Takeaways from live evaluations of Ohio State, Texas, LSU, Wisconsin, Arkansas, SMU commits and more On300 recruits

On3 imageby:Sam Spiegelman11/28/23


Football season is in full swing — and the games continue to become more and more meaningful as the weather gets cooler and the stakes get higher.

After another weekend of visits and live evaluations, here is the latest on several blue-chippers in the 2024 and 2025 classes from On3 National Recruiting Analyst Sam Spiegelman:

Five-Star Plus+ Colin Simmons – Texas

Five-Star Plus+ EDGE Colin Simmons continues to add mass to his frame. The future Longhorn is playing with a hand down in the dirt as a part of a fearsome foursome along the defensive front for Duncanville (Texas). Simmons has been active setting the edge in the run game and flashing his range and speed containing the outside run game. He’s also been extremely productive in applying pressure off the edge.

Four-star LB Payton Pierce – Ohio State

Ohio State-bound LB Payton Pierce is the driving force of the Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy defense. Pierce, an All-State wrestler manning the middle of the unit, is constantly around the football. Quietly, the four-star LB piled up double-digit tackles in the second quarter of the playoff game. He has excellent eyes and an innate ability to read and react, and Payton is sound and an extremely sure tackler. He showcased physicality slowing down the run game between the tackles and was equally as effective racing sideline to sideline, too.

Pierce also saw fourth-quarter carries. He’s bouncy and instinctive and leads with his play.

Four-star RB Caden Durham – LSU

On300 RB Caden Durham has been the workhorse for the Duncanville offense for the past two seasons. Durham churned out large gains on the ground and in the screen game on multiple occasions in the playoff showdown vs. The Woodlands (Texas). Durham’s strong, broad build and ability to accelerate and make defenders initially miss makes him very difficult to corral in the open field. The future Tiger is also very reliable in short-yardage and goal-line situations playing extremely low to the ground and consistently propelling forward.

On3 four-star DL Alex January – Texas

On3 four-star DL Alex January has continued to grab this analyst’s attention during two live evaluations as a senior this season. The 6-foot-5, 320-plus-pounder mans an interior DL spot, and pairs his massive frame, reach and power with exceptional mobility and a good motor. January consistently forced the issue from the middle of the Duncanville defensive line. He’s active taking on multiple blockers and still finding the ball. The Texas legacy commitment also moves well in space and has upside as an interior pass-rusher as well.

On3 ranks January higher than the rest of the recruiting industry.

Three-star ATH Ahkhari Johnson – Arkansas

Ahkhari Johnson was fantastic wearing multiple hats for Texarkana (Texas) Pleasant Grove in a very close down-to-the-wire classic East Texas clash with rival Carthage. The Arkansas-committed athlete saw snaps at quarterback and in the secondary. He’s well put together at close to 6-foot and 185 pounds. At QB, Johnson flashed speed to beat defenders out to the edge. Playing outside at cornerback, he was even more impactful. He was able to go stride for stride in coverage with big-framed receivers. He also came up to make tackles and covered a lot of real estate on the back end. He should add even some more playmaking ability to the Razorbacks’ secondary.

Three-star S Ka’Davion Dotson-Walker – SMU

Three-star SMU-committed safety Ka’Davion Dotson-Walker was a force flying around as a freelancer during Saturday’s playoff win. Dotson-Walker was active flying around to the football and was tackling in space at an extremely high clip. He also closed in on a handful of passes over the top and defended out the perimeter. Duncanville’s defense was playing downhill from the defensive line back, and Dotson-Walker embodied that in this contest from the jump.

Four-star QB Keelon Russell – SMU (2025)

On300 2025 QB Keelon Russell operates this offense near-flawlessly. The SMU commitment from the Metroplex is a superb decision-maker. His delivery is always crisp and he is consistent with touch and putting it in catchable positions only for his pass-catchers.

Russell has been a sensation since lifting Duncanville past rival Galena Park (Texas) North Shore last December in AT&T Stadium. His big-play spark was the difference then; his ability to orchestrate the offense and piece together drives, but also take over the game with his arm or legs makes him one of the most dynamic QB in his class, in this analyst’s opinion.

Five-Star Plus+ WR Dakorien Moore – LSU (2025)

Five-Star Plus+ WR Dakorien Moore is already one of the most electric playmakers in the Class of 2025 and squarely in the mix as the top receiver in the country. In this one, the LSU-committed receiver saw a good chunk of snaps on coverage in third-down snaps trying to slow down one of the speediest pass-catchers on the opposing side in Quanell Farrakhan.

Moore nearly came away with a pick and managed a a handful of contested catches, including a touchdown late in the second quarter to further his team’s lead before halftime. He’s not only stellar at competing for balls in tight coverage, but we’ve seen his ability to play above the rim in the red zone and make spectacular grabs look seamless on occasion.

Four-star WR Quanell Farrakhan Jr. – 2025

On300 WR Quanell Farrakhan is one of the most electric pass-catchers in the Lone Star State, and his junior campaign alongside Wisconsin-committed QB Mabrey Mettauer has been one for the record books. After averaging north of 17 YPC as a sophomore, Farrakhan snapped former NFL receiver Danny Amendola’s single-season mark for touchdown receptions earlier this fall.

Farrakhan, who also saw action in the defensive secondary, has fantastic speed and outstanding ball control on the back end. He’s position-versatile to work inside and outside, and provides a massive jolt of lightning to the offense through the air and also on sweeps and reverses.

Four-star WR Daylan McCutcheon – 2025

On3 top-100 WR Daylan McCutcheon has stepped up as the leading receiver in place of two other injured starters in the rotation. The 6-foot, 175-pound McCutcheon is slight, but can carve up a defense. He has excellent hands and made several grabs away from his body. He adjusts well to the football and was dynamic in and out of his breaks after the catch. McCutcheon found the end zone twice against a stout Texarkana (Texas) Texas High defense. He has a very special second gear and just beginning to scratch the surface.

Four-star ATH Lance Jackson – 2025

On300 2025 ATH Lance Jackson saw action on both sides of the ball for Texarkana (Texas) Pleasant Grove. Playing on the defensive line and also at tight end, Jackson is a broader version of his older brother Landon Jackson (Arkansas EDGE), and the physical play style translated over in a big way.

Jackson, who checks in close to 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, crashed and battled in the trenches to slow down the Carthage (Texas) running game. He had some pressures and was actively consuming blockers. Much of his damage came on offense. He was an impactful blocker — in space, in the screen game, and as a moveable piece to jump-start the run game.

The On300 ATH was also impressive as a pass-catcher. He has outstanding hands and made difficult receptions through contact, and was able to hang out. His size and athleticism make more mismatches in the passing game, and he proved to be a major force to try and slow down on jump balls or short and intermediate routes.

Three-star TE Bear Tenney – 2025

2025 three-star Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy TE Bear Tenney was among the difference-makers in a very competitive playoff contest vs. Texas High. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end saw action all across the formation — as an in-line tight end, an H-back and flexed out, and came away with game’s longest play on a catch-and-run for 65 yards into the paint.

Tenney is a big-bodied receiver used to create mismatches in the passing game and is equally as impactful as a blocker. Lovejoy’s coaches moved him around as an additional blocker to carve out running lanes. He’s a well-rounded tight end prospect and a stock-up candidate for this analyst in the 2025 class.

Four-star RB KJ Edwards – 2026

KJ Edwards is putting himself on the top of college boards around the country as one of the top running backs in the country out of East Texas powerhouse Carthage, which is currently on another playoff march back to AT&T. The electric sophomore turned 25 touches into 269 yards (north of 10 YPC) and a TD, and was equally as dynamic in the passing game as a runner.

Edwards has elite speed and is even more sudden and quick. He has an outstanding ability to run through contact and break away in a hurry. The 2026 top-100 watch list member is also a skilled pass-catcher and lethal in space. He runs violently and has big plays written all over him.

Last fall as a freshman, buzz around Carthage was that Edwards was the best college prospect to come through the program. At the tail end of his sophomore season, he’s certainly becoming a high-level national RB prospect.

Four-star ATH Tradarian Ball – 2026

Versatile 2026 Texarkansas (Texas) Texas ATH Tradarian Ball is another versatile Jenga piece on the offensive side of the ball and putting himself squarely in the conversation as one of the biggest home-run threats in the country out of East Texas. Another 2026 top-100 watch list member, Ball has a stellar track background and eclipsed 1,000 yards as a sophomore while sharing the backfield with another 1,000-yard back.

Ball is extremely position-versatile capable of lining up at multiple positions in the backfield and across the formation on offense, including the slot. He’s both quick and fast, and prolific with the ball in his hands. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Ball runs hard and extends plays through contact, with outstanding speed to beat defenders around the edge and quick enough to operate in tight windows. There is a lot of buzz about Ball and his offensive prowess, and some coaches think his playmaking ability could lead to snaps at defensive back down the road, too.


  • On3 Industry Ranking four-star WR Parker Livingstone is expected to rejoin Lovejoy for this weekend’s tilt vs. defending champ Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff. The Texas commitment was cleared after tearing two ligaments in his foot. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is a major vertical threat in this high-octane passing attack.
  • Three-star Wisconsin-committed QB Mabrey Mettauer has assembled a fantastic four-year tenure at The Woodlands (Texas). His mobility and arm talent to attack downfield should fit in very well with Phil Longo’s play-action/RPO-based offense in Madison.
  • On3 Industry Ranking four-star 2025 RB Kiandrea Barker was cleared for action in The Woodland’s playoff loss to Duncanville after finally gaining eligibility. During warm-ups and in limited action, Barker was explosive out of his breaks and moving around well running routes and cutting. After turning heads throughout the off-season at various events, the Penn State-committed junior is in line for a massive senior campaign.
  • Oklahoma State-committed OT Caleb Hackleman is an eye-catcher off first glance and as a senior, filled out his 6-foot-6, 275-pound frame. The future Poke is the No. 40-ranked OT in the nation — and also saw action inside helping to open running lanes against a stout Carthage front.
  • 2026 Texarkana (Texas) High School Duncan McGhee is another eye-catcher on the defensive front. The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder has a quick first step with long arms and a towering frame and forces the issue inside.