ACC Spotlight: Five big late signing period questions
While the Early Signing Period dominates the late signing period from an action and drama standpoint now, there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered heading into the late signing period, which kicks off Feb. 6. Here are five big questions to answer out of the ACC.
1. CAN FSU FINISH THE CYCLE ON A HIGH NOTE?
It has been a less-than-inspiring winter in Tallahassee. The Seminoles are coming off a 5-7 season that ended the program’s 36-year postseason appearance streak. And while they certainly got some good news during the Early Signing Period, it was far less than ideal. There’s no need to rehash the shortcomings, as FSU fans are aware of the list of things that have not gone the Seminoles’ way.
What’s important now is that the ship rights itself. FSU must hang on to committed-but-unsigned prospects Nick Cross, Brendan Gant and Travis Jay, all of whom seem likely to stay put. The Seminoles also must land a quarterback, as the program’s current depth at the position is less than inspiring, to say the least. Louisiana-based quarterback Lance Legendre is set to visit Tallahassee this weekend and has become a priority for the staff.
2. CAN MANNY DIAZ LAND SOME OF FLORIDA'S BEST?
Sudden coaching changes have a way of absolutely dooming recruiting classes, but the one at Miami has a chance to be different. The Hurricanes' hire of Manny Diaz, who served as the program’s defensive coordinator last season, provides some continuation.
It also may allow UM to re-involve itself with four-star defensive end Khris Bogle, who listed Miami as a longtime leader before committing to Alabama during the coaching change. Diaz must also convince four-star athlete Mark-Antony Richards, a Miami legacy, to stay home despite a mountain of interest from other power programs.
3. WILL NORTH CAROLINA SURPASS NC STATE IN TEAM RANKINGS?
NC State got some bad news earlier this week with the decommitment of four-star running back Jamious Griffin, but the Wolfpack are still No. 4 in the ACC team rankings. North Carolina sits at No. 6 and is trying to finish out Mack Brown’s first recruiting class on a high note. But passing NC State could be a tall order.
The Tar Heels would need three or four commitments from their remaining targets to (barely) pass their crosstown rivals in the team rankings. North Carolina fans need to pay attention to defensive lineman Wisdom Asaboro. The Tar Heels have a better chance of reeling in his commitment than the rest of their targets. Fast-rising prospects Mike Lockhart, a defensive lineman out of Alabama, and Eugene Asante, a linebacker out of Virginia, are both high on North Carolina. Keep an eye on recent Georgia Tech recommit Larry Dowdy as a potential late addition as well.
NC State is trying to finish out this recruiting class with a few transfer targets and one or two high school recruits. Having just lost Griffin, one of its highest-rated commits, expect the Wolfpack to try to replace the running back. Keep an eye on in-state prospect Charles Mincy Jr. here. NC State is also targeting Baylor commit Cecil Powell, a defensive back out of Florida. The Wolfpack are likely to add transfers at wide receiver and on the offensive line.
4. WILL CLEMSON ADD DEPTH AT RUNNING BACK?
Clemson’s recruiting class is sitting pretty at No. 8 in the nation. The Tigers are nearly finished with the 2019 class, but they have one more major target to reel in. Rivals100 athlete Jerrion Ealy is a former Ole Miss commit, but is now considered a Clemson lean despite his impending official visit to Ole Miss this weekend. Mississippi State is very much in the mix as well, but the biggest twist in this recruitment will come after Ealy actually signs his National Letter of Intent. Ealy is projected as a high first-round pick in the MLB Draft, and there is a very good chance he chooses that career path rather than playing college football. Clemson is looking into signing another running back to provide additional depth at the position. The Tigers just offered in-state running back Michel Dukes earlier this week, so keep an eye out for developments in his recruitment.
5. HOW WILL LOUISVILLE FILL THIS CLASS?
Scott Satterfield took over the Louisville program in early December and only signed four prospects in the Early Signing Period. Allen Smith and Renato Brown are verbally committed to Louisville, but there is still a lot of work to be done to fill out this class. With fewer commits than any other Power Five program, Louisville has a list of targets that includes junior college prospects and potential transfers.
As for the high school seniors that Louisville is recruiting, tight end Tyler Devera, a former Rutgers commit, is taking an official visit to Louisville this weekend. Defensive end Ja’Darien Boykin is also taking an official visit to Louisville this weekend and is one of the highest-rated prospects left on Louisville’s board.
The Cardinals are trying to make inroads with linebackers Eugene Asante, Monty Montgomery and Drew Fowler. Make sure to track the recruitments of Dez Melton, Latrell Jean, Cornelius Evans and Joshua Black. These players also have visits to Louisville coming up, and the Cardinals are in solid position with each.