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Wednesday, September 4, 2013
ACC class rankings analysis

By Jared Shanker

The ACC had several big Week 1 games, but few conference teams took advantage of the opportunity. Clemson made a real statement to recruits across the country with a prime-time win, and the performance from Florida State’s Jameis Winston probably has offensive skill players putting the Noles a little higher on the list. But FSU’s win came at the expense of another ACC school, and three other conference teams missed a chance to impress recruits with big out-of-conference wins last week.

Trending up: No doubt Clemson is on the rise in both the polls and recruits’ minds. The Tigers landed a commitment from three-star Jefferie Gibson in the 2014 class and picked up their first 2015 commitment in ESPN Junior 300 running back Van Smith. Five-star Raekwon McMillan, the No. 1 linebacker nationally, was at the game and moved Clemson up his list some. David Sharpe, No. 15 in the ESPN 300, tweeted it was the best game he has seen in person. Top receiver target Trevion Thompson, No. 147 in the ESPN 300, was also at the game. At least six Junior 300 prospects made the game, including No. 4 prospect Mitch Hyatt. Joining him was Ricky DeBerry (No. 139) Michael Barnett (176), Garrett Williams (200) and Tavin Richardson (255).

Trending down: I talked with one high school coach who was at the game and has sent several players to Pittsburgh over the past few years. He said the atmosphere at Heinz Field for Monday’s game was “like a Steelers game.” That lasted until about the second quarter, when the Seminoles began to bury the Panthers in Pitt’s ACC opener. Pitt’s five arguably biggest targets were there, and while the atmosphere was impressive at first, Pitt was outscored 41-6 over the final 55 minutes. It was a missed opportunity to make a statement to Alex Bookser, Dravon Henry, Shai McKenzie, Montae Nicholson and Qadree Ollison. Pitt is near the top of the list for all five, but Monday’s game has to leave them wondering whether Pitt can compete in the ACC. Even worse, three of those five are still looking at Florida State (although none project to go to the Seminoles).

What to watch: Miami is the ACC team most likely to make a jump over the next few weeks, as the Canes have a golden opportunity to regain some control in the Sunshine State. Miami hosts rival Florida this weekend, and the list of visitors is impressive. Uncommitted ESPN 300 prospects Anthony Moten and Travis Rudolph will attend, as will Florida commitment Dalvin Cook. Braxton Berrios is officially visiting, and Miami is near the top for the four-star receiver. The game could have the biggest impact on 2015 recruits, however, as five of the state’s top 10 juniors will be attending.

Bold prediction: After a win over BYU, Mike London looks to lead Virginia past No. 2 Oregon this weekend. If that happens, don’t expect a swing in Virginia talent heading back to Blacksburg. The Cavaliers already dominated the Hokies in Virginia in 2014, and it would be more of the same if London's team pulled off the upset. It would also be difficult for London to lose his job at the end of the season if he got a win over the Ducks, securing a top-20 class in Charlottesville.