The Five Most Underrated ACC Recruits
By Matthew Osborne
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Florida State commit Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield may be the fastest player in the 2013 class.
We are now just one week away from National Signing Day, and teams are making their final push to sure up the future of their respective programs.
As we recently did in the SEC, let’s take a look at the five most underrated prospects in the ACC for the class of 2013.
WR Ryan Switzer (North Carolina)
Switzer is not the tallest receiver in the world, but there is no arguing with his production. All you need to know about Switzer’s athleticism can be seen in the 45 touchdowns for which he was responsible as a junior. Standing just 5-9, Switzer possesses elite acceleration and agility, making him an absolute nightmare in the open field. He played a significant amount of running back in high school, but is a perfect fit in the slot for Larry Fedora’s spread offense. He is also a prime candidate to return punts and kicks early in his career. While quickness is the name of Switzer’s game, he is also a very good route runner and he has shown the ability to defeat press coverage with a plethora of crafty release techniques.
ATH Zach Bradshaw (Virginia)
A former Penn State verbal commitment, Bradshaw is one of the most versatile athletes in the 2013 class. Having played a myriad of positions at the high school level, Bradshaw will most likely settle in at either outside linebacker or wide receiver in Charlottesville. Despite his current 205-pound frame, Bradshaw is best suited to become a star player on the defensive side of the football. A rangy athlete with plenty of room to add solid weight to his frame, Bradshaw has the ability to make plays sideline to sideline and is very good thwarting off potential blockers by using his hands. Having played a number of positions in high school, it is safe to assume that his technique and instincts at linebacker will improve exponentially once he finds his permanent position. He might not be an immediate contributor at Virginia, but he has the potential to become a very good player for the Cavaliers.
WR Levonte “Kermit” Whitfield (Florida State)
Whitfield very well may be the fastest player in the entire 2013 class. The cousin of current Florida State player Marvin Bracy - who was the fastest player in last year’s class - Whitfield has been clocked at a 6.32 in the 60 meter dash. Whitefield’s ranking suffers slightly due to the fact that he stands just 5-8, but you simply can’t teach someone to run with the explosiveness which he possesses. He still has plenty of room to improve his strength and his route running skills, but there is a premium on fast-twitch athletes who can make plays in the open field. Whitfield will factor into the rotation at wide receiver at some point in Tallahassee, but expect him to be a game-changer on special teams from day one.
S Jadar Johnson (Clemson)
Johnson has been a very productive player on the offensive side of the ball at the high school level, but his more natural home will come at the safety position. A long-strider with great range, Johnson is very good at anticipating routes and reading the quarterback’s eyes. He also possesses some of the best ball skills that you will find out of a future defensive player. Johnson excels at high-pointing the football in the air and uses his strong hands to come away with tough catches in traffic. Although his foot quickness and hip bend are areas for improvement, he has displayed the ability to change direction at the receiver position, and that attribute should translate over nicely to defense once he tweaks his technique.
QB Bucky Hodges (Virginia Tech)
Hodges is easily the most intriguing prospect in the ACC for the class of 2013. At 6-6, 230 pounds, he possesses many of the same running skills from the quarterback position as Cam Newton. Clocked at a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash, he has the pure speed and elusiveness to make plays outside the pocket, while still having the power to bull over defenders in short yardage situations. He has a strong arm, although his throwing motion is rather unorthodox. The good news is that he has a very quick release for a quarterback of his stature and he generally makes smart decisions with the football. Hodges’ throwing motion can also be a negative, though, as he frequently becomes inaccurate when throwing downfield. With some solid coaching, he has a very high ceiling while in Blacksburg.