Friday, January 17, 2014
Key recruiting visits -- ACC
By Jared Shanker
The dead period has finally come to an end, and coaches are itching to get back on the road. The NCAA extended the dead period an additional week this January, so coaches have been quarantined in their football offices longer than they have ever been before with signing day just three weeks away.
With signing day quickly approaching, each official visit weekend becomes exponentially more important. This is the first of three official visit weekends in January. Here are this weekend’s 10 biggest visits in the ACC:
1. CB Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover): Florida State
The five-star cornerback was down to Alabama and Florida State, but there is some talk that Georgia could get in late with defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt now with the Bulldogs. Although most project Humphrey to Alabama, the Seminoles were keeping it very close when Pruitt was their defensive coordinator and recruiting the No. 15 player in the ESPN 300. Maybe the Noles will impress Humphrey enough this weekend to remain a finalist, but, without Pruitt, it seems unlikely FSU will land him.
Four-star offensive tackle Damian Prince, who is the top prospect in Maryland, is visiting an SEC program this weekend.
2. OT Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara): South Carolina
OK, so Prince is not visiting an ACC school, but the two programs the 26th-ranked player in the ESPN 300 has visited so far are Florida State and Maryland. For the past few months, it seems as if the Noles and Terps have alternated at the top for Prince. South Carolina has long been a dark horse, so this visit could really shake up his top group.
3. DT Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield): Florida State
Long considered a Michigan lean, McDowell is starting to make his way through the Southeast. Alabama impressed him on his official to Tuscaloosa, and this weekend is FSU’s opportunity to bridge the gap with the Crimson Tide, Michigan and Michigan State. The Noles are a dark horse for McDowell but, by Sunday, could emerge as a favorite.
4. WR Trevion Thompson (Durham, N.C./Hillside): Clemson
The RecruitingNation Hot Board has projected Thompson to the Tigers for several months, but it is hard to predict accurately who actually leads for the top-20 receiver. Clemson faces competition from NC State and North Carolina, but a strong official visit to Clemson could go a long way in wrapping up a commitment from Thompson, who is No. 152 in the ESPN 300.
5. DT Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes): Ohio State
Another visit outside of the conference, but Ohio State looks to be the only non-ACC team with a realistic chance at landing Nnadi, who is No. 253 in the ESPN 300. He liked his visit to Penn State, but former PSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson has joined the Buckeyes. Virginia Tech will be keeping a very close eye on this visit, as will Florida State and Virginia.
6. QB-DT Alin Edouard (Hialeah, Fla./Hialeah): Syracuse
The top-rated commitment in the Orange’s class, Edouard recently heard from Florida, and a visit could be in the works. Syracuse coach Scott Shafer is hoping to solidify Edouard’s commitment this weekend. Formerly a Miami commit, the draw of playing in his home state could begin to weigh on Edouard if the Gators offer.
7. WR Isaiah Ford (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian): Miami
The former Louisville commit began hearing from Miami earlier this week and set up an official visit quickly to the in-state Canes. Miami will allow Ford to play both football and basketball, and both Canes coaches signed off on Ford playing two sports. This visit could have major implications for Ford, who previously was down to Louisville, South Carolina and Virginia Tech.
8. DT Cory Thomas (McCalla, Ala./McAdory): Clemson
The Volunteers are confident Thomas will remain committed, but the potential for a flip on an official visit is always higher when it’s this close to signing day. The Tigers have a lot of talent on the line with Vic Beasley returning, so Thomas would be icing on the cake for an already strong unit.
9. ATH Raymon Minor (Richmond, Va./Benedictine Prep): Miami
Likely a tight end in college, and Miami traditionally has loaded up at the position. It will be hard to pull Minor from Virginia Tech, but, if he makes it to Coral Gables this weekend, it is at least a step in the right direction for the Canes, who could use some good news on the recruiting trail.
10. OLB Rashawn Shaw (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central): Wake Forest
A Louisville commit, the three-star linebacker Shaw doesn’t look to be in the Cards’ future. There are no plans to visit Louisville, which has opened the door for new Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson. Shaw would be a nice flip for Clawson as he tries to build the Demon Deacons back into an ACC contender.