ACC: acc recruiting needs 0901

Virginia Tech's recruiting needs

January, 15, 2009
1/15/09
2:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Blacksburg should be an easy sell to recruits after a second straight ACC title, a FedEx Orange Bowl win over Cincinnati and the program's fifth straight 10-win season.

With an abundance of youth on offense, the staff's biggest recruiting needs were on defense. The Hokies wanted to lure in some defensive linemen in this class, particularly defensive ends. They'll miss Orion Martin at that position, and his backup, Nekos Brown, will be a senior. The coaches were pleased with inside linebackers Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant, both of whom played very well in the Orange Bowl and will graduate.

With the departure of cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris, the staff also made defensive backs a priority, especially corners.

Offensively, Virginia Tech always likes to sign a great tailback, and as many tight ends as possible because they can be moved around a lot. On the offensive line, everyone returns but Nick Marshman and center Ryan Shuman.

With the departure of Sean Glennon and not much depth behind Tyrod Taylor, the Hokies are still looking to add another quarterback to the roster. Place-kicker Dustin Keys had a strong season in his first and final year as a starter and will leave another vacancy that needs to be filled with this recruiting class.

Virginia's recruiting needs

January, 15, 2009
1/15/09
1:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Virginia is having more success in the Tidewater area than in the past and some of that has been attributed to head defensive coach Bob Pruett, who used to be a high school coach in Virginia and is entering his second season on Al Groh's staff. Regardless of where they come from, the Cavaliers will need to bring in some wide receivers and linebackers in this class.

With recent hires of offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon and receivers coach Latrell Scott, Virginia will need some receivers for the spread offense the Cavaliers will implement in 2009.

The staff isn't really looking for anyone who will play immediately, but with the new offense, the departure of wide receiver Kevin Ogletree for the NFL draft and starter Maurice Covington graduated, freshmen receivers will have a chance to get on the field if they're capable.

The staff recently took an interest in receiver Bobby Smith (Richmond, Va.), and has three commitments from receivers. The other glaring holes on offense will be left by the graduation of tailback Cedric Peerman, tight end John Phillips and left tackle Eugene Monroe.

Virginia will also have to re-stock the linebacker position, where three of the four starters will have graduated and the fourth starter -- Denzel Burell -- will be a senior. Virginia will sorely miss starting linebackers Antonio Appleby, Jon Copper and Clint Sintim.

North Carolina's recruiting needs

January, 15, 2009
1/15/09
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

UNC coach Butch Davis is wasting no time transforming the football program, and he's doing it by luring in one of the nation's best recruiting classes. The Tar Heels have joined the likes of traditional recruiting powers Florida State and Miami with what is currently the No. 11 class in the nation. Davis has 27 commitments already, and four are ranked among the ESPN 150.

With the departure of receivers Brandon Tate, Hakeem Nicks, Brooks Foster, Ken Thornton and Cooter Arnold, the receiving corps is depleted. And with the transfer of backup quarterback Cam Sexton, the depth at the position is a concern. The arrival of quarterback Bryn Renner, who is listed as the No. 6 prep quarterback by Scouts Inc., should help, and highly touted athlete Donavan Tate, could be another option if he doesn't pursue a baseball career.

Defensive backs were another priority as safety Trimane Goddard will graduate, Jordan Hemby will be a senior and Kendric Burney a junior. There's not a lot of depth behind them.

The staff was also looking to build the offensive line, and a key concern that might go overlooked is the need for a punter. Terrence Brown graduated and his backup is a walk-on who has never kicked. The Tar Heels have high expectations for C.J. Feagles, whose father, Jeff, is a Miami grad and the punter for the Giants.

Miami's recruiting needs

January, 15, 2009
1/15/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

If there's one thing Miami doesn't have any problem doing, it's recruiting, and this year is no exception. Seven of its 19 current commitments are ranked among the ESPN 150, and the Canes currently have the No. 7 class in the nation.

With 37 true and redshirt freshmen on the 2008 roster, Miami was one of the youngest teams in the conference. The most pressing need is on the offensive line, where the Canes got four commitments and are still recruiting more.

Miami will need to bring in a center as Xavier Shannon was a senior, and his backup, A.J. Trump, who was also the starting right guard, will be a senior this season. The right tackle position will also be a need as starter Chris Rutledge and his backup, Reggie Youngblood, were both seniors. Starting left tackle Jason Fox will also be a senior this year.

The secondary is another area of concern as the Canes will lose two starters and Lavon Ponder, Anthony Reddick's backup, was also a senior. Miami will also lose experience at linebacker with the graduation of four players on the two-deep, including leading tackler Glenn Cook. Defensive tackle is another position that will lose veterans this year and next.

The staff would also like to bring in one or two more tight ends, two receivers, a quarterback to help with the depth after the transfer of Robert Marve, and three running backs.

Georgia Tech recruiting needs

January, 15, 2009
1/15/09
10:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Coincidently, Georgia Tech recruiting coordinator Giff Smith also coaches the defensive line, and that's where the Yellow Jackets' most pressing need was during this recruiting class -- up front.

Georgia Tech will lose three starting defensive linemen -- all of whom are projected to go onto successful careers in the NFL -- in Darryl Richard, Vance Walker and Michael Johnson. So far, the Yellow Jackets have five commitments from defensive linemen. Aside from that unit, this was one of the youngest teams in the ACC.

Despite Georgia Tech's success running the football in the first year of Paul Johnson's triple-option offense, the Yellow Jackets were in need of an overhaul on the offensive line. They're looking to recruit big, fast, athletic linemen, not small and quick players. Georgia Tech is expecting commitments from at least three guards and a tackle.

Johnson expects to bring in two or three A-backs and one B-back, but with Jonathan Dwyer and Roddy Jones returning, the coaches aren't too concerned with those positions.

The staff was also looking to add two or three quarterbacks and more depth at the position. With so many injuries in 2008, young players were forced into roles they weren't necessarily ready for, and the Jackets are working hard to make sure that doesn't happen again. Getting closer to the 85 scholarship limit this year will certainly help.

Duke recruiting needs

January, 15, 2009
1/15/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

As promised, here's the second round of recruiting needs for the ACC. Today we're focusing on the Coastal Division. Let's start with the Blue Devils:

If coach David Cutcliffe is going to turn the Blue Devils' program around, he's going to have to lure a stronger, faster athlete to Durham, and his staff is working hard to do that.

The odds of freshmen playing in 2009 are greatest in the secondary and at the linebacker position, where the recruiting needs were the most pressing, but Duke's entire starting lineup on defense was comprised of juniors and seniors. The graduation of two starting linebackers -- Marcus Jones and ACC leading tackler Michael Tauiliili -- made that position a priority, and five have committed.

Safety Adrian Aye-Darko and corners Jabari Marshall and Glenn Williams are all seniors, and the staff is expecting at least five commitments from defensive backs.

Duke also wanted to build depth up front on both lines, as the staff will have to replace three starters on the offensive line,and the defensive line will graduate two starters and return two seniors. So far, Duke has four linemen on each side of the ball committed.

The Blue Devils will also have to replace receivers Eron Riley and Raphael Chestnut, but there is some youth behind them. Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis will be a senior, but the staff is excited about Sean Renfree, and isn't too concerned about the depth at quarterback for this recruiting class.

Wake Forest recruiting needs

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
1:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe reaped the rewards of his redshirting philosophy over the past few years, but now he is tasked with replacing a plethora of fourth- and fifth-year seniors who leave as the winningest class in school history.

With only four starters returning, defense was the staff's main focus, particularly at linebacker and defensive back. Wake Forest will lose three fifth-year senior starters at linebacker, and the secondary will lose three four-year starters and the top backup. Ouch. Wake is expecting to sign four defensive backs and three linebackers.

The two biggest names the staff will have to replace are corner Alphonso Smith and Butkus Award winner Aaron Curry.

Offensively, only nine starters are back. The offensive line was also an emphasis, as the Demon Deacons needed to add more quality depth. Wake will return five fifth-year seniors, three of whom will be starters, a fourth-year junior and a true sophomore in Joe Looney.

Wake learned to live without injured punter/placekicker Sam Swank this season, but will sign another to help out Shane Popham. The Demon Deacons would also like to secure a quarterback, as Riley Skinner's backup, Brett Hodges, is a fifth-year senior because they took two quarterbacks in the same class.

NC State recruiting needs

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
1:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

As he enters his third season in Raleigh, coach Tom O'Brien is close to reaching his recruiting goal of bringing in a balanced class every February instead of focusing on certain positions.

Ideally, the Pack would like to add four offensive linemen, four defensive backs, three linebackers, four defensive linemen, a quarterback and a tailback in every class, but defense was the main priority in this year's recruiting class. The biggest names they'll have to replace are on offense, where running back Andre Brown and tight end Anthony Hill will be graduating.

While NC State enters 2009 with arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Russell Wilson, Mike Glennon provides the only legitimate depth behind him, and if Wilson has another injury-laden season, Glennon won't have to wait long for his shot.

Of the 19 seniors departing, nine are from the defense, and both lines will lose key contributors, including offensive linemen Meares Green and John Bedics. The staff has gone after several recruits for the defensive line, as it loses Keith Willis Jr. and Antoine Holmes, and all four starters on the defensive line might be seniors next season. There's not a lot of young depth behind them right now.

The secondary will also take a hit with the departure of Jeremy Gray and J.C. Neal, and the Pack will need a replacement for Robbie Leonard at linebacker.

Maryland recruiting needs

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The Terps rebounded from their disappointing finish in the regular season with an impressive win over Nevada in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, and a bowl win never hurts recruiting.

The Terps' main focus was to stock up on linebackers, especially with the departure of Rick Costa, Moise Fokou and Dave Philistin. Maryland will have to replace three seniors on its offensive line, and that was the staff's second priority. The Terps are still shopping in that department, but have a good start with three commitments in Pete DeSouza (Hyattsville, Md.), Bennett Fulper (Gretna, Va.) and Ryan Schlieper (Wexford, Pa.).

With backup quarterback Josh Portis transferring and Jordan Steffy graduating, the Terps also had to fill a void there. Chris Turner is a veteran with a winning record, but his backup, Jamarr Robinson, is a redshirt freshman who hasn't thrown a pass yet. Maryland is expecting two commitments at the position in C.J. Brown (Cranberry, Pa.), and Danny O'Brien (Kernersville, N.C.).

The Terps are always looking for defensive linemen and defensive backs. Kevin Barnes is the biggest name in the defensive backfield who will have to be replaced. The defensive line will also lose a lot of depth in Jeremy Navarre, Mack Frost, Dean Muhtadi, and Olugbemi Otulaja. De'Onte Arnett, a highly regarded defensive end from Forestville, Md., is an early entry who might contribute immediately.

Maryland will need a kicker to replace Obi Egekeze, and they've got a commitment from Nick Ferrara of St. Anthony's in New York.

The most glaring departure on offense was star receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who decided to leave early for the NFL draft, but the Terps have several talented, young receivers who emerged this season. That position will be more of a focus for the class of 2010.

FSU recruiting needs

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The FSU coaching staff is in a bit of a tricky situation, as it's still waiting to hear from the NCAA about possible scholarship reductions resulting from the academic cheating scandal, which could affect this year's recruiting class. The announcement could come by the end of the week. So far, Florida State has 18 commitments.

The Seminoles' recruiting philosophy has always been to sign the best players available, regardless of position. That said, FSU will take some hits on defense, especially with the loss of both starting defensive ends, linebackers Derek Nicholson and Toddrick Verdell, corner Tony Carter, and safety Myron Rolle. The staff put an emphasis on defensive linemen and defensive backs.

Offensively, the Noles are in good shape, as they had several young playmakers contribute this season who will be back, including their quarterback and all of their offensive linemen. FSU will have to replace leading rusher Antone Smith, starting receiver Greg Carr, and most likely Corey Surrency, who is petitioning the NCAA for another year of eligibility. The Noles are expected to add at least four wide receivers and two running backs.

Possibly the biggest shoes FSU will have to fill are those of Lou Groza Award winner Graham Gano. The Noles are hoping Dustin Hopkins, a kicker from Houston, will be able to help.

Clemson recruiting needs

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
10:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The Tigers had to switch gears with the recruits midseason while the coaching staff was in flux, and now that Dabo Swinney has been hired, they've got to sell the new staff, new offense and direction of the program.

The only immediate need for this class is safety, and there are still several candidates who might help. Jonathan Scott is a candidate whom the staff liked and visited this past weekend. Jemea Thomas, who committed to Georgia Tech, is coming in for a visit, and Corey Addison, a South Carolina commitment, is also expected in for a visit.

The Tigers also need offensive tackles, and will fill one void with midyear enrollee J.K. Jay. Tennessee commitment JerQuari Schofield was on an official visit this past weekend, and Brandon Thomas, an athletic, 6-foot-4, 280-pound tackle has committed, but will probably end up inside.

Regardless of whether C.J. Spiller decides to enter the NFL draft, Clemson is also looking for a bigger back, and the staff is working hard on Tim Simon, who committed to Ole Miss. If the Tigers don't get Simon, they'll go after Marcus Lattimore, considered by many to be the top back in the state, in the class of 2010.

As for the defensive line, Clemson hit two home runs with Leon Mackey and Malliciah Goodman, two big, physical players who will have an immediate impact.

The staff started a little, but still needs a quarterback in this class, and is going hard after Tajh Boyd, the MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He is a passer first, but is athletic enough to make plays with his feet. He might visit this weekend. Willy Korn has already had two injuries to his throwing shoulder, and Kyle Parker could be drafted in the first round of the MLB draft.

Boston College recruiting needs

January, 14, 2009
1/14/09
10:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

As we get closer to signing day, recruiting moves to the forefront of the discussions, and this week I'll be breaking down each school's recruiting needs. Today we'll hit the Atlantic Division, tomorrow the Coastal.

Let's kick it off with BC:

This staff has arguably one of the toughest challenges in the league because of the timing of the coaching change, and its recruiting needs appear to be where games are won and lost -- up front.

The biggest losses on defense will be defensive tackles Ron Brace and B.J. Raji, and filling their gaping 324-pound holes won't be easy. The defensive line should be a priority for this recruiting class, as Brace's backup, Jerry Willette, is also a senior, and next season's starting defensive line will have two senior defensive ends.

The good news is the Eagles don't have to replace the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Mark Herzlich, but they will lose starter Robert Francois to graduation, and both Herzlich and starting middle linebacker Mike McLaughlin will be seniors next season. BC will also have to replace two of its four starters in the secondary.

The Eagles have a reputation for developing offensive linemen, and this season's unit was one of the best. They'll lose starting left guard Clif Ramsey, and center Matt Tennant will be a senior, as will two backups, so the staff needs to build some depth there.

Tight end Ryan Purvis and receiver Brandon Robinson are also graduating, and starting receiver Rich Gunnell and his backup, Justin Jarvis, will both be seniors, so the Eagles also need to load up on some receivers.

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