Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Bold predictions: ACC
By Jared Shanker
It is becoming a bit cliché, but the saying holds true every year on the first Wednesday of February: Expect the unexpected on signing day.
With the direction signing day and recruiting have been going, a prospect simply signing his letter of intent to the college he has been committed to for months qualifies as a mild surprise.
Here are five bold predictions for ACC signing day.
1. Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) signs with the Gators. Maryland was in control of Prince’s recruitment for much of the 2013 calendar year, but there has been a lot more intrigue in Prince’s decision since November. Prince, the top uncommitted tackle and No. 26 in the ESPN 300, is down to Florida and Maryland. He is coming off an official visit to Gainesville, which means the Gators are the last team to host Prince. It is never a good sign for the team perceived to be in the lead when an official visit elsewhere takes place days before signing day. Prince spoke glowingly of Maryland two weeks ago, but that was before his Florida visit. Family is important to Prince and his mom lives 15 minutes away in Washington. However, his mother told ESPN.com last week that she would move to Florida if Prince signs with the Gators.
Will the lure of playing in the SEC make Booker T. Washington's Treon Harris change his mind on Florida State?
2. Teammates Treon Harris and Chad Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington) stick with their schools. The recruits from Booker T. Washington are giving their future fans headaches with signing day 24 hours away. Harris, committed to Florida State since the summer, has made official visits to Auburn, Florida and Miami. Florida State is still the favorite to sign Harris, but the lure of playing in the SEC could pull him from the Noles. As for Thomas, the Miami pledge committed to the Canes in July and remained solid until December. He said he would visit Alabama and FSU but canceled the visits. He then rescheduled and visited both schools over the past two weekends. The expectation, however, is that his letter of intent will be faxed to Miami the morning of signing day.
3. Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda) remains with Florida State. For the last few months, the ESPN 300 defensive tackle has been projected to both FSU and South Carolina. Wideman, 179th in the rankings, was once thought to be headed to South Carolina, especially when the in-state recruit officially visited the Gamecocks in mid-January. However, Wideman stuck with FSU, and the Noles got the last visit. A signing day flip to the Gamecocks would not shock anybody, but it appears Florida State weathered the storm and will hold on to the nation’s No. 12 defensive tackle.
4. Miami holds on to a top-10 recruiting class. The Canes, once No. 3 in the class rankings, are moving in the wrong direction. Since January, Miami has lost four ESPN 300 recruits, three from south Florida. The most recent decommitment is from Reilly Gibbons, and his flip hurts the most. He took a surprise visit to Stanford and flipped on the visit. He was not on the radar as far as wavering prospects in Miami’s class. While the Canes are not in a strong position to add several more pieces before signing day, they should remain in the top 10; it doesn't look as if many teams are poised to jump them. Georgia very well could with a handful of commitments on signing day, five-star Lorenzo Carter among them, but after that the Canes should be safe. Miami is eighth in the rankings.
5. Virginia Tech will have an up-and-down signing day. Not often a program with a lot of turbulence on signing day, Virginia Tech will need to brace itself come Wednesday. Four recruits rated as four-star prospects will make signing day decisions, and Virginia Tech is likely in the top two for all four. Ja’Von Harrison (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen) committed to Virginia Tech 18 months ago, but there is a strong possibility he flips to FSU on signing day. The Noles could also beat out the Hokies for ESPN 300 defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes), who will commit signing day morning. ESPN 300 receiver Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) is down to Ole Miss and Virginia Tech, and four-star receiver Isaiah Ford will choose between Louisville and Virginia Tech. He was previously committed to Louisville but decommitted when Charlie Strong left for Texas. Keep the Pepto close, coach Frank Beamer.