment to the Vols on April 26. During the next 15 days, they added another 5-star, six 4-stars and four additional 3-star talents. Tennessee's class soared from a No. 17 national ranking all the way to No. 2.
Assigning too much credit is possible, but Brooks' pledge certainly didn't hurt the Vols' recruiting pitch.
Tennessee: 5-Star LB Terrence Lewis
Recruiting ranking: No. 10 OVR
Head coach Jeremy Pruitt seemed destined to improve Tennessee's success on the recruiting trail, but this is remarkable.
Two 5-stars in one class for the second time? Spectacular.
Four days after Brooks committed, Terrence Lewis announced for Tennessee too. The 6'1", 200-pounder chose the Vols over Alabama, LSU, Nebraska, Penn State and Texas A&M. Lewis is considered the best outside linebacker in the class.
He collected 207 tackles with 50 takedowns for loss and 24 sacks during the last two seasons.