ACC Recruiting Grades
By Matthew Osborne
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Florida State and Clemson once again led the ACC in recruiting this year.
After another hectic National Signing Day, head coaches throughout the country can now breathe a temporary sigh of relief before spring practice gets cranked up.
With most team’s recruiting class completely solidified, let’s take a look at how each ACC school fared in recruiting this year.
Analysis: The Eagles have struggled on the gridiron each of the last two seasons and it appears that things may get worse before they get better. Boston College’s 2013 class lacks star power at the top, and is filled with too many “reach” prospects. DT Tevin Montgomery could be a factor early in his career, but the Eagles are not going to be competitive in the ACC unless they start to recruit at a much higher level than they are doing currently.
Under the direction of Dabo Swinney, the Tigers have become one of the consistent recruiting powers in the ACC. Clemson has always fared well when it comes to landing offensive skill players, but the Tigers did an outstanding job of picking up defensive playmakers in this class. In particular, the Tigers signed a number of talented linebackers who could make an immediate impact next season. Landing Mackenzie Alexander and Tyrone Crowder on Signing Day certainly didn’t hurt the quality of the class either.
It is going to take some time before the Blue Devils become serious factors in recruiting, but David Cutcliffe has done a nice job of elevating the status quo. Duke’s 2013 class lacks elite top end talent, but it is also not filled with a bunch of scrubs at the bottom, which used to be the norm in Durham. Although they weren’t able to steal a recruit on Signing Day, the Blue Devils can at least take pride that their recruiting classes are trending upwards.
After asserting themselves as one of the dominant recruiting programs in the country over the past two seasons, it appeared as if the Seminoles’ 2013 recruiting class would be a disappointment. An impressive close to the class, fueled by commitments from five-star prospects Jalen Ramsey and Matthew Thomas, would change those thoughts, however, as the Seminoles continued their recruiting dominance. Florida State once again has the top class in the ACC.
The Yellow Jackets appeared poised to reel in a relatively solid class, but a slew of late de-commitments really diminished the quality of this class. Things aren’t all bad for the Yellow Jackets though. Despite signing a small class, the average quality of Georgia Tech’s commitments is much higher than it has been in many other years recently. In the end, this is a decent class that could have been very good with a better finish on the recruiting trail.
This is a very solid and thorough class for Randy Edsall and his staff. The Terrapins have signed some elite prospects in the past, but they have also signed their fair share of “projects”. Maryland did a much better job of consistently signing future contributors with its available slots in this class. A lot of help is on its way in the trenches, which will benefit an offensive line which was downright abysmal a season ago.
All things considered, this is another fantastic recruiting job by head coach Al Golden. With limited scholarships and additional NCAA sanctions potentially on the way, the Hurricanes were put in a very difficult dilemma with this recruiting class. Overcoming the obstacles, Miami signed a number of prospects, particularly on defense, who will have a tremendous opportunity to compete for immediate playing time next season. Stacy Coley was a nice prize for the Canes to cap off the class.
The Tar Heels missed out on signing that one elite prospect, but this is the best class that UNC has had in recent seasons from top to bottom. Many of North Carolina’s top signees were highly sought after by other teams, but Larry Fedora was instrumental in luring prospects to Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels are aiming to become one of the recruiting powers in college football, and this class is certainly a step in the right direction.
North Carolina State
Former head coach Tom O’Brien was never renowned for his recruiting prowess, which put Dave Doeren in a rather difficult situation when he took over in Raleigh. Fortunately for the Wolfpack faithful, Doeren did a very nice job of finishing the 2013 recruiting class nicely. NC State did not sign many “instant impact” recruits, but there is plenty of quality depth in this class. If nothing else, Doeren set a nice foundation for the next recruiting cycle.
While the Cavaliers struggled to win games on the gridiron last season, Mike London has continued to elevate the state of Virginia’s recruiting. Virginia got most of its recruiting done early in the recruiting cycle, and held on for a very solid class. The most impressive aspect of this class is the supreme depth. The vast majority of this class appears poised to become solid contributors during their careers in Charlottesville.
It is rather ironic that Virginia Tech’s worst season in recent memory coincides with its best recruiting class in recent memory. The Hokies have never been considered a power in recruiting, but this is easily one of the top classes in the ACC this year. There are no real weak parts of this class, and five-star cornerback Kendall Fuller gives the Hokies some firepower at the top. Frank Beamer and his staff should be commended for a job well done.
It was business as usual for the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest is notorious for not signing many in-state recruits, instead choosing to head to more talent-rich states in search of hidden prospects. The Demon Deacons finish the class with just four signees from the state of North Carolina, and with a small number of prospects who will have an opportunity to contribute as true freshmen. In the end, this is what we have come to expect out of Wake Forest.
For SEC Recruiting Grades, click here.