NCF Nation: Chuck Amato

Posted by's Heather Dinich

There is enough drama in college football recruiting for its own reality TV show (please, no), but I pulled five particular ACC recruiting memories that stand out over the past five years.

Two you might be wondering about after reading this are A.J. Davis' switch from UNC to NC State after Chuck Amato's Dean Martin serenade, and Miami's infamous recruit, Willie Williams. Well, the Davis thing was in 2002, and the Williams circus happened in February, 2004, so technically, Miami wasn't yet a part of the ACC.

Here are five others I came up with, in no particular order:

Logan-El's hat trick -- Maryland native Antonio Logan-El wore a Maryland-red tie under his black suit, and made his college announcement in the Baltimore ESPN Zone on national TV in front of dozens of Maryland fans, including coach Ralph Friedgen's wife, Gloria. And then, in dramatic fashion, Maryland's top-rated offensive lineman picked Penn State. Logan-El first reached into a bag and pulled out a baseball cap from the University of Florida and tossed it on the floor. Maryland fans roared. Then he did the same thing with a Tennessee cap. Another roar of approval from the Terps fans. Then he got to the Maryland cap, the program which he had verbally committed to before his sophomore year in high school. And he threw it on the ground, too. All this while Gloria Friedgen held her cell phone up to a speaker for her husband to hear. There was stunned silence, followed by a voice in the back of the room that yelled "TRAI-TOR!" By then, Gloria Friedgen had already grabbed her coat and left.

Little's big decision -- Regarded as one of the top high school athletes in the country, Greg Little of Durham, N.C., held a press conference to reveal his choice between North Carolina and Notre Dame early in the 2006 season. At the last minute, he announced he could not make a decision and canceled the press conference. A few weeks later, former coach John Bunting was fired and Little had another press conference where he announced he would attend Notre Dame. A few weeks later, Carolina played at Notre Dame and on the Friday evening prior to the game, rumors circulated that North Carolina would hire Butch Davis as its next head coach. With Little in attendance as a Notre Dame pledge, the Irish defeated North Carolina. Little continued to show up at many men's and women's basketball games in Chapel Hill in December and January and asked to continue to be recruited by Davis. Little called Davis on the night before signing day and inked with the Tar Heels the following day.

Gator tears -- Everyone but C.J. Spiller seemed to think the star running back was going to play for the Florida Gators, which was just about 25 miles from where he grew up. Spiller's mom, Patricia Watkins, certainly thought so. On the morning of Spiller's press conference at Union County High School, his mom broke into tears when Spiller announced he would sign with Clemson.

"Before we got here, he told me that it wasn't going to be Florida State, so I knew Florida State was out of it," Watkins told at the time. "I knew it was Florida and Clemson, and in my heart, I really felt that it was going to be Florida, so it was a big shock to me."

Sign what paper? -- Alphonso Smith had it down to three schools -- Pitt, Iowa and Wake Forest. He was committed to Pitt for over a year, but left the door open and visited Wake Forest. On signing day, Smith's two best friends on the football team -- D.J. Boldin and Antonio Wilson -- were pleading with him to come to Wake, and Smith couldn't make up his mind. His mom came to the signing day press conference at Pahokee High and handed Smith about 20 handwritten notes from Wake Forest coaches and advised him to play with his friends. Smith pushed the Pitt paperwork aside and was ready to sign with Wake Forest, but realized he had left the papers at the house. His mom had seen them lying on the kitchen table and stuck them in her purse. Smith's commitment was a key shaping the future of Wake Forest recruiting.

Miami's No. 1 -- at least in recruiting -- Coach Randy Shannon's first full recruiting class in 2008 was considered the best in the nation by ESPN's Scouts Inc., and in 2008 many of them lived up to the billing. The 2008 class included 12 prospects from the ESPNU 150, and some -- like Marcus Forston, Jacory Harris, Sean Spence, and Aldarius Johnson -- played integral roles as true freshman last season. Shannon brought in top-tier defensive talent and kept a lot of the most highly regarded prospects from South Florida at home, despite a 5-7 record in 2007. At the time, our experts wrote: "This top-five class may give Miami the foundation necessary to make a run for a national title."

Posted by's Heather Dinich

The Eagles have a new hit, and no, it's not those Eagles. Boston College fans, meet Robert Francois, the replacement for Brian Toal and the subject of a new song called "Ro Fran Don't Touch Me." It's a soft rock tune comprised by your very own Billy Flutie and Will Thompson. I can't make this stuff up, folks.

Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson has known Duke's defensive coordinator "since he was a little kid," which is why it will be a homecoming of sorts for Mike MacIntyre on Saturday.

While the quarterbacks at Miami might continue to smile and nod and say all the right things to reporters this week, at least one of their teammates is sick of this story.

Receiver D.J. Boldin has been one of the bright spots for Wake Forest's struggling offense this season, but he had to first shake the shadow of his older brother.

Check out the numbers on Chuck Amato's last recruiting class at North Carolina State. Or, rather, what's left of it.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

  • You think Clemson has issues with its offensive line? Try meeting the standards of Paul Johnson, who said, "those five guys up front got their lunch handed to them pretty good." By, um, Gardner-Webb.
  • Who would've guessed that the only Bowden still coaching this week would be the 78-year-old patriarch? 
  • Here's the skinny on Cullen Harper's shoulder.
  • The person saying the most about Chuck Amato on Thursday night was -- you guessed it -- Chuck Amato.
  • Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis already has the scouting report on his buddies at Miami. No really, they're friends.
  • The NFL talk is a distraction for Virginia left tackle Eugene Monroe. But for linebacker Clint Sintim, one of the best pass rushers in the ACC? Not so much.
  • Boston College might want to look out for this guy -- that is, if the Eagles can recognize him.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

It's a big week for Florida State, and not because of the game on Thursday night. It's time to meet with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, and it's not to discuss the Noles' 9.8 penalties per game over lunch.

The Willy Korn era officially began at Clemson's Sunday night practice. Get this -- Korn said he learned of his promotion while surfing the Internet. Which is where I learned that C.J. Spiller might be out for the Georgia Tech game with a pulled hamstring, at least according to his buddy James Davis.

After even further review, officials at the North Carolina/Notre Dame game this past weekend got it right

It takes more than three interceptions and a shaky performance against UCF to lose your starting job at Miami these days. Randy Shannon told the Miami Herald Robert Marve is still the guy.

The big story in Raleigh, N.C. this week is the return of former NC State coach Chuck Amato when FSU plays NC State on Thursday night. Current coach Tom O'Brien is handling the situation well, though. When asked about the state of the program when he inherited it, O'Brien said, "it didn't matter what shape the program was in. I'm the head coach and I have to make it better."

One last thing ... a great story about David Cutcliffe and his family.