football Edit

ACC Spotlight: Looking ahead to National Signing Day

National Signing Day is a week away and, even though the Early Signing Period stole some of the excitement, there are still a lot of impact players on the market. Here's a look at where things stand in the ACC and which teams could make waves with big additions.

NSD Spotlights: Big Ten | SEC

CLASS OF '18 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | State | Position | JUCO | ACC Team Rankings

Biggest opportunity: Clemson

Jutsyn Ross
Jutsyn Ross (Chad Simmons)

Clemson is taking a smaller class this year but there are a couple impact players left on its board that could alter the recruiting rankings and recruiting landscape across the country. The biggest name is five-star Jutsyn Ross. Clemson has been battling Alabama for months for the Alabama native and the Tigers are in good position. The addition of Ross to Clemson's roster would be huge but keeping him away from the Crimson Tide might be even bigger in the long run.

The second major prospect Clemson has a good chance of landing is Rivals100 defensive back Mario Goodrich. LSU and Georgia both received official visits but it seems as if LSU is Clemson's biggest threat to landing Goodrich's commitment.

Rivals100 defensive back Leon O'Neal and Rivals100 Florida offensive line commit Richard Gouraige are also heavily considering Clemson. The Tigers flexed their muscles back in December by snatching five-star Jackson Carman out from under Ohio State's nose. Now they'll try to do the same to Texas A&M and Oklahoma with O'Neal and Florida with Gouraige.

Biggest targets remaining

Patrick Surtain
Patrick Surtain (Nick Lucero/

ACC schools have a lot of irons in the fire, not including Ross, Goodrich, O'Neal and Gouraige. Five-star defensive back Patrick Surtain is considering Clemson but it seems as if LSU and Alabama are the top two contenders there. Surtain's teammate, five-star Tyson Campbell, has essentially boiled his recruitment down to Miami and Georgia but Tennessee is in the mix.

A pair of former highly-rated commits could end up in the ACC. Rivals100 wide receiver Warren Thompson, a former Oregon commit, seems like a shoe-in at Florida State but South Carolina and Tennessee are putting pressure on the Noles. Previously committed to USC, Rivals250 running back Mychale Salahuddin just took official visits to Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

Taiyon Palmer has been one of the most heavily recruited 2018 prospect since the Early Signing Period, adding offers from Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Clemson and Notre Dame among others. He will commit on National Signing Day but narrowed his list to N.C. State, Tennessee and Nebraska. The Wolfpack have been considered the top contender for the former Duke commit, but the Vols and Cornhuskers have made up ground.

Most comfortable: Virginia Tech

Cam Goode
Cam Goode (Nick Lucero/

The Hokies signed 23 of their 24 commitments during the Early Signing Period and Cam Goode, the lone verbal commit, will sign with them on National Signing Day. Rivals100 offensive lineman Rasheed Walker, Rivals250 linebacker Dax Hollifield, four-star Tennessee commit Anthony Grant, three-star Jaevon Becton and three-star Jamarcus Chatman are Virginia Tech's remaining targets but right now it looks as if they will probably land no more than two out of this bunch.

Becton is a virtual lock while Walker and Hollifield seem to be leaning toward other schools. The Hokies could end up with either Chatman or Grant. All in all, Virginia Tech and its fans should feel pretty satisfied with the 2018 haul - eight four-stars, additions at key positions, depth where needed and what looks like a top 25 recruiting class.

Gaining momentum: Florida State

Warren Thompson
Warren Thompson (Chad Simmons)

Some would call the fact that FSU has just seven signed players a problem. Florida State’s new coaching staff, on the other hand, sees it as an opportunity to close strong. The Seminoles don’t hurt for space to move down the stretch, as they hope to find a quarterback and a number of other prospects in the days leading into National Signing Day.

This weekend, FSU will attempt to seal the deal with Rivals100 wide receiver Warren Thompson and his two teammates committed, defensive end Malcom Lamar and linebacker James Miller.

The Seminoles recently landed the commitment of four-star defensive end Dennis Briggs, which Willie Taggart and company hope is the start of a blistering finish. Expect to see FSU shoot up the recruiting rankings, in which it currently ranks 21st. The question of how far it will climb.

Losing momentum: Duke

David Cutcliffe
David Cutcliffe (USA Today Sports)

The Blue Devils didn't have the season they wanted last year, suffered some setbacks on the recruiting trail and are now dead last in the ACC team rankings. Duke hasn't finished lower than No. 62 in the overall team rankings since 2015 and right now it sits at No. 65. The good news is that Duke only has 15 players in this recruiting class right now so, if it can successfully turn things around, it will likely be taking a few more commitments and its recruiting ranking should rise a bit.

Conference champion: Miami

Mark Richt
Mark Richt (Getty Images)

Miami should coast to an ACC recruiting title, as it has 19 members of its impressive 2018 class already signed. Clemson, which currently ranks second in the league, won’t have the numbers to catch the Hurricanes. Instead, UM looks like a lock to haul in the league’s top class for the first time since 2008, when it finished fifth in the overall rankings.

Miami’s class is headlined by five-star running back Lorenzo Lingard and five-star wide receiver Mark Pope. UM’s monster haul is a credit to the work head coach Mark Richt and staff have been able to do in the state and larger region, as the perception of the Miami program has shifted dramatically over the past two years. Success tends to compound in college football, and this is an example of such an occasion. Miami will likely add to its class, but it won’t need to do much, if anything, in order to take home the conference crown.

Lorenzo Lingard
Lorenzo Lingard