ACC Spotlight: Grading the 2022 class
With National Signing Day in the books, we take a look at how each team in the Power Five conferences performed and give them a grade. Today, we move to the ACC.
MORE NSD: Grading the SEC classes | Grading the Big 12 classes | Grading the Pac-12 classes | Biggest stings | Texas A&M wins 2022 recruiting title | The Gorney Awards | Recruiter of the Year | Winners and losers
ONE-ON-ONE COACH INTERVIEWS: Oklahoma's Brent Venables | Rutgers' Greg Schiano | Clemson's Dabo Swinney | Vanderbilt's Clark Lea | Illinois' Bret Bielema | West Virginia's Neal Brown | Virginia's Tony Elliott | Indiana's Tom Allen | Utah's Kyle Whittingham | South Carolina's Shane Beamer | Arizona's Jedd Fisch | Stanford's David Shaw | Notre Dame's Marcus Freeman | Florida State's Mike Norvell | Michigan State's Mel Tucker | Missouri's Eli Drinkwitz
BOSTON COLLEGE (No. 5 ACC, No. 36 overall)
Analysis: The closing of the 2022 recruiting cycle marks the first time Boston College has had back-to-back top-40 recruiting classes since the 2003-04 cycles. Jeff Hafley and his staff signed four-stars such as defensive back Sione Hala from California and in-state receiver Joseph Griffin. Along with Griffin, expect tight end Matt Ragan to have a very solid career and possibly prove to be underrated as a recruit.
In a very uncommon move for Boston College, the Eagles only signed two offensive linemen but both Jack Funke and Jude Bowry have a ton of potential and could end up making their rankings look foolish.
Defensively, Boston College went heavy on the defensive front, signing seven players across the defensive line and linebacker corps. They're also bringing in three other defensive backs with Hala.
CLEMSON (No. 1 ACC, No. 10 overall)
Analysis: Is this the type of recruiting class we've come to expect from Clemson? No, but there is still a ton of talent and, with the additions of Rivals250 linebacker TJ Dudley, four-star Caden Story, and three-star Keith Adams Jr. on signing day, the Tigers still ended up with a top-10 class.
Dabo Swinney has led his team to five consecutive top-10 recruiting classes and this one should help in a number of areas. First off, Cade Klubnik, the top-ranked quarterback in the 2022 class, should immediately push D.J. Uiagalelei in practice and both of them will have some impressive receivers to throw to in Rivals250 duo Antonio Williams and Adam Randall, both in-state prospects.
Defensive backs Jeadyn Lukus, Toriano Pride and Sherrod Covil will help reload the secondary while offensive linemen Blake Miller and Collin Sadler should provide some reinforcements for the offensive line. Despite the decommitments after Brent Venables left for Oklahoma, this is still a very good class.
DUKE (No. 8 ACC, No. 50 overall)
Analysis: Mike Elko and his staff should be really happy about this recruiting class given the short period of time they had to put everything together. Four-star defensive end Vincent Anthony has a very bright future and Elko knows how to maximize defensive ends with his skill set. Wesley Williams, a three-star, will join Anthony on the defensive line.
The Blue Devils received good news on National Signing Day when highly regarded three-star running back Travis Bates signed with Duke. He's one of three running backs to sign with Duke in this cycle. This isn't a huge class but there should be plenty of optimism in Durham that Elko and his staff are bringing in an initial recruiting class that ranks as Duke's best in two years.
FLORIDA STATE (No. 3 ACC, No. 20 overall)
Analysis: Most people are going to remember this Florida State class as the one Travis Hunter used to be a part of but Sam McCall, Julian Armella and Azareyeh Thomas are going to try to change that. Those three signees are all ranked inside the top 70 of the Rivals250, tying North Carolina for the most in the ACC.
The offensive line was a major focus of this recruiting class. Led by Armella and four-star Qaeshon Sapp, Florida State signed five offensive linemen, much to the delight of Rivals250 quarterback signee A.J. Duffy.
McCall and Thomas, who is listed as an athlete but will likely end up on the defensive side of the ball, should help lead Florida State's defensive unit with the help of four-star defensive linemen Bishop Thomas and Dante Anderson.
GEORGIA TECH (No. 9 ACC, No. 51 overall)
Analysis: The Yellow Jackets only signed 15 prospects in this recruiting class so that hurt them in the overall rankings but there are plenty of quality prospects in this group. With four-stars Tyler Gibson, Zach Pyron and Horace Lockett leading the way, this 2022 class has Georgia Tech's highest average stars per commit since the 2007 class.
LOUISVILLE (No. 7 ACC, No. 48 overall)
Analysis: Scott Satterfield and his staff may not have put together a class that ranks as highly as their past few but they are bringing in some important players. Rivals250 defensive end Popeye Williams and four-star defensive end Selah Brown could see the field very early in their career.
Rivals250 receiver Devaughn Mortimer is a big-time addition and his speed should give the offense a jolt next season. Four-star Jeremiah Caldwell was a big addition for the Cardinals just before signing day and the Louisville coaching staff is expecting him to compete for playing time at safety shortly after he arrives on campus.
This is a relatively small recruiting class for Louisville but expect some big-time contributors to emerge.
MIAMI (No. 4 ACC, No. 34 overall)
Analysis: Miami may be fourth in the final ACC recruiting standings but the Hurricanes had the second-highest average stars per commit thanks to Nyjalik Kelly, Jaleel Skinner, Cyrus Moss, Ahmad Moten and TreVonte' Citizen. All of those prospects are four-stars and, except for Moten, are inside the Rivals250. They all committed to the Hurricanes after Mario Cristobal was announced as the new head coach.
Kelly, Moss and Moten are defensive linemen that could help shape the future of the Miami program while Skinner, a tight end, flipped to Miami from Alabama. Citizen, a running back, surprised many when he chose the Canes on signing day.
NC STATE (No. 10 ACC, No. 62 overall)
Analysis: Like Georgia Tech, this was a very small recruiting class for NC State but the silver lining is that this class has the highest average stars per commit the Wolfpack has ever had. Quarterback MJ Morris, a Rivals250 prospect, is the highest-ranked member of this class but he isn't the only four-star.
A lot is expected of four-star defensive end Brandon Cleveland and four-star linebacker Torren Wright. Joining Wright at linebacker is another in-state prospect Daejuan Thompson, who could be the biggest sleeper in this class. Look for players such as running back Michael Allen, offensive lineman Jacarrius Peak and defensive back Isaiah Crowell to turn out to be major contributors for the Wolfpack as well.
NORTH CAROLINA (No. 2 ACC, No. 11 overall)
Analysis: The Tar Heels have never finished first in the ACC recruiting rankings but this year they came closer than ever. That shouldn't dampen the spirits of the North Carolina faithful though. With the signings of Travis Shaw, Zach Rice and Andre Greene Jr., North Carolina signed more five-stars than the rest of the ACC combined and had more players in the top 50 of the Rivals250 than any other team in the ACC.
Defensively, North Carolina is hoping Rivals250 prospects such as defensive back Tayon Holloway, defensive end Beau Atkinson and linebackers Sebastian Cheeks and Malaki Hamrick can help solidify their units.
PITTSBURGH (No. 13 ACC, No. 71 overall)
Analysis: Pittsburgh's average stars per commit is about the same as the last few classes but this is the smallest class the Panthers have ever signed. No team with an average stars per commit over three is ranked lower in the overall rankings than Pittsburgh. If Pitt had signed two or three more prospects, its overall team ranking would have likely been inside the top 50, and possibly the top 40.
Four-stars Ryan Baer, an offensive lineman, and Samuel Okunlola, a defensive lineman, are the highest-rated players the Panthers signed this cycle. Defensive linemen Sean FitzSimmons and Jimmy Scott, both three-stars, could have big impacts during their careers. The Panthers coaching staff has high hopes for running back Jordaan Bailey, who committed, decommitted and then re-committed to Pittsburgh during the last year.
SYRACUSE (No. 12 ACC, No. 67 overall)
Analysis: Syracuse's 2022 recruiting class has a defensive flavor to it but there are playmakers on both sides of the ball that should garner headlines down the road. With four signees on the defensive line and in the secondary, look for Syracuse to have plenty of depth in both spots next year. Keep an eye on defensive end Denis Jaquez, a former Northwestern commit, to get playing time early in his career.
Reeling in former Florida defensive end commit Francois Nolton was a big get for Syracuse. Running back signee LeQuint Allen is the highest-rated player in this class. He should be able to thrive in Syracuse's offensive system.
VIRGINIA (No. 11 ACC, No. 64 overall)
Analysis: Tony Elliott's late hiring put the Cavaliers in a difficult position when it came to this recruiting class. They lost some key pieces down the stretch but there are a number of players in this class that Virginia fans will get very familiar with as the years go on. Receiver Dakota Twitty brings a lot of natural talent to the table and it should be interesting to see how the coaching staff develops his skill set. Twitty, along with fellow receiver signee Sean Wilson and tight end signee Karson Gay are all at least 6-foot-5 and should be easy targets for the Virginia quarterbacks.
Six new offensive linemen are heading to Charlottesville, a clear priority position for this recruiting class. Keep an eye on Tapuvae Amaama to potentially turn into a multi-year starter up front. This Virginia class, with just three signees on defense, is slanted heavily toward the offensive side of the ball.
VIRGINIA TECH (No. 6 ACC, No. 38 overall)
Analysis: This is a very good transition class for new head coach Brent Pry and a lot of the credit needs to go to JC Price for his efforts as interim head coach after Justin Fuente was let go. Improving and gaining depth along both lines was a priority for the Hokies in this class and they fill those needs.
Five of Virginia Tech's offensive line signees measured in around 6-foot-6 and players like Gunner Givens, Brody Meadows (a former Virginia commit), Braelin Moore and Johnny Dickson will be counted on to play big roles during their careers.
On the defensive line, longtime commits Lemar Law, Kyree Moyston and Rashaud Pernell are leaders in this class but Benji Gosnell and Keyshawn Burgos (a former Virginia commit) bring a lot of talent to the table.
WAKE FOREST (No. 14 ACC, No. 76 overall)
Analysis: The Demon Deacons are loaded with sixth-year seniors and signed a small recruiting class this year but there are few names that fans should get familiar with. Rivals250 wide receiver Wesley Grimes is a big-time playmaker and should be able to shine like Jaquarii Roberson did last season.
Running back Demond Claiborne has serious potential and could see the field the first day he's on campus. Defensive end Eli Hall has impressive athleticism for a player his size and could turn into one of the best in the conference if he develops correctly.