ACC Impact Recruits
By Matthew Osborne
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There will be plenty of opportunities for incoming true freshmen to make an impact in the ACC in 2013.
We are now less than two weeks away from National Signing Day and it is time to start evaluating what each school has in their current stable of commits.
In every class, there are always a handful of prospects who go on to make impacts at the college level immediately.
Last week, we took an early look at some of the SEC's impact recruits.
Although ACC schools are not finished assembling their 2013 recruiting classes, let’s take a look at some current verbal commitments who could make an immediate impact in the conference in 2013.
Boston College – DT Tevin Montgomery (Tabor Academy – Marion, MA)
Boston College easily had the worst defensive line in the ACC, if not all of major college football, in 2012. The Eagles finished the 2012 campaign with a jaw-dropping four combined sacks from the team’s defensive linemen. The Eagles also finished ranked 113th in the nation in rushing defense. At six-foot-four, 290 pounds, Montgomery already has a frame ready for BCS competition. He will experience his share of growing pains, but Boston College is desperate for help in the trenches.
Clemson – LB Ben Boulware (T.L. Hanna HS – Anderson, SC)
Clemson has recruited very well at the linebacker position over the past few classes, but some of the talent has failed to live up to its potential as of yet. The team’s leading tackler in 2012, Jonathan Willard, is gone, meaning someone will have to step up and replace his production. Boulware may not earn the starting job, but Clemson likes to rotate its linebackers, so he will likely end up in the rotation. Boulware has tremendous instincts and will make a ton of tackles in college.
Duke – CB Evrett Edwards (Woodbridge HS – Woodbridge, VA)
Losing cornerbacks Lee Butler and Tony Foster, the Blue Devils will need at least one true freshman to battle for a spot in the rotation in the secondary. Many experts feel that Edwards is Duke’s best secondary commit for the class of 2013, and he has enrolled early in Durham, which will only help his development. Edwards is a very good natural coverage corner with above average footwork and ball skills.
Florida State – LB E.J. Levenberry (C.D. Hylton HS – Woodbridge, VA)
There aren’t many immediate positions of need for the Seminoles in 2013, but Levenberry might just be good enough to earn his way in to the rotation anyway. Levenberry is a good athlete, but the most impressive aspect of his game is his physicality. He is a hard worker in the weight room and his body is already prepared for a demanding ACC season. He is also very good in coverage, which is a rarity for a young linebacker.
Georgia Tech – K Harrison Butker (The Westminster Schools – Atlanta, GA)
Placekicking has been a weakness for the Yellow Jackets each of the past two seasons, opening the door for Butker to earn the starting job from day one. Standing six-foot-four, Butker has a powerful leg for an incoming kicker prospect. Butker will have to battle with David Scully and Justin Moore during summer camp, but two seasons of sub-par play should lend itself to Butker ultimately winning the competition.
Maryland – TE Andrew Isaacs (Manchester HS – Manchester, MA)
Losing Matt Furstenburg and Devonte Campbell to graduation, the Terrapins will be looking to replace a significant amount of production at tight end. Isaacs is a big-bodied prospect who displays sure hands and a willingness to block. Though not an elite athlete, Isaacs positions his body very well and has very strong hands, which allow him to make tough catches in traffic. There is certainly room for improvement, but Isaacs is good enough to be an every-down tight end right away.
Miami – S Jamal Carter (Miami Southridge HS – Miami, FL)
The Hurricanes were the worst team in the conference defending against the pass in 2012, and they will once again be forced to turn to an inexperienced player for improvement. When healthy, Carter has proven to be one of the best safeties in the country in the 2013 class. He has tremendous size and is one of the better coverage safeties that you will find at the high school ranks. If he can stay healthy, there is no reason to think he won’t see the field often as a true freshman.
North Carolina, RB T.J. Logan (Northern Guilford HS – Greensboro, NC)
Tar Heel fans are obviously disappointed over the loss of Giovani Bernard, but Logan will help alleviate some of those pains when he arrives on campus. Much like Bernard, Logan is a running back prospect who doesn’t necessarily blow you away with any one facet of his game. As a whole, though, he is very good at just about everything. There will be plenty of carries available in Chapel Hill this fall, and Logan will certainly get more than his fair share.
North Carolina State – OG Tylar Reagan (Bartram Trail HS – Jacksonville, FL)
NC State loses all three of its starting interior offensive linemen from 2012, opening a path for multiple incoming offensive linemen to compete for a spot in the rotation. Though some of the Wolfpacks’ linemen commits have a higher ceiling than Reagan, he is the most ready for college action as a true freshman. Reagan plays with very solid fundamentals, possesses excellent drive blocking skills and uses his hands very well when engaged with a defender.
Virginia – LB LaChaston Smith (South Iredell HS – Statesville, NC)
The Cavaliers lose Steve Greer and LaRoy Reynolds to graduation, which will allow at least one true freshman linebacker to see some playing time on defense. Smith is an outstanding athlete who excelled on both sides of the football in high school. Enrolling early in Charlottesville, Smith will be able to focus on his development as a linebacker. He is a notoriously hard worker who will take advantage of his head start with the program.
Virginia Tech – LB Holland Fisher (Manchester HS – Midlothian VA)
Returning only one starter at linebacker, the Hokies could certainly use some help from a guy like Fisher. One of Virginia Tech’s most highly-regarded recruits, Fisher is an outstanding athlete who won’t be overwhelmed by the speed of the college game. Fisher is also one of the best linebackers in the country at shedding blocks, which will prove to be very useful playing the ACC. He also has experience playing each linebacker position.
Wake Forest – LB Wendell Dunn (Miami Palmetto Senior HS – Miami, FL)
Once again, an ACC team is in need of immediate help at linebacker. Wake Forest currently has verbal commitments from six outside linebacker for the class of 2013, which goes to show how desperately the Demon Deacons need instant production. Although still working to add weight to his frame, Dunn is a rangy athlete who can make plays from sideline to sideline. His speed will come in handy in Wake Forest’s 3-4 scheme, as he can be used as a pass rusher off of the edge.