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On Saturday evening, surrounded by family and friends, Beggs 2021 defensive back Kendal Daniels announced that he was committing to Texas A&M. The top overall prospect in Oklahoma’s 2021 class has been recruited by just about every college football power in the country. He picked A&M over Clemson, LSU and Oklahoma. Although it really came down to the Aggies and Sooners to land the top safety.
For video of the commitment on Saturday evening, and to hear from Daniels and his head coach, check out our exclusive video RIGHT HERE.
Daniels is the 22nd prospect in Oklahoma’s 2021 class to commit to a D1 program. Since he sits at the top of the 2021 rankings, he was the highest rated prospect that hadn’t committed yet. With Daniels committing, only one other prospect in the 2021 top ten remains undecided and that’s John Marshall wide receiver Bryce Stephens.
If Daniels signs with Texas A&M, he’ll be just the second Oklahoma prospect to sign with the Aggies in the last decade. The other was Meeker lineman Adrian Wolford in the 2017 class. Former Kingfisher tight end Jace Sternberger transferred to A&M after signing with Kansas and then spending a year at NEO. After a year in College Station, Sternberger was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
While A&M recruits Oklahoma and their top prospects, it’s safe to say that they haven’t had a lot of success beating out the in-state schools and other programs to land those top talents. Until Saturday evening.
With Daniels committing to A&M, it also continued a trend in recent years. The top defensive backs in the last four classes, including the 2021 class, have all committed to out of state programs. It started in the 2018 class with Owasso’s Josh Proctor signing with Ohio State. The following year, Booker T Washington’s Dax Hill signed with Michigan. And after being committed to Oregon, Broken Arrow’s Myles Slusher eventually signed with Arkansas.
Whether it’s Proctor and Hill in the Big Ten or Slusher and now Daniels in the SEC, the one thing they have in common is the NFL draft. And Big 12 defensive players, especially in the secondary haven’t been a premium in the last several drafts. Daniels listed that as one of the reasons he chose A&M. “In the SEC, they play defense,” Daniels said after committing. “It’s just a different ball game down there.”
And this might just be a blip in the radar. You go back to the class before Proctor in 2018, and OU landed the top two defensive backs in the Oklahoma HS class, with John Marshall’s Justin Broiles and Union’s Tre Brown. Things could certainly turn back around in the future.
However, it is safe to say that the top defensive back prospects that have come out of Oklahoma in the last few years have felt like they are better off branching out to big programs not in the Big 12, including the home-state Sooners and Cowboys. And in the state’s 2022 class, you have two athletic standouts in the secondary with Booker T Washington’s Gentry Williams and Broken Arrow’s Maurion Horn. And a big question now will be whether or not this trend continues.
CURRENT 2021 COMMITS
Air Force – Dillon Gilbert (Owasso OL)
Arkansas – AJ Green (Union RB), Cameron Little (Southmoore K/P), Javion Hunt (Carl Albert ATH), Keuan Parker (Booker T Washington DB), Solomon Wright (Vian DT)
Army – Emaud Triplett (Owasso LB), Noah Alexander (Eufaula RB)
Baylor – Tevin Williams (Baylor DB)
North Texas – Bryce Drummond (Pawhuska QB), Kevin Greene (Del City DT)
Oklahoma – Ethan Downs (Weatherford ATH), Jordan Mukes (Choctaw DB)
Oklahoma State – Aden Kelley (Thomas DL), Collin Oliver (Edmond Santa Fe LB), Jaden Bray (Norman WR), Logan Nobles (Jenks OL), Makale Smith (Midwest City DB), Ty Williams (Muskogee DB)
TCU – Chase Jackson (Choctaw WR)
Texas A&M – Kendal Daniels (Beggs DB)
Tulsa – Isaac Smith (Wagoner DE)