13 members of the SI99 prospect rankings for the class of 2021 were at the position many would guess was best represented-- quarterback. 11 made the preseason cut last summer so it's clear what value that group presents in the perception and reality business that is college football recruiting.
The class of 2022 could be similarly strong at the position nationally, something even the casual college football fan is noticing heading into the month of March with even more quarterback dominoes falling over the weekend.
Ty Simpson, the in-state Tennessee legacy and dual-threat standout, was the most notable of these on Friday with his heavyweight decision to roll with the Crimson Tide of Alabama over Clemson, UT and many others. It resets Clemson and Tennessee's search for its signal-caller in the class of 2022, a rinse-and-repeat cycle happening throughout the college football world simultaneously.
More than 20 Power 5 programs have now secured verbal commitments from quarterback prospects to date, including Sam Horn (Missouri) and Jacob Knuth (Minnesota) in addition to Simpson over the weekend. Horn to the Tigers was a particularly big win given his national list of suitors and success in 2020 in leading Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill to the Class 7A state championship game on a gaudy 3,910-yard, 41-touchdown campaign. The Peach State athlete is also more than capable as a runner and especially on the baseball diamond, throwing better than 90 miles per hour on the hill.
February was busy on the quarterback trail prior to the weekend, too. The mid-month pledge of California quarterback Maalik Murphy to Texas still resonates as one of the biggest commitments of the cycle, especially given the at-the-time sting of UT losing top in-state passer Quinn Ewers to Ohio State before Tom Herman was fired. Fellow Texan Garrett Rangel picked Oklahoma State in the middle of the month, too.
Many elite passers have come to decisions of late and more are on the way as the calendar turns to March, with more P5 programs likely to have a fresh future face of the program in place this week.
Peach State QB AJ Swann announced a Monday afternoon commitment to Maryland. The Canton (Ga.) Cherokee junior has thrown for more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns over the last two seasons while completing right around 60% of his attempts. Swann is quite bullish on the Terps under Mike Locksley.
"They have the best coaching staff in the country," he told SIAA. "We are going to shock the world these next couple of years!"
Kaden Martin, a two-sport star with serious baseball talent and son of new Baltimore Ravens assistant and national champion QB Tee Martin, is to select between four programs on Wednesday afternoon. The Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic star announced a final group of Oregon, Arizona State, Miami and local Tennessee over the weekend. Many of those programs, including dark horse Georgia Tech and UT's new staff under Josh Heupel, are scheduled to make final pitches Monday evening.
Cade Klubnik, the Texas state champion who was just offered by Clemson, told SI All-American he would be committed by the month of May, at 'the latest.' The Tigers are generating plenty of buzz after missing out on Simpson to Alabama, but Klubnik has Florida, Penn State, North Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M and others in the mix. He has been clear about not dropping a list of final programs or top schools, etc. moving forward.
[Related: The Cade Klubnik Blog]
Drew Allar may be heating up most among 2022 quarterbacks. The Medina (Ohio) star threw for nearly 3,000 yards in 2020 and has seen his offer list add suitors seemingly by the day. Tennessee offered on Sunday, following Notre Dame, Louisville, Ole Miss, Illinois and Georgia Tech in the final week of February. Penn State, Michigan, Washington, South Carolina, Kentucky and others jumped in previously.
If the Midwest red-hot talent award doesn't go to Allar, it's a shoe-in win for Tayven Jackson. The big Indiana native with the live arm added offers from Florida and Tennessee over the weekend. Also a basketball player at 6-foot-5, the Greenwood (Ind.) star was also offered by South Carolina in February. Texas A&M, Oregon, Michigan and others offered in January.
Allar, Jackson, Jacurri Brown and Conner Harrell are part of the crop of passers that don't appear to be as accelerated with the recruiting process when it comes to a decision. Brown, out of Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes, is down to Arizona State, Florida, Miami, Texas A&M and Auburn. Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson state champion arm Harrell has been adding his share of new offers, including Vanderbilt and Louisville of late, wants to visit campuses before coming to a commitment.
Programs Taking Two
The old-school recruiting notion of one top passer per program largely remains in place, but not always. In 2021, USC and Florida were among the programs which signed multiple senior quarterbacks and we will see it again in 2021. Texas, Texas A&M, Auburn, Penn State and Florida State are among the programs still after some of the nation's best despite having a prospect at the position already on the commitment list.
Some P5 coaching staffs recruiting the position regardless of their commitment list, thanks to the commit-decommit nature of the business. Texas has already survived a decommitment at QB in Ewers while South Carolina is still searching for its 2022 guy following Gunner Stockton's move from USC to Georgia. Auburn was the program most pegged Stockton for when he backed off of the USC pledge, but the Tigers have rebounded in adding Holden Geriner on February 1.
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