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Wednesday, September 25, 2013
ACC class rankings analysis

By Jared Shanker

Another week passes without movement among the ACC schools in the class rankings. A commitment from three-star Ryan Izzo (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII) was not enough to launch Florida State past Alabama and back into the No. 1 spot. With Izzo’s pledge out of the way, it does not appear any conference school is on the verge of a commitment any time soon.

Trending up: Neither are programs that traditionally find themselves in the top half of the conference or recruiting rankings, but NC State and Pittsburgh garnered some attention when colleague David M. Hale recognized the programs for the impact their 2013 classes are having. As far as early impact goes, Hale placed Pitt at the top and NC State No. 3. Early playing time is a bigger factor for recruits now than it ever was before, and first-year California coach Sonny Dykes told me a lot of players are looking for that “instant gratification.” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren and Pitt coach Paul Chryst, both saddled with turning around once-proud programs, can sell the impact the 2013 freshmen are having and use it to sway 2014 recruits.

Trending down: It would be unfair to give an ACC team this distinction after two straight weeks without movement in the rankings. Furthermore, no major targets have dropped an ACC school from their list recently. But that could change soon with some big games slated in these next few weeks. Pittsburgh is recruiting Virginia heavily and takes on the Cavs this weekend. BC has a chance to make a statement against Florida State. Miami can impress Tampa recruits on Saturday when it plays at South Florida. And Maryland travels to Florida State two weekends from now.

What to watch: Pittsburgh hosts Virginia this weekend, and those two teams have separated themselves from the pack for ESPN 300 receiver Jamil Kamara (Virginia Beach, Va./Bishop Sullivan). Kamara was hoping to visit the Panthers for the game, but it is looking like he won’t make a return trip to the Steel City until Pitt plays Notre Dame on Nov. 9. The Panthers began making a move up Kamara’s list following a summer visit, and now Pitt looks to be Virginia’s stiffest competition. The Cavaliers appear to still be the leader for Kamara, who will make a January decision, but the Panthers will get their chance to overtake the Cavs.

Bold prediction: Colleague Gerry Hamilton reported ESPN 300 receiver Isaiah Ford (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian) is going to visit Virginia Tech this fall. That is news considering Ford, No. 250 nationally, committed to Louisville in May. There might not be an impending flip for Ford, but it is never a good sign when a prospect is taking an official visit elsewhere. Ford wants to play both football and basketball, and there is an opportunity for the 6-foot-1, 161-pounder to make an impact in both sports in Blacksburg. Both Frank Beamer and basketball coach James Johnson will need to put their best foot forward to convince Ford to flip from the reigning Sugar Bowl champions on the gridiron and national champions on the hardwood.