That also holds true for this year’s 2020 VolleyballMag.com Girls Fab 50 rankings, the sport’s longest-running national youth rankings list that dates back four decades.
And this time around, the Lone Star state reigns supreme with 20 percent of the Fab 50 list emanating from Texas (10 of the 50 spots). California was next with seven entries. Florida and Michigan tied for third with four each.
The Girls Fab 50 is voted on each year by an elite panel of NCAA Division I coaches — the best of the best. The panel annually is asked to submit their votes for both the top 50 senior players in the country and 25 underclassmen to watch (non-seniors).
We’ll get to the club and the college breakouts with the Fab 50 in a second, but first we had quite the race for not only who is regarded as the top 2020 recruit in the nation, but who is considered one of the top five recruits in the class. In addition to submitting their votes for the Fab 50, each panelist is asked to rank the top five players in the class from 1-5.
Plainfield (Illinois) Central early graduate and Sports Performance alum Taylor Landfair, an early enrollee at Minnesota, edged Michigan signee Jess Mruzik, the winner of multiple VolleyballMag.com awards in the last year, including 2019 girls high school player of the year, for the top honor.
Landfair did so despite garnering the third-most first-place votes. A total of two points separated Landfair from runner-up Mruzik, while Kentucky signee Madisen Skinner, out of Katy, Texas and the Houston Skyline club program, had the most first-place votes among those on the list.
Skinner, despite leading the way in first-place votes, finished third in the voting, followed closely behind by Ohio native Emily Londot (Ohio State signee) and another Texas native daughter in Jenna Wenaas, who like Landfair also is headed to Hugh McCutcheon’s Golden Gophers program.
A total of 17 players on the list earned top-five voting consideration. If we unofficially extrapolated a top 10 from the voting, places 6-10 would go to Melani Shaffmaster (Minnesota recruit, No. 6), Mia Tuaniga (Long Beach State, tie No. 7), Iman Ndiaye (UCLA, tie No. 7), and then a tie for ninth place between Devyn Robinson (Wisconsin), Annie Cate Fitzpatrick (Penn State) and Anna DeBeer (Louisville). That’s seven Big Ten Conference recruits here if anybody is keeping track.
Back to the breakouts, a total of 20 states are represented in the Fab 50 list with a large concentration in the Midwest region.
In terms of individual clubs, Texas-based TAV knocked it out of the park with eight players on the Fab 50. That list includes Madison Williams (Texas recruit), Wenaas (Minnesota), Leilah Smith (Stanford), Annabelle Smith (Stanford), Nnedi Okammor (Florida), Ndiaye (UCLA), Kate Lang (Hawai’i) and Paige Flickinger (LSU).
Michigan-based Legacy was next with four Fab 50 picks, while San Diego-based Coast had three.
On the college front, everybody gets rich! Thirty schools are represented on the list with Stanford, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, Kentucky, Florida and Minnesota with three Fab 50s each. Our 2020 women’s college recruiting class rankings later this spring should be interesting to say the least.
We also, as custom, present our 2020 VolleyballMag.com Underclassmen to Watch List, which features 25 up-and-coming non-senior players to keep an eye on. Keep in mind, this is not a Top 25 underclassmen in the country list, rather a simple compilation of the voting panelists’ players to keep an eye on.
To break things down a bit more, just as with the Fab 50, Texas is at the top of the list with six players on the 25 Underclassmen to Watch List from that state. California is a close seconds with five, while Illinois and Nebraska each boasted three.
Texas-based TAV continues to churn out the college prospects with three players on this list, while Alabama Performance, A5 out of Georgia, Mizuno Long Beach and Tstreet out of Southern California each had two players on the 25 list.
And to get a little sneak peek at what the 2021 women’s college recruiting class rankings might look like, Nebraska has five recruits on the 25 list, while USC and Florida have three each and Penn State has two.