Counter Intel: Wolverines Add Big-Time Speed, NFL Legacy Heading to Lincoln, and Saban Flips Mississippi State Pledge

By Andrew Ellis on July 12, 2020 at 11:05 am
The Wolverines added some big-time speed in California WR Xavier Worthy.
Four-star WR Xavier Worthy

Counter Intel is the smart Ohio State fan's look at recruiting action taking place within the Big Ten and top national programs.

Speedy Cali Wideout Picks Michigan

Jim Harbaugh has been a presence out west for the last few weeks, and the Wolverines picked up commitment No. 3 from the region when Fresno, California wideout Xavier Worthy announced his decision on Friday. At 6-foot-1 and 160 pounds, Worthy is the 20th commitment for Harbaugh's 2021 recruiting class that's still second in the conference and No. 8 nationally. Auburn, Georgia, LSU, and Oregon were also in the picture with the Ducks being the top competition.

This is a really nice addition for Josh Gattis and the Michigan offense. Worthy is one of the fastest players in the country (10.55 in the 100m as a sophomore) and immediately becomes the most explosive piece in the Wolverines' class. Sophomore wideout Giles Jackson – a 2019 signee who also hails from California – played a big role in recruiting Worthy to Ann Arbor. 

He's the country's No. 32 wide receiver prospect and No. 16 overall in the state of California. Worthy joined fellow Californian Cristian Dixon and Clayton, Ohio's Markus Allen as the class's three pass-catchers. We'll see if he can avoid a Donovan Peoples-Jones type of career at the next level. 

More Star Power for SEC's Best 

Alabama and Georgia each added to the commitment column this week. And oddly enough, both programs are still outside of the top-10 in the national team rankings. Despite all of that, these are two of the teams that may push the Buckeyes for the top spot when all is said and done. 

The Crimson Tide flipped former Mississippi State commit Kadarius Calloway. A native of Philadelphia, Mississippi (a place I never knew existed), he's a three-star athlete that Alabama views as a safety prospect. Calloway had been committed to the Bulldogs since October of 2019. Joe Moorhead was running the show at the time, but he's since been fired and is now the offensive coordinator at Oregon.

Kirby Smart's latest get came in the form of four-star outside linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson. The Baltimore product named his top schools back in June, and that list consisted of several SEC powers alongside the in-state Terrapins. He's the country's No. 214 prospect and 14th-best outside linebacker.

Interestingly enough, Dumas-Johnson's 247 Sports player comparison is listed as former Ohio State commit Ejuan Price. Price actually signed with the Buckeyes back in 2011, but he never joined the team and eventually was granted a release and transferred to the hometown Pitt Panthers. He legitimately flipped a coin on signing day to determine his college destination

Plenty of Action in the B1G West 

The rest of the news from within the conference took place in the West Division, and it was headlined by a trio of new commitments for Lovie Smith. The top-rated of the bunch was in-state center Josh Kreutz. He's undersized at 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds and holds mostly MAC offers, but Kreutz is listed as the No. 15 center in the country. The class is up to 13 commitments now, and oddly enough Kreutz was the first from the state of Illinois.

One area that has been an integral part of Love Smith's class has been the Sunshine State. Over half of the program's 2021 commits now hail from the state of Florida thanks to last week's addition of three-star Tampa safety DD Snyder. He's ranked outside the top-1,000 but does hold offers from schools like Duke, NC State, and Indiana. If nothing else, it at least keeps the Florida pipeline flowing. Virginia linebacker Kalen Villanueva also hopped on board this week. He's rated as a two-star and is now Smith's lowest-rated pledge for 2021.

Northwestern and Nebraska also made some noise this week, and both programs went out of the region for the new commits. The Wildcats landed Raleigh, North Carolina wideout Jacob Gill on Wednesday after some had him pegged for NC State. The commitment came just a little over a week after being offered.

The Huskers added Jackson, Mississippi cornerback Lardarius Webb Jr. He's currently unranked and has zero stars but does have a nice NFL pedigree. His father spent nine years with the Baltimore Ravens before his NFL career ended in 2017. Lardarius Sr. is 34 years old, which is yet another item on the long list of things that makes me feel extremely old.

2021 Class Ranking, 7/12
1 OHIO STATE 298.06 95.71
2 CLEMSON 260.00 94.32
3 NORTH CAROLINA 259.73 92.10
4 TENNESSEE 259.34 89.92
5 OREGON 257.72 91.83
6 LSU 251.52 93.54
7 SOUTHERN CAL 249.71 91.22
8 MICHIGAN 249.44 89.48
9 FLORIDA 239.30 89.56
10 TEXAS 223.88 91.61

The Force is Strong

Folks, the purpose of this weekly piece is to talk about the Big Ten and some of the more noteworthy national programs. Today, I'd like to say a few words about the hottest team in the United States. A team that isn't in the Midwest or a national title contender whatsoever.

That team is the Air Force Falcons and the program has added eight new 2021 commitments over the last seven days. Are these players we've ever heard of or followed before? Absolutely not. But props to them for making the decision to defend our country in the days following the 4th of July. 

Eight new commits. And while all of them have anywhere from zero to two little stars next to their names, I know I'll be rooting for them. A few of the additions include Nebraska dual-threat quarterback TJ Urban, Minneapolis tailback Terrance Kamara, Louisville tackle Alex Moore, and a local product in Canton McKinley receiver Terrell Dillworth.

God bless the Air Force Academy, all 16 of its commitments, and the program's push toward the national top-100 (currently sitting pretty at 101).

A Quick Look at the National Landscape

The top of the 2021 team rankings remains unchanged from a week ago. Michigan added its four-star wide receiver, and while that increased the overall score, the Wolverines remain at No. 8. The Ducks added four-star defensive lineman Keanu Williams last night, but it wasn't enough to lift them up from the No. 5 spot.

We obviously got some big news this week now that multiple conferences have announced a conference-only 2020 football schedule. There's bound to be plenty more news in the coming days, and at this point, there's some major concern as to whether or not the upcoming season will happen at all. 

It's looking like we're a long way from visitors being allowed back on campuses, so one has to wonder what the NCAA will do about the recruiting calendar and the early signing period that is now just five months away. There are a ton of questions that will need to be answered for Ohio State and other programs as they prepare for the strange times that lie ahead. 

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