football Edit

ACC Breakdown: Players exceeding recruiting rankings

Recruiting evaluations are, like the NFL Draft process, an inexact science. It isn’t uncommon for players to play better than their recruiting rating indicated. Here are some ACC players that are out-performing their recruiting ranking.




Recruitment: Duke and Miami were the top contenders for Landry along with Boston College. They even worked to try to flip him after committing in April of his junior year.

College: Boston College’s defense was dominant last year but isn’t having a great 2016 campaign. Landry is one of the few bright spots and he’s garnered plenty of national attention. He is tied for third in sacks among FBS players and is rising up draft boards.

CLEMSON: Mike Williams

Recruitment: South Carolina and Clemson battled for Williams but the Tigers won his commitment in July before his senior season. Alabama, Notre Dame, Tennessee and many others were also targeting the tall receiver.

College: Clemson’s offense is one of the most feared units in the NCAA and Williams is a big part of what makes the Tigers’ offense so hard to stop. The 6-foot-3 wide receiver has come back stronger than ever after sustaining a scary neck injury last season and is now one of the top NFL prospects at his position. Williams has more than 500 receiving yards so far this season and has four touchdowns among his 39 receptions.

DUKE: Breon Borders

Recruitment: Duke was Border’s longtime favorite but he didn’t get an offer from the Blue Devils until the spring of his junior season. He committed shortly after, despite getting some interest from Clemson and Virginia Tech.

College: Cornerbacks that are at least 6 feet tall garner a lot of attention from NFL scouts and they can really shoot up draft boards if they are productive. Borders has been very productive this season. He leads the ACC is passes defended and has dropped a few easy interceptions so he could have more than just the two that he has caught.


Recruitment: Wilson had favored Florida State from the beginning of his recruitment until the end. Oklahoma State and West Virginia rounded out his top three before he committed in June before his senior year.

College: Just a three-star out of high school, Wilson made a big impact his sophomore year, finishing third on the team in receptions. As a junior he finished second on the team in receptions by one catch and so far this year he has the second most catches, trailing the top spot by two catches. Looking back at the highly rated prospects Wilson has outperformed landed him on this list. Since Wilson signed with the Seminoles in the 2013 class, Florida State has signed three five-star receivers, one Rivals100 receiver, two Rivals250 receivers, and one four-star receiver from outside the Rivals250. Former five-star Travis Rudolph has performed just as well or slightly better than Wilson.

GEORGIA TECH: Dedrick Mills

Recruitment: Mills was the top B-back target for Georgia Tech and he was a key addition to Paul Johnson’s team. He chose Georgia Tech over Auburn, Arkansas and South Carolina, committing during an unofficial visit in May of his junior year.

College: Georgia Tech is a run-heavy team and leans on Mills. He leads the team in rushing attempts, rushing yards and total touchdowns. He is also in some elite company when looking at where he ranks among the ACC’s best. Mills is second in the ACC in scoring, behind Lamar Jackson, and is averaging nearly 75 yards per game.

LOUISVILLE: Lamar Jackson

Recruitment: Louisville grabbed Jackson’s commitment before his senior season but he took official visits to Mississippi State, Nebraska, and Florida. He thought about flipping to Florida but signed with the Cardinals instead.

College: Jackson started eight of the 12 games he appeared in during his freshman year and finished second for the ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year. As a sophomore he amassed more than 1,600 yards passing, more than 700 yards rushing, and scoring 19 total touchdowns. Jackson’s understanding of the Louisville offense improved by leaps and bounds in the offseason and now he leads the ACC in total offense, rushing, scoring, yards per completion, and a few other major categories. He is also the current favorite to win the Heisman trophy.

MIAMI: Ahmmon Richards

Recruitment: Richards announced his commitment to Miami on National Signing Day. Alabama and Auburn were his other two finalists but the Canes were the heavy favorites.

College: Just a freshman, Richards has been the deep threat Miami needed. He is averaging 21.9 yards per catch, tops in the ACC and eighth among FBS receivers. Richards, who also leads the team in receiving yards, is providing a quick-strike element to the Miami offense it has been missing.

N.C. STATE: Josh Jones

Recruitment: Despite hailing from Michigan, N.C. State landed Jones’ commitment a few days before National Signing Day. He took official visits to Illinois, Pittsburgh and Colorado, but announced his commitment to the Wolfpack the day after finishing an official visit to N.C. State

College: Jones started the first game of his redshirt freshman season and has started all but six games during that span. He finished with 56 tackles that freshman season and 57 tackles at the end of his sophomore season. Jones now leads N.C. State in tackles by a wide margin and is tied for the team lead in interceptions and pass breakups.


Recruitment: Switzer was a phenom in West Virginia, a state that historically doesn’t produce a ton of talent, so it was a bit surprising that the Mountaineers didn’t push hard for Switzer early in the recruiting process. He ended up picking the Tar Heels in late March of his junior year.

College: North Carolina’s offense has been perfect for Switzer. He leads the team in receptions and receiving yards this season and has been a living up to the hype that was built before the season. Switzer’s NFL potential is limited because of his size, but teams will certainly give him a shot to prove himself.


Recruitment: Price signed with Ohio State out of high school but got a release from his National Letter of Intent after Jim Tressel resigned. He ended up at Pittsburgh and never looked back.

College: Offenses have been having major problems blocking Price this season. He currently leads the nation in sacks, is third in tackles for a loss, and is tied for 10th in forced fumbles. Last season Price was very productive and landed a spot on the All-ACC First Team.

SYRACUSE: Eric Dungey

Recruitment: Syracuse was the biggest offer Dungey had when he committed around Thanksgiving during his senior year. Yale, UNLV, Nevada, Colorado State and Air Force also offered but he decided to head east to Syracuse.

College: Dungey has been extremely productive in Dino Babers’ offense. He leads the ACC in passing yards and trails only Lamar Jackson in total yards. Dungey is also in the top 25 in the NCAA in completion percentage and passing touchdowns. Only a sophomore, look for Dungey to garner more national attention as his career progresses.

VIRGINIA: Olamide Zaccheaus

Recruitment: Virginia was a relatively early offer for Zaccheaus. Pittsburgh, Miami, Temple and a few others offered but the academics and environment at Virginia were too much for him to turn down.

College: Zaccheaus comes from a powerhouse program in Philadelphia and was ready to step into a big role at Virginia early in his career. As a sophomore, he currently leads the Cavaliers in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Zaccheaus, who is tied for fourth in the ACC in receiving touchdowns, brings an explosive open field options to Virginia’s offense.


Recruitment: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke and Wisconsin were Stroman’s biggest offers but the Hokies have always done well in that part of northern Virginia. Quarterback and wide receiver were Stroman’s main positions in high school so it was difficult to evaluate him as a defensive back.

College: Stroman has developed nicely as a defensive back and has become one of the best players on an impressive Virginia Tech defensive squad. His three interceptions ranks fourth in the ACC and he has defended the second-most passes in the ACC. The former two-star has also been a major asset in the return game. He is one of four ACC players to return a punt for a touchdown and averages more than 10 yards per punt return.

WAKE FOREST: Jessie Bates

Recruitment: Bates, an Indiana native, held offers from the Hoosiers, Iowa, Wake Forest and Toledo. He took official visits to Toledo and Wake Forest before committing to the Demon Deacons a few days before National Signing Day.

College: Wake Forest is having an above-average season so far and most of the credit should go to its defense. Bates is a key player for the Demon Deacons and his three interceptions (tied for second in the ACC) helped in a big way. He returned one of those interceptions 55 yards for a touchdown. Bates also leads the team in tackles.