Wednesday, April 16, 2014
ESPN 300: Top ACC targets
By Gerry Hamilton
With Wednesday’s release of the 2015 ESPN 300, here’s a look at five top ACC targets in the 2015 class.
DT Trenton Thompson 6-4, 310 ESPN 300 rank: 1 While Thompson is only seriously considering a pair of ACC schools, the defensive tackle from Albany, Ga., is at the top of many a defensive recruiting board -- including Florida State's. The Seminoles currently sit in the top five for Thompson, along with Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee. Clemson is a second ACC program Thompson is considering, and he was on campus in early April. Thompson lives less than 100 miles from the Florida State campus. He has visited several times in the past few months. The Bulldogs continue to be considered the favorite.
DE Josh Sweat 6-5, 230 ESPN 300 rank: 4 Sweat is another top defensive line prospect from the state of Virginia, and the in-state ACC universities are desperately trying to keep him at home. Florida State and Virginia Tech lead the pack of ACC schools trying to fend off SEC programs Georgia, Texas A&M and others, with Ohio State also a factor in the race for the five-star pass rusher. Defensive ends with the special athleticism of Sweat don’t grow on trees, and it’s imperative that the ACC keeps the explosive end in the conference. Should the Hokies lose Sweat to ACC champion Florida State, it would be a big blow for the state.
Mitch Hyatt, ranked No. 7 in the 2015 class, is a huge get for Clemson.
OT Mitch Hyatt 6-5, 265 ESPN 300 rank: 7 If there was a "must-get" recruit for the Clemson in the 2015 class, it was Hyatt. On signing day for the 2014 class, the Tigers got a huge shot in the arm when the nation's No. 2-ranked offensive tackle committed to longtime favorite Clemson, where he has family ties. With the pledge of Hyatt, Clemson has its highest-ranked offensive tackle commit in the 10 years ESPN has been ranking prospects. While programs from the SEC and Southeast will continue to check in on Hyatt, his commitment is rock-solid for the Tigers.
DT Tim Settle 6-3, 310 ESPN 300 rank: 10 Virginia Tech and Virginia have a serious battle on their hands. Not only are the in-state programs desperately trying to keep the five-star tackle in-state, but they are also battling Florida State and Clemson from within the ACC. If the ACC programs are to win the battle for Settle, they will have to defeat Ohio State and Alabama, where good friend Da’Shawn Hand signed in 2014 out of Virginia. The Buckeyes are considered by many as the team to beat.
ATH George Campbell 6-4, 185 ESPN 300 rank: 11 A former Michigan commit, Campbell's recruitment has become a battle between Florida, Clemson and Florida State, with others on the periphery. While the Gators are desperately trying to keep Campbell in the state and SEC, Clemson has been trending upward, with close friend Artavis Scott already on campus in Clemson. The Seminoles are trying to pull the upset over the Gators, which would keep the blazing-fast receiver and safety prospect both in-state and in the ACC. Alabama and Auburn also factor into Campbell’s recruitment but are currently on the outside looking in.