Counter Intel: Michigan, USC Enjoy Big Weeks, While Georgia Picks Up Five-Star Quarterback

By David Wertheim on January 31, 2021 at 3:30 pm
Gunner Stockton
Gunner Stockton via 247Sports

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

Michigan Lands Defensive Lineman, Presumptive Favorites For Transfer

Michigan is attempting to finish their 2021 class strong, and the Wolverines added to their now-11th ranked class by nabbing a commitment from 2021 four-star defensive tackle George Rooks.

Rooks, out of Jersey City, New Jersey, will head to Ann Arbor as the No. 264 overall prospect and No. 19 defensive tackle. He is the son of George Rooks Sr., a former defensive lineman at Syracuse who was the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 1991.

Michigan has also been active on the transfer market and it appears they have the upper hand for former Penn State linebacker Lance Dixon, a West Bloomfield, Michigan native who played under new Wolverines wide receiver coach Ron Bellamy when Bellamy was the head coach at West Bloomfield. 

Dixon and Rooks represent big additions to a Wolverines defense which will also feature a new coordinator, Mike MacDonald, who was formerly with the Baltimore Ravens.

USC Adds Five-Star Cornerback, Texas Transfer

In the summer, it appeared that five-star cornerback Domani Jackson was trending towards Ohio State. The allure of staying home appears to be too much to overcome, however, and Jackson picked USC earlier this week.

Jackson, the No. 3 overall prospect in the 2022 class, represents a huge win for USC. The Trojans sputtered to the No. 64 overall class in 2020, but landed No. 8 in 2021 and are currently No. 7 in 2022. Getting an elite prospect like Jackson to stay home when so many have left in recent years suggests that Clay Helton's 5-0 season impressed recruits, at least to the point where they won't openly turn away USC as easily as they did before.

Of course, the Trojans are still looking for once more piece for their 2021 class: linebacker Raesjon Davis. Like Jackson, however, the Trojans will have to beat out Ohio State in order to land him.

In the transfer market, USC lost running back Markese Stepp to Nebraska, but were able to land Texas transfer Keontay Ingram

USC has been active in the portal as Clay Helton tries to take his roster to the next step. In addition to Ingram, USC has landed wide receiver K.D. Nixon, defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher, and defensve back Xavion Alford

Five-Star Quarterback Gunner Stockton Commits to Georgia

Georgia just keeps landing five-star quarterbacks. After plucking Brock Vandagriff in the 2021 class, Kirby Smart was able to secure a pledge from the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in 2022, Tiger, Georgia native Gunner Stockton.

After de-committing from South Carolina back on Jan. 12, it was almost a given that Stockton would end up picking his home-state team. The Bulldogs also picked up a recent Crystal Ball for Stockton's 7-on-7 teammate, wide receiver Kojo Antwi, who is also an Ohio State target. 

2021 Class Ranking, 1/31
1 ALABAMA 325.46 94.87
2 OHIO STATE 309.64 94.53
3 GEORGIA 294.67 93.51
4 LSU 291.54 92.62
5 CLEMSON 291.22 94.01
6 OREGON 283.97 92.26
7 TEXAS A&M 277.75 91.83
8 SOUTHERN CAL 272.68 91.45
9 NOTRE DAME 268.87 89.67
10 OKLAHOMA 267.99 93.19

Some Odds & Ends

As we approach the February National Signing Day this Wednesday, there aren't too many high-profile prospects announcing their decision. 

The early signing period knocked the wind out of the February date, with most big-time prospects making their plans known in December before either enrolling early at their chosen school or simply signing and waiting it out until summer. Some, like J.T. Tuimoloau, will wait until April. 

As mentioned above, linebacker Raesjon Davis will announce between Ohio State and USC at 11:30 on the 247Sports National Signing Day Show. There is no clear favorite at this time, though word will probably leak through Crystal Ball predictions as we get closer. Davis visited Ohio State last week.

Other than Davis, the only top-50 uncommitted prospects are the aforementioned Tuimoloau and running back LJ Johnson, who is expected to pick Texas A&M. 

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