The 2021 college football recruiting cycle has been a roller-coaster considering the rush of early commitments, prospects dealing with an unusual schedule because of COVID-19 and so much more.
The frantic news cycle had been relatively calm as high school seasons across America kicked off over recent weeks -- at least until Friday.
Several intriguing prospects, many SI All-American candidates, came off the board in the last 24 hours while another opened his recruitment back up.
Philip Riley Jr. - Decommited from Notre Dame
This week wasn't the best for Notre Dame, as earlier in the week its game vs. Wake Forest was cancelled due to the Irish having several positive COVID-19 tests. Then, to end the week, the Golden Domers lost their commitment from CB prospect Philip Riley out of Valrico (Fla.) Bloomingdale. Riley couldn't get to South Bend due to the pandemic, which factored into his decision to back off his pledge. Look for USC, Boston College, Michigan State, Oregon and Clemson to get into the mix, with Notre Dame trying to re-secure the defensive back.
Diego Pounds - Committed to North Carolina
North Carolina has a commitment from SI99 QB Drake Maye, and head coach Mack Brown knows he will need to protect his future signal-caller. Enter 6-foot-6, 305-pound Diego Pounds, who committed to the Tar Heels on Friday. The big OL can play OT or OG, and he could blossom with a vast ceiling on Chapel Hill since he only recently began playing football a few years ago. Pounds' pledge gives Brown 17 players in his 2021 class, which is currently ranked 14th by SI All-American.
Rod Orr - Committed to Florida State
Florida State has had a rough early-season in the win-loss column as well as generally headed into a matchup with heavily-favored rival Miami Saturday evening. One of the biggest problem areas for the Seminoles in 2019 was up front, so adding a massive offensive tackle like Orr to the mix is welcome news in more ways than one. It helps push the program's Alabama pipeline and really lands on a large need. Orr is 6-foot-7, right around 300 pounds and packs some punch along with great length and athleticism. The well-proportioned prospect has an ideal frame but plays with functional strength at the point, too.
Jasper Lott - Committed to TCU
The Horned Frogs landed an in-state commitment from TE-Y prospect Jasper Lott on Friday morning. From Argyle (Texas), the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder is at his best working as an in-line blocker, which has our staff believing he could likely grow into an OT in Fort Worth. Lott's pledge gives head coach Gary Patterson 8 commitments, and he's the third Texas native to pick TCU in this '21 cycle.
Max Merril - Committed to Texas
Texas has been trending in the trenches and adds to its 2021 group with an in-stater in Merril, the third offensive line commitment in the last eight weeks or so up front. He joins swing tackle talent Hayden Conner and interior projection Michael Myslinski as a compliment who could play guard or potentially tackle down the line. Merril profiles like a leverage prospect at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds and plays with a clear edge, especially in the run game. He plays tackle at the prep level with some patience in his pass set, critical for what Texas wants to do offensively.
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