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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
ACC class rankings analysis

By Jared Shanker

This week is starting to look a lot like the week leading up to signing day. Four of the country’s premier ESPN 300 prospects committed Tuesday and a handful more will make decisions in the coming week.

Naturally, it has caused a few shakeups, so here is a breakdown of the updated class rankings, and how it affects the ACC.

Trending up: Once again this distinction belongs to Florida State after two commitments last week and another one Wednesday with junior college lineman Kareem Are (Fort Scott, Kan./Fort Scott CC) deciding Wednesday morning The Noles have added two juco linemen over the last 10 days; Chad Mavety (Garden City, N.Y./Nassau) pledged to the Noles Dec. 9. Three-star Brock Ruble (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic) also joined the offensive line class with a commitment Friday. As for the rest of the class, things still look good to flip ESPN 300 running back Dalvin Cook (Miami/ Central) and landing five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover). There is still a chance for No. 1 cornerback Adoree' Jackson and No. 1 receiver Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis), too.

Trending down: Often on the receiving end of tongue-in-cheek jabs, the ACC had a pretty strong week in recruiting. The conference as a whole recruited well and no team truly qualifies as trending down this week. NC State landed elite in-state defensive lineman Kentavius Street (Greenville, N.C./J.H. Rose). FSU landed the offensive linemen it desperately needed and leads for as many as three others. While Miami did miss on Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer), who committed to Ohio State, ESPN 300 athlete Kiy Hester (Wayne, N.J./DePaul Catholic) will leave New Jersey for Coral Gables. Even new Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson picked up a nice commitment in quarterback John Wolford (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny). The former East Carolina commit picked Wake Forest over a recent Penn State offer.

What to watch: Pitt coach Paul Chryst will either have a really good holiday or one he would like to forget depending on how the rest of this week plays out. ESPN 300 athlete Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) commits Thursday and the Panthers are likely in the top two. There are rumblings Michigan State is the team to beat and the Spartans have done well in Western Pennsylvania. However, any prediction on Nicholson is purely speculative as he has played his recruitment close to the vest since the beginning. Three-star running back Shai McKenzie (Washington, Pa./Washington) commits the following day on Friday, and Pitt is in the top two with Virginia Tech. This one is a bit of a coin flip. After losing out on Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa) to West Virginia, landing just one of McKenzie and Nicholson will not be enough. Pittsburgh needs to land both, as well as Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon), the No. 2 player in the state.

Bold prediction: I am going to stick with my prediction of McKenzie to Virginia Tech. Pittsburgh makes the most sense, but that is why we call it a bold prediction. The Panthers have been at the top or toward the top for McKenzie since February, but he loved both his visits to Virginia Tech. Pittsburgh had him for an official visit the weekend of Dec. 7, but I think the lasting impression from his November official to VaTech will ultimately be the reason he goes to Blacksburg. It is probably 50-50 at best for the Hokies, but they will find out for sure Friday. McKenzie is not giving too many hints on where his future home will be.