30 for 2021: Breaking down the next recruiting cycle

As I work on my next recruiting cycle rankings, watching film, as I always do early Thanksgiving morning, I realize that the Class of 2021 are going to be very strong in South Carolina. Impressive list of guys.

30 For ’21…The evaluation process is well underway, with more than 300 players on the “Watch List” right now. Basically, what that means is, we – and by “we” I mean me, myself, and I – will go through that list of players’ films and evaluate based on the criteria that I use for each position. If you ever wonder what that criteria is, check out one of my film eval articles or either just email me and I’ll tell you. Or you can get my book, The Book On Evaluating Football Players and it breaks it down for you.

As of right now, out of the films I’ve been through for 2021 (a little over 100 so far), these are the top thirty of that group – in alphabetical order. If you recognize that a name is missing that you feel should be there, it may be that I simply have not gotten to his film yet. So, this list WILL change between now and the end of Spring. I will try to update it every couple of weeks as I go through film and new guys move onto the list, pushing others off of the list. When all is said and done, we will have the Top 100 to 150 ranked.

Despite inevitable impending changes to the list, there are some fantastic players listed here. The one thing that I’ve realized with this first set of film breakdowns is that the 2021 Class is going to be better than I initially anticipated. As I always say, South Carolina’s top players are as good as any other state’s top players in the country. We may not send 200 to DI-A schools, but we have well over 100 playing on Saturdays from every class and for a state the size of ours, that is impressive. And on any year, I’d put our Top Ten players up against any Top Ten in the country.

I will begin to do player breakdowns and release individual evaluations and position evaluations in December on SCVarsity.com. Until then, I’ve made a few random notes on this list.

  • There are what I call “sure hits” on this list and three of the top sure hits on it are Sumter DE Justus Boone, Dillon WR Ahmari Huggins-Bruce and Blythewood WR Josh Burrell. Either three of those guys could end up in the No. 1 spot at this early stage.
  • At this very early point in the eval process, it appears the wide receiver position is, again, going to be the deepest position. Guys like Huggins-Bruce, Burrell, along with Myrtle Beach’s JJ Jones, Dutch Fork’s Elijah Spencer, South Pointe’s Omega Blake, Central’s Ron Benjamin, Berkeley’s Solomon Butler…the list just goes on and on. I count 13 wide receivers total that I expect to be inside the Top 40 and I’m not even half way done with the film from this watch list.
  • The offensive line group lacks depth (again) but at the top of the top-heavy list right now is Chapin’s Thornton Gentry (6’5, 290)
  • The biggest surprise for me so far in film is CE Murray OLB Sheldon Bradley (6-6, 190). Bradley, who also stars in basketball, started out at safety for the War Eagles but moved to OLB to get closer to the line because of his ferocious hitting. He will project as a DE, though there have been tall linebackers before. He can run like a deer, which could keep him in the LB spot. Anyone remember “The Stork” Ted Hendricks? He played linebacker at 6-7.


OmegaBlakeWR6’2175South Pointe
Isaiah BoydDE6’2225Lexington
SheldonBradleyDE 6’6205CE Murray
Josh BurrellWR6’2190Blythewood
ElijahDavisDE6’4250Wagener Salley
Jaquan DixonRB5’11185Green Sea Floyd
Donovan EdwardsOL6’4265Camden
GeraldGaitherOL6’5320Fairfield Central
OmarionHammondDE6’4235AC Flora
PrestonHawkinsOl6’6325Indian Land
Tyrion IngramDL6’5265Gaffney
Nykelius JohnsonAth5’11189West Florence
JJ JonesWR6’2190Mytle Beach
Jamaal McKinneyLB6’1210Timberland
DeShawn McKnightLB6’0200Sumter
RobbieOuztsTE6’4240Rock Hill
BanksPopeTE6’4235AC Flora
ElijahSpencerWR6’2190Dutch Fork
Will WayRB5’10176Brookland-Cayce

If you have players that need to be evaluated, please fill out the form at the below link:


About Jim Baxter

Founder of SCVarsity.com. Nationally published recruiting anlayst witih 30 years of experience in the industry. His work has appeared in publications such as Athlon, Sporting News, The Recruiting News and Deep South Recruiting and he is the author of the best selling book, The Book On Evaluating Football Players.

Check Also

Get Recruited: Finding The Right School For you

This is the time of the year that I get the most emails and DMs …