Monday, January 20, 2014
Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC
By Jared Shanker
The first official visit weekend of January saw a handful of ESPN 300 prospects visiting ACC schools. A few of those prospects committed while others were forced to shuffle their leaderboard.
Trevion Thompson commits to Clemson, which is making offense a recruiting priority.
Biggest commitment: Clemson was hoping to wrap up ESPN 300 receiver Trevion Thompson (Durham, N.C./Hillside) before he took any more official visits, and the Tigers did just that Sunday. Thompson, No. 152 in the ESPN 300, committed to Clemson while on his official visit. It is another major addition on offense for Clemson, which has eight ESPN 300 commitments on that side of the ball. On top of that, Thompson is the third ESPN 300 receiver in Clemson’s class. While Thompson does not have top-end speed, he is quick and has the chance to see the field as a freshman. Thompson’s commitment also brings some much-needed good news on the recruiting front for the Tigers. Clemson missed out on several ESPN 300 prospects recently.
Most important visit: Florida State has been on the outside looking in for Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield), but that is only because the four-star defensive tackle had not experienced Tallahassee much. Following his official visit to Florida State this past weekend, the Seminoles are now very much a realistic landing spot for McDowell, No. 60 in the ESPN 300. Based on McDowell’s tweets, the visit to Florida State went very well, and the fifth-ranked defensive tackle is a priority for the Noles. FSU wants to add a few more pieces on the defensive line, and Jimbo Fisher would love for it to be McDowell and five-star Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). Where McDowell signs is still anyone’s guess as Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are all possibilities, but it is clear the Noles have positioned themselves well.
Biggest answer: Who would have thought it a few weeks ago when there were questions whether Paul Johnson would return, but Georgia Tech is setting itself up to finish very strong on signing day. Four-star defensive tackle Michael Sawyers (Nashville, Tenn./The Ensworth School) is coming off an official visit to the Yellow Jackets, who can sell Sawyers on the academics in Atlanta. Sawyers was previously committed to Vanderbilt, so it is clear education is key in his recruitment. Next weekend ESPN 300 athlete Myles Autry (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) makes the short drive to Atlanta for his visit. There is stiff competition from Florida and Florida State for Autry, but the Yellow Jackets have the Autry family in their corner. Autry’s brother is a member of the football team, and their mother would like them to play together.
Biggest question: While Florida State is in position to land several top prospects come signing day, the Noles are also in danger of losing a few commits. Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda), No. 179 in the ESPN 300, officially visited the Gamecocks, and there has been talk for quite some time that South Carolina is poised to flip the Under Armour All-American. FSU gets the last official visit, though. Three-star receiver C.J. Worton (Homestead, Fla./South Dade) is a little more of a guessing game as he has several official visits set. Worton is coming off an official visit to West Virginia and will host Dana Holgorsen for an in-home visit Monday. He remains committed to the Noles and said “it’s going to take a lot to change that,” but he will officially visit Ole Miss (Jan. 24) and Florida (Jan. 31) before signing day. The writing could be on the wall for both Wideman and Worton.