Monday, January 6, 2014
Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC
By Jared Shanker
The extended dead period kept coaches from flooding the hotels at all-star games, but more than a dozen recruits still made commitments this past week. Here is a look at the weekend that was in the ACC.
Dalvin Cook could be an impact player for Florida State.
Biggest commitment: Florida State had a big week at the Under Armour All-America Game. Dalvin Cook (Miami/Miami Central), Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page) and Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) all committed to the Noles over the last few days, but the pledge from Cook is the biggest. The fourth-ranked running back is now FSU’s top commit, and it also comes at the expense of Florida and Miami. Cook was a Gators commit and Miami was one of the three finalists for Cook. Florida State wanted a running back in this class but it was Cook or bust. Early during Under Armour week Cook was giving signs he might stay with Florida, but as expected he flipped to FSU. Florida State has one of the country’s best offenses and there should be little dropoff with help from Cook.
Biggest offer: Florida State offered Chandler Cox (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) shortly after the New Year, so it looks like Jimbo Fisher still plans to keep a fullback in his offense. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound junior has a handful of offers with FSU and Florida being two of the most recent. Fullback Chad Abram has flourished at the position for FSU this year, and Abram is a converted safety. With a player of Cox’s caliber opening holes in 2015 and beyond, the Seminoles should have a solid power rushing attack.
Best performance by a commit/target: Rudolph, No. 61 in the ESPN 300 and new Noles commit, had a special afternoon at the Under Armour game. One of the country’s best receivers was going up against the country’s best cornerbacks and hauled in several passes. On one play he caught the ball in front of Jabrill Peppers, the No. 1 cornerback nationally, and made a move to evade Peppers’ tackle. Later in the game, Rudolph caught a touchdown pass. The best performance might have been Rudolph’s celebration -- the famous Deion Sanders step, which the Hall of Famer taught the UA All-Americans earlier in the week.
Most important visit: It turns out the biggest visit came from Will Muschamp to a recruit committed to the future ACC school. Louisville, which is prepping for its move to the ACC, lost four-star offensive tackle Kavaris Harkless (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian) on Sunday after Charlie Strong officially became Texas’ new coach. Harkless was set to begin classes at Louisville on Monday as an early enrollee. Now, he will enroll at Florida. Muschamp visited Harkless three weeks ago and offered Harkless, who was committed to Louisville at the time. Harkless ignored Muschamp’s overtures at the time despite some trepidation that Strong would not be the coach at Louisville by the time the 2014 season started. The visit eventually paid dividends for Muschamp.
Biggest answer: Al Golden is not leaving to take the Penn State job. The PSU alum will remain at Miami, which should keep the Hurricanes’ top-10 class intact. Miami is finally emerging from the NCAA investigation and Golden has turned that into one of Miami’s best classes over the last decade. Only Alabama and LSU have more ESPN 300 commitments than Miami in 2014. The Canes’ class is close to finished and now the emphasis is on keeping the committed prospects on board. ESPN 300 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnat Catholic) decommitted Saturday citing Golden’s flirtation with Penn State, although Valentine was already close to reneging on his pledge. With the news of Golden staying, don’t be surprised if Valentine eventually signs with the Canes anyway.
Biggest question: Will Florida State’s class be as good as we all thought it could be a few weeks ago? Only three schools have more ESPN 300 commitments but that should change before signing day. What should really make Fisher smile is that the Noles’ final few spots could come at the expense of rival schools. Five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) is down to Alabama and Florida State. Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) is a Florida commit, and J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee) is also down to FSU or the Tide. Cook will be working Lane hard to join him in Tallahassee, and Lane took a photo recently in FSU gear. If FSU can add at least two of those three and couple that with ESPN 300 linemen Damian Prince or Roderick Johnson, and the Noles will have all the pieces for a third top-two class in the last four cycles.