Monday, November 29, 2010
Updated: November 30, 2:03 PM ET
ACC recruiting update
By Jamie Newberg
With just around two months left until national signing day, it's time to take a look at the status of the recruiting classes in the ACC.
What's happened: Coach Frank Spaziani and Boston College are sitting pretty with 16 commitments. The Eagles are looking to reload in the trenches on both sides of the ball and they need help in the secondary. So far BC has committed four defensive linemen, four offensive linemen and a safety and corner to fill these areas.
What's next: It looks like BC could bring in six or eight more recruits. The Eagles would love to turn Miami commitment Albert Louis-Jean (Brocton, Mass./Brockton). Boston College would also love to land a pair from South Florida in defensive back Devin Gaulden (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Nova) and wide receiver Curt Evans (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade). Linebacker Steven Daniels (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) and offensive lineman Pat Flavin (Lisle, Ill./Benet Academy) are two more to watch out for with Boston College.
What's happened: Coach Dabo Swinney is putting together an outstanding class that's already 22 deep for Clemson, led by five-star wide receiver Charone Peake (Roebuck, S.C./Dorman). The Tigers stole two big time running backs from the Sunshine State in Mike Bellamy (Punta Gordon, Fla./Charlotte) and Marlin Lane (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland). Defensive help is on the way too with defensive end Corey Crawford (Columbus, Ga./Carver), linebacker B.J Goodson (Lamar, S.C./Lamar), and safety Cortez Davis (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland).
The Tigers will battle Georgia for Under Armour All-American tight end Jay Rome (Valdosta, Ga./Valdosta) and Florida State for five-star linebacker Tony Steward (St. Augustine, Fla./Menendez). Clemson is playing catch-up with to Alabama for five-star running back Isaiah Crowell (Columbus, Ga./Carver). Defensive lineman Gabe Wright (Columbus, Ga./Carver), and linebacker Stephone Anthony (Wadesboro, N.C./Anson Senior) could all end up at Clemson as well. If things fall their way, the Tigers will push FSU for top class honors in the ACC.
This Blue Devils class has two things David Cutcliffe is looking for -- speed and athleticism. Two dozen prospects have committed to Duke, led by athlete Jamison Crowder (Monroe, N.C./Monroe), wide receiver Blair Holliday (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) and cornerback Jared Boyd (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson). The Blue Devils also have done well in the trenches, highlighted by a trio of three-star offensive guards who are three of Duke's top five players in this class.
There's not much left for Cutcliffe and this staff to do with their 2011 recruiting campaign. The Blue Devils need to keep what they have committed and find one or two more prospects to fill a hole or two. Duke is still after linebacker Dillon Lucas (Medford, N.J./Shawnee), tight end Jamare Mills (Dublin, Ohio/Scioto), wide receiver Douglas McBride (McDonough, Ga./Ola) and defensive end Nick Miles (Mebane, N.C./Eastern Alamance).
Coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff have put together one of the nation's best classes. Of the Seminoles' 19 commits, 10 are members of the ESPNU 150, including athlete James Wilder (Tampa, Fla./Plant), safety Karlos Williams (Davenport, Fla./Ridge), defensive end Aaron Lynch (Cape Coral, Fla./Island Coast), and offensive tackle Bobby Hart (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas).
If Florida State finishes anything like it started, the Seminoles will have the ACC's top class and one of the best in the country. FSU is one of the the finalists for Nick O'Leary (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer), the nation's top tight end, and five-star linebacker Tony Steward (St. Augustine, Fla./Menendez). The Seminoles are also in the hunt for wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central) and five-star defensive end Ray Drew (Thomasville, Ga./Thomas County Central) and Tim Jernigan (Lake City, Fla./Columbia). FSU will also get an official visit from the nation's top prospect, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (Rock Hills, S.C./South Pointe).
Coach Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets have 14 commitments, headlined by ESPNU 150 athlete Vad Lee (Durham, N.C./Hillside), who could be their future quarterback and orchestrate Johnson's triple option. The Yellow Jackets are getting help in the trenches on both sides of the ball, linebacker and safety.
Offensive tackle Errin Joe (Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson), defensive tackle Darian Cooper (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha), running back Quartterrio Morgan (Jonesboro, Ga./Mount Zion), defensive end Roderick Byers (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern), offensive tackle Taylor Gadbois (Dallas, Ga./East Paulding), and tight end Alvin Dupree (Irwinton, Ga./Wilkinson County) are some targets for Johnson as Georgia Tech closes out this class. Under Johnson the Yellow Jackets have done well in Georgia, so keep an eye on the local prospects.
What's happened: Ralph Friedgen and Maryland, with 19 pledges to date, put an emphasis on speed across the board. Leading the way is big-play wide receiver Marcus Leak (Monroe, N.C./Parkwood) and Nigel King (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield), a physical wideout. Maryland is also bringing in six offensive tackles to shore up the offensive line.
After being eliminated by five-star offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha), the Terps are still in the hunt for Under Armour All-American athlete Darius Jennings (Baltimore, Md./Gilman School). He would be a great get for this class. Secondary is still a need and Maryland is after Corey Tindal (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Boyd Anderson), Dondi Kirby (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway), Blake Countess (Baltimore, Md./Our Lady of Good Countess) and Steven Montgomery (Hollywood, Fla./McArthur).
What's happened: The Hurricanes had just seven prospects committed, but three were members of the ESPNU 150 and helped Miami sneak into the top 25 of the class rankings. But with the dismissal of coach Randy Shannon, many of the recruits are unsure of their future with Miami and will now at least listen to other programs.
What's next: Shannon had Miami in the hunt with some of the nation's best players, including five-star OT Cyrus Kouandjio (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha), George Farmer (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) and Nick O'Leary (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer), the nation's top tight end. The foundation is there and now it's a matter of what the new staff can do with it.
What's happened: Perhaps no coach has done a better job given the circumstances than what Butch Davis has done at North Carolina. Through all the turmoil off the field, Davis and his staff have reeled in one of the top classes in the ACC and a top 15 class overall. Nine of their 21 commitments are four-star prospects, including athlete T.J. Thorpe (Durham, N.C./Jordan), offensive guard Kiaro Holts (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central), athlete Everett Golson (Myrtle Beach, S.C./Myrtle Beach), and running back Travis Riley (Kannapolis, N.C./A.L. Brown).
What's next: The Tar Heels are hoping to close strong despite a lingering NCAA investigation. Running back Savon Huggins (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter's), tight end Drew Owens (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell), quarterback Tanner McEvoy (Oradell, N.J./Bergen Catholic), defensive end Toby Jackson (Griffin, Ga./Hargrave Military Academy), and offensive lineman Josue Matias (Union City, N.J./Union) are some players to watch with North Carolina.
What's happened: So far, NC State has just 10 commits and seem to be focused on bringing in athletic players, highlighted by Juston Burris (Raleigh, N.C./Needham Broughton), who is the highest ranked player in the class.
Look for NC State to land seven or eight more recruits. NC State is playing catch up with Under Armour All-American linebacker Stephone Anthony (Wadesboro, N.C./Anson Senior), but have made it to his final six and he'd be the marquee player in this class. The Wolfpack would love to close with offensive linemen Donovan Smith (Owings Mill, Md./Owings Mill) and Joe Thuney (Kettering, Ohio/Archbishop Alter), tight end Drew Owens (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell), wide receivers Dexter Bridge (King of Prussia, Pa./Conestoga) and Frankie Williams (Tampa, Fla./Robinson), defensive end Mike Rose (Simpsonville, S.C./Hillcrest) and linebacker Montese Overton (Greenville, N.C./South Central).
What's happened: Coach Mike London and the Cavaliers are staying close to home. Of their 23 commits, 14 are from the state of Virginia and another six recruits are from Maryland and Washington D.C. The Cavs scored big on the defensive front and in the secondary, led by ESPNU 150 cornerback Brandon Phelps (Damascus, Md./Demascus) and four-star defensive tackle David Dean (Virginia Beach, Va./Green Run). In all, they have commits from four defensive backs and seven defensive linemen.
Virginia will stick with its simple philosophy and stay close to home. The Cavaliers are in the thick of it with in-state stars like linebackers Curtis Grant (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) and Travis Hughes (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville), cornerback Demetrious Nicholson (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside), and athlete Dominique Terrell (Mansassas, Va./Osbourne). Virginia will step out of state for its pursuit of safety Avery Walls (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing), defensive tackle Darian Cooper (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) and Under Armour All-American athlete Darius Jennings (Baltimore, Md./Gilman School).
What's happened: Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech have 13 commitments from five different states and Washington D.C.), including five defensive linemen, led by led by four-star defensive tackle Kris Harley (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central). The Hokies added depth in the secondary with four defensive backs, highlighted by three-star safety Ronny Vandyke (Lorton, Va./South County), who has big upside.
What's next: Virginia Tech has a chance to close very well. It is on the short list for Stephone Anthone (Wadesboro, N.C./Anson Senior), the nation's top outside linebacker, and are in the mix for in-state ESPNU 150 players Curtis Grant (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) and Demetrious Nicholson (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside). As usual, don't necessarily pay attention to the class rankings with Virginia Tech as Beamer is one of the best at finding players who fit his system and developing them.
What's happened: Jim Grobe and Wake Forest has done well in Florida over the years and is once again pulling its fair share from the Sunshine State. Of their nine commits, four are from Florida, highlighted by defensive end Godspower Offor (Miami, Fla./American).
Wake Forest tends to have smaller classes (usually about 14 or 15 prospects) because the Demon Deacons tend to redshirt most of their incoming freshman, so look for maybe five or six more players to sign in this class. Linebackers Ryan Simmons (Cibilo, Texas/Steele) and Marcus Bullard (Columbia, S.C./Spring Vallet), safety Andre Wiggins (San Antonio, Texas/Madison), defensive end Mike Rose (Simpsonville, S.C./Hillcrest), and cornerback Devin Gaulden (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Nova) are some players Wake Forest is after.
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.