ACC's top newcomers

April, 3, 2012
4/03/12
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The ACC hauled in three of the nation's top-10 recruiting classes for the Class of 2012, and several teams could benefit immediately for their efforts. Here, we look at the top newcomers in the conference for the upcoming fall.

Florida State DE Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas/Billy Ryan). The Seminoles' 2012 class was ranked second nationally, and Edwards, the nation's top overall player, is a big reason for that. The 6-foot-4, 197-pounder has the size and agility to contribute immediately to a defense that finished fourth overall in 2011.

Florida State DT tackle Eddie Goldman (Washington, D.C./Collegiate Academy). Another big reason for the nation's No. 2 class? How about the nation's top defensive tackle, too. A senior season that featured 38 tackles, 15 sacks and five forced fumbles makes the 6-4, 310-pound Goldman hard to ignore.

Miami CB Tracy Howard (Miramar, Fla./Miramar). Hampered by an uncertain future, Al Golden and the rest of the Hurricanes' staff hauled in the No. 8 class, one that is quarterback-heavy (with three). But Howard, the nation's top corner, is the biggest get of the group. At 5-11 and 185, the nation's No. 18 overall player has the instincts and physicality to get on the field early, especially with Miami returning only two experienced corners.

Clemson S Travis Blanks (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian). A defense that gave up 70 points in its 2011 finale can use all the help it can get, meaning Blanks, the nation's No. 2 safety, could be in position to get on the field soon. Enrolling early, the 6-1, 195-pound Blanks has already earned public praise from coach Dabo Swinney, who brought in the nation's No. 10 recruiting class to the defending conference champs.

Matt Fortuna | email

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