National signing day in February isn’t the same thanks to the early signing period, the growing number of early enrollees, and the transfer portal. Still, there are things to glean from each recruiting class across Texas. Which programs still rely on the high school ranks and which teams are portal dependent? Which teams are recruiting above or below their five-year average?
We grade each of the 2024 recruiting classes for each of six Group of FIve programs in Texas below. We ranked portal classes last month here, and the Power Four classes yesterday here. We used 247Sports for team rankings.
North Texas Mean Green
2024 rank: 79
Five-year recruiting average rank: 89.8
Top signees: ATH Jaydon Smith, S Jaden Pettway, CB Gabe Stroud
North Texas underwent a platoon change this offseason. After a bevy of transfer portal defections, the Mean Green signed a whopping 28 high school prospects. North Texas restocked the defensive backfield in the 2024 cycle. Ingleside's Jaydon Smith put up 1,700 receiving yards but could transition to cornerback. Whitehouse's Gabe Stroud and South Oak Cliff's Kerry Williams are great gets at cornerback. Don't be surprised if Lake Travis safety Keiondre Lewis becomes an X-factor in this class.
2024 rank: 124
Five-year recruiting average rank: 105
Top signees: QB Drew Devillier, LB Kaleb Blanton, WR Owen Carter
For Rice, the 2024 cycle was quality over quantity. The Owls reeled in eight DCTF three-star prospects. Plano East quarterback Drew Devillier is an intriguing blend of size (6-foot-5, 200) and athleticism (a one-time TCU baseball commit). Linebacker Kaleb Blanton was a 2023 finalist for the Houston Touchdown Club's Defensive Player of the Year. Rice also got a huge addition after Early Signing Day in Westfield running back Taji Atkins, who rushed for over 2,500 yards as a senior.
Sam Houston Bearkats
2024 rank: 127
Five-year recruiting average rank: 138.6
Top signees: CB Dravon Wilson, ATH Railyn Adams, TE Cooper Stevens
Sam Houston reeled in some of the state's biggest sleepers in this cycle. DeSoto's two-time state champion quarterback DJ Bailey could compete instantly for playing time. He has an intriguing weapon in Melissa wide receiver Karson Maynard, who reeled in 38 touchdowns in his final two seasons. Fatu Makuba, the younger brother of current Texas safety Andrew Mukuba, was a standout at Austin LBJ who fell under the radar.
Texas State Bobcats
2024 rank: 84
Five-year recruiting average rank: 107.2
Top signees: WR Kylen Evans, S Fredrick Dotie, IOL Brock Riker
GJ Kinne is bringing recruits to San Marcos that Texas State hasn't seen in its young FBS history. The top recruits of their 2024 cycle are arguably the best in the state for the Group of Five. Wide receiver Kylen Evans put up 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns at Frisco Emerson. Offensive linemen Brock Riker was recently named a four-star by On3. San Antonio Reagan quarterback Brad Jackson is a sleeper to monitor for this class.
2024 rank: 97
Five-year recruiting average rank: 122.6
Top signees: Edge Jaylin Jones, DL Ashton Coker, ATH Martavious Collins
Scotty Walden just signed the best recruiting class in UTEP history, and he did it in two months. The biggest challenge the program's faced is getting recruits out ot El Paso, and Walden's shifted into overdrive since he took the head coaching gig to host recruits. West Brook edge Jaylin Jones is the crown jewel of the class, the highest-ranked recruit for the 2024 cycle in all of Conference USA, per 247Sports.
2024 rank: 107
Five-year recruiting average rank: 85.6
Top signees: IOL Briley Brown, WR Mekhi Anderson, S Kenyan Kelly
UTSA's recruiting rank took a skid in 2024 compared to its five-year average. That's largely due to taking only ten high school signees, the lowest in the Jeff Traylor era, which is a testament to the program's roster retention. This class does have a couple holes, however, like not inking a quarterback to compete after Frank Harris's departure. Keep an eye on Denison safety Kenyan Kelly, who chose UTSA over numerous Power Four offers.
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