Ed. Note: This is a guest post from long-time commenter Frank Morgan. Thank you to Frank for the post!
It is somewhat early, but never too early to start talking about Tech basketball recruiting for the 2021 class. So far Tech has only one commitment, that from four star Jaylon Tyler a 6’ 6”, 185 small forward from John Paul II high school in Plano. Tyler is currently ranked the 52nd best player in the nation, 10th nationally in his position and 4th overall in the state of Texas according to 24/7 Sports. He is ranked 76th overall by ESPN.
That one commitment has Tech ranked 63rd nationally in the team rankings for 2021 recruiting. For comparison purposes we finished 2020 with the 10th ranked class and 2019 with the 16th best class so obviously we would want Tech to improve on its current ranking for 2021. Now, remember, in some ways it’s still early but in other ways it’s not. Kentucky, a team that usually finishes at or near the top of the rankings also currently has one commitment for 2021 and is ranked 59th and Duke is 22nd with two commitments.
One of the difficulties Chris Beard faces is trying to determine how many players he can add. Tech has its full complement of 13 scholarship players plus Avery Benson who returned to walk-on status. Tech has only one Senior – Marcus Santos-Silver, four Juniors – Kyler Edwards, Mac McClung, Jamarius Burton and Benson. The rest of the team is made up of Sophomores and Freshman. So, in theory there would only be one opening next year. To further complicate the issue, the NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to all players. So, Santos-Silver does not have to leave. He could test the waters to judge his potential in the NBA draft and then return to Tech for another year if favorable pro prospects do not emerge. There is also the possibility that players such as Terrance Shannon and Nimari Burnett could leave after this year to pursue a pro career. So potentially there may be as many as three openings. In addition, Beard has never been bashful about churning his roster to upgrade to better talent. He does this through a combination of grad transfers and freshmen recruits. The problem with that for this team is it will be hard to upgrade. All players on the team have the talent and ability to play at a high level. In the past, it has been kind of obvious to those of us as fans, to determine who on the team were the weaker players and thus the ones that might be asked to transfer somewhere else. There are no weak players on the 2020 team. Because of that, there is one other consideration that might lead to openings in that one or more players might transfer in order to get more playing time somewhere else.
One of the ways it’s considered not early in recruiting is that of the top 150 players in the nation, 115 of them have already made hard commitments to their schools. Some of those may decommit and be available but as of now there are only 35 of the Top 150 players available for Tech to attract. One could argue that Tech might take a player ranked only 200 or 300 or something like that, and while a possibility, it’s hard to believe that such a player would be an upgrade for this team. And yes, I know that Jarret Culver was ranked #372 coming out of high school so I don’t discount the possibility of Beard taking a lower ranked player, he just has the luxury of being very selective.
Of those 35 available players, fifteen are ranked in the top 50, five from 51 through 100 and ten from 101 to 150. Many of the 35 are projected to go to other schools but have not yet committed. Tech currently has no additional projected commitments according to the various services.
Of the players ranked in the Top 50 who have not yet committed, Tech has made scholarship offers to only 6. One is Jaden Hardy the 4th ranked player in the nation, a combo guard out of Nevada who has not committed but is projected to go to Kentucky. Tech also has offered Hunter Sallis a CG from Nebraska the 7th ranked player who is also projected to commit to Kentucky. Daimion Collins a 6’7” PF from Atlanta Texas has also been offered by Beard. His projected teams include OU and Kentucky. Also offered is 6’10” and 20th ranked, Moussa Diabate from IMG Academy in Florida. DaRon Holmes 6’8” PF from Florida ranked 39th and projected to commit to Marquette.
Dallon Coleman of Florida the 49th ranked player is a 6’6’, 210 lb. combo guard that the Red Raiders really have high interest in. He has Tech listed among his top 3 along with Georgia Tech and Ole Miss. Most experts think he is leaning towards the other schools because they are closer to home but don’t count Tech out on this one.
Tech has also offered the following who have already made hard commitments to other schools Harrison Ingram 11th ranked, Kennedy Chandler 13th ranked, Peyton Watson 18th ranked. Manny Obaseki 26th, Langston Love 32nd, Zaon Collins 37th, Will McClendon 38th and Tyrese Hunter ranked 50th.
In total, Tech has made 14 offers to the top 50 players. Many, if not most, of the top basketball schools have made many more offers than that. We can conclude two things from this relatively small amount of offers to the top 50 players:
One is that Chris Beard takes offers seriously and only makes them to players that he really wants – that fit his style of play and his culture.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, we can conclude that Chris Beard really likes his current team and wants to keep them around for another year. Beard has made no secret in the past that he believes older teams perform better in the NCAA tournament. Results tend to bear that out. That is why he is constantly pursuing grad transfers that can play. Beard appears to be willing to take only one or two recruits for 2021 to supplement his current roster which is loaded with talent. While we all want to be ranked number one in recruiting it is much more important to be number one when the final game is played the first Monday night in April.