The 2021 crop of defensive backs in Texas is shaping up to be uber-talented, and arguably the best of the bunch has come to a college decision.
Latrell McCutchin, a talented cornerback out of Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Austin, Texas, committed to Alabama over the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor on Monday evening.
McCutchin has made a steady string of visits to Tuscaloosa over the past year, including a recent trip that pushed him to give his commitment at the start of the summer before his junior year. While it may be early in the process, the 2021 defensive back expressed a good deal of confidence in his decision.
— Latrell McCutchin🦹🏾♂️ (@bil_trell) June 11, 2019
WHY IT'S BIG FOR ALABAMA
The Crimson Tide has been able to dip into Texas time and time again over the past couple of recruiting cycles and pluck some of the best prospects out of Texas and Texas A&M's backyards, and a commitment from McCutchin early on is certainly going to remind fans of Nick Saban's unparalleled ability to recruit nationally. He is the first member of Alabama's 2021 recruiting class, but the trend has been present for several years already.
Alabama holds a commitment from Rivals100 linebacker Drew Sanders, one of the key pieces in the 2020 class. In 2019, the Tide made a late push to steal four-star cornerback Marcus Banks out of A&M's hands. The same goes for Jeffery Carter.
A similar set of circumstances occurred with five-star wide receiver Jaylen Waddle out of the Houston area back in 2018. He was nearly a lock to land at Texas A&M, but Alabama made a splash on National Signing Day.
Now, the attention shifts to McCutchin, a prospect who attends high school in Austin minutes away from the University of Texas. McCutchin picked up an offer from the Longhorns just more than two weeks after Alabama made its move. The rising junior cornerback had made visits to both Alabama and Texas over the past year, but ultimately found a home in T-Town.
So, what is the Tide getting in McCutchin?
McCutchin has good size to be a boundary cornerback (6-foot-1, 175) with a frame to tack on some more muscle. He's a physically impressive prospect with noticeable length and long arms, which allows him to challenge receivers at the line of scrimmage and disrupt passing lanes in coverage.
McCutchin is able to play press-man and play off-coverage. Often let alone to cover on an island, he makes a bevy of instinctive plays due largely to his speed and short-area quickness. While McCutchin is able to gain an advantage with his ability to effectively jam receivers, he's a smooth, natural cover corner with fluid hips and can shadow pass-catchers. He has excellent range and tends to play the ball at his highest point.
At this time, we are unclear what McCutchin's 40 time is, but on tape, his speed is evident. He has previously recorded a 36.6-inch vertical jump.
Given his ability to cover in different formats, McCutchin can freelance a bit at corner, which shows his football IQ. He can make plays while trailing receivers and over the top. He consistently plays the ball, which is critical.
McCutchin is also a very physical defensive back, which is atypical for the position. When playing off, his elite short-area quickness allows him to not only break on the ball but deliver huge hits to receivers attempting to secure passes. His fantastic make-up speed menaces pass-catchers. McCutchin also tends to shed blockers and dart to ball-carriers to make tackles in the run game, where he's a huge asset.
WHY IT STINGS TEXAS
Texas is always calculated in identifying its top targets for each recruiting cycle. In regards to defensive backs for 2021, the staff had extended overtures to only three defensive backs nationwide: VIrginia's Tony Grimes, Kimball (Texas) High's Ishmael Ibraheem and McCutchin. Ibraheem and McCutchin both hail from the Lone Star State, and along with Kennedale (Texas) safety JD Coffey, are the only 2021 in-state defensive backs to hold offers.
Coming up second for a prospect that attends high school minutes away from campus is naturally a stinger, but it remains especially early for 2021 recruiting. Do not expect Coach Tom Herman to simply throw in the towel for the local standout, but this will likely force the coaching staff to make a move on some other cornerbacks in the class, whether it's in-state or nationally.