ACC: Each team's biggest Early Signing Period question
There are just six weeks until the Early Signing Period, and all of the teams in the ACC still have issues to resolve before then. Here's a look at the biggest question for each ACC team heading into the Early Signing Period.
Boston College: Will the Eagles hold on to Tommy Eichenberg?
The Clemson game this weekend is the biggest game Boston College has had at home in years. "College Gameday" is coming to Chestnut Hill, and many major recruits will be on campus for the game. The biggest question mark is Rivals250 linebacker Tommy Eichenberg. The Boston College commit has been on board with the Eagles since late June, but has reportedly been waffling on his commitment. Ohio State and Michigan are trying to get him to flip, but he has yet to make a drastic move.
Clemson: What’s going to happen with Webb and Crouch?
The Tigers are in the top 5 of the overall team rankings and have essentially wrapped up the ACC recruiting crown already, but commitments from their two biggest remaining targets could move them even further up the overall team rankings. The Tigers just hosted five-star center Clay Webb for the second time in three weeks, and Clemson has a great chance to steal him away from the likes of Georgia, Alabama and Auburn. Five-star Quavaris Crouch will be deciding between Clemson and Michigan. He just finished an official visit to Michigan, and has one to Clemson coming up in a few weeks. This one will go down to the wire.
Duke: Will David Cutcliffe take a quarterback or running back in this class?
The Blue Devils just keep humming along with head coach David Cutcliffe, and this solid class will help that trend continue. The two glaring omissions in this recruiting class right now are quarterback and running back. Coach Cutcliffe is a quarterback guru, so it is a little surprising not to see one in this class. As for running back, look for the Blue Devils to add one or two by the time everything is finalized.
Florida State: How will the rocky season affect the class?
FSU currently sits on the fringe of the top 15 in the Rivals team rankings and has plenty of room to climb higher by Signing Day. That said, it now looks as though FSU will be scrambling for bowl eligibility, as the Seminoles sit at 4-5 and need to win two of their final three games to reach the postseason. You never know how much a rough season will impact a recruiting class, but the picture should start to clear up in the weeks ahead.
Players such as five-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux are still considering the Seminoles, but most probably expected a better debut season from head coach Willie Taggart. FSU will be one to watch in the month ahead, and how it finishes its class will say a lot about recruits’ perception of Taggert’s program.
Georgia Tech: Will the Yellow Jackets get a pass rusher?
Georgia Tech wants to finish out this recruiting class with a good pass rusher and there are a couple in-state targets they really want. One of them is recent Louisville decommit Kristian Varner. The coaching staff at Georgia Tech never stopped recruiting him, and that could end up paying dividends. Another pass rusher to keep an eye on is Tomari Fox. His brother plays for North Carolina, and if things continue to head south in Chapel Hill it could mean good news for Georgia Tech.
Louisville: Can the Cardinals stop the bleeding?
It’s hard times right now for Louisville. This season is lost and a lot of people don’t expect Bobby Petrino to be back next season. With that in mind, the Cardinals have been losing commitments left and right. Can this coaching staff get it together and stop the decommitments? That will depend on what happens on the field and if the next coach is former Louisville star Jeff Brohm, like many people around the program want.
Miami: Can the Hurricanes fend off Georgia for Tyrique Stevenson?
Rivals100 defensive back Tyrique Stevenson will announce his commitment during the Early Signing Period, and he seems to be down to Georgia and Miami (with Auburn also lightly in the mix). Stevenson has said in the past that his mother prefers him to attend college close to his Miami-Dade County home, but he seems to have backed off that talking point a bit in recent weeks.
Georgia is considered the favorite here, but the Hurricanes have made a push, going as far as to hold a preseason practice at the four-star prospect’s high school. The Hurricanes have ground to make up, sure, but they also have time to do it. Stevenson’s recruitment may get even more interesting as we head down the homestretch.
North Carolina: Will in-state recruiting pick up?
After another year of injuries coupled with suspensions, this is another lost season for the Tar Heels, and that is reflected in this recruiting class. North Carolina needs more of an in-state presence and they have no commitments from defensive linemen.
Defensive tackle Jaden McKenzie is very interested in the Tar Heels and he addresses both of these issues. The Wake Forest, N.C., standout has always had interest in the Tar Heels and has visited the nearby campus many times.
NC State: Can the Wolfpack find another defensive back?
About a month ago J.R. Walker surprised everybody by picking Virginia Tech over NC State. The Wolfpack were counting on him finishing out their defensive back recruiting class this year, but now they are looking for somebody else to fill his spot. Don’t be surprised if NC State ends up taking another linebacker as well.
Pittsburgh: Where are the offensive playmakers?
Remember that flurry of commitments Pitt got in June? The Panthers have only landed four commitments since then, and this class is still lacking in offensive firepower. One running back, one wide receiver and one tight end (that could end up as an offensive tackle) are all the offensive skill commitments Pittsburgh holds right now. The Panthers do like to pick up commitments in bunches, so look for Pat Narduzzi and his squad to grab a handful of explosive offensive athletes heading into the signing period.
Syracuse: Is there a big finish ahead for the Orange?
Dino Babers has guided Syracuse to an impressive season so far, but the results on the recruiting trail have been lackluster. There are some transfer prospects Syracuse is targeting, the biggest of which is former Michigan lineman James Hudson. Syracuse will be looking to add a couple wide receivers, a few linebackers and at least two running backs.
Virginia: How many commits do the Cavs sign in the early period?
Bronco Mendenhall and his staff have put together the best recruiting class Virginia has seen since 2012. Now the challenge is to make sure all of these players sign in the Early Signing Period. There will surely be a couple February holdouts, but getting this talented group to sign on the dotted line is vital to the coaching staff’s efforts to build a solid base for this program. Their efforts so far put them in contention for the ACC Coastal Division, but this class will keep the program on an upward trajectory.
Virginia Tech: How will the DL haul turn out for this recruiting class?
The Hokies hold commitments from three defensive linemen: Mario Kendricks, Norell Pollard and Brandon Dorlus, and the coaching staff wants to add at least one more. Junior college targets Kuony Deng and Nick Figueroa are at the top of Virginia Tech’s wish list here, but the Hokies need to tend to their own flock as well. Dorlus, a Florida native, recently added an offer from the Gators and they also have a need for defensive linemen.
Wake Forest: Can the Demon Deacons hold on to their major commitments?
Highly rated prospects committed to teams having subpar seasons are always ones to watch as the recruiting cycle nears its end. Receivers Nolan Groulx, a Rivals100 prospect, and Donavon Greene, a four-star prospect, had plenty of choices prior to their commitments to Wake Forest, but some other teams could come calling as other recruits around the country continue committing. Also keep an eye out for Wake Forest to add another commitment or two on the offensive line.