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ACC Spotlight: The must-have 2019 prospects for each program

Devyn Ford
Devyn Ford (Elk Baiter)

For a college football team to have success they need to sign the players they have to have. Today we take a look at the “can’t-miss” prospect for each ACC team.

RELATED: Must-have prospects for SEC teams | Big Ten must-haves

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team



The 2019 class in New England is better than most years, and Boston College will do its best to capitalize on all the local talent. But the guy Boston College needs to land is DiCosmo. The defensive end is a Boston College legacy and is the type of player Boston College has done a great job of developing into stars and high draft picks. There are plenty of other suitors for DiCosmo, but Boston College has already done a good job of standing out among the rest.


There are plenty of players that Clemson would like to have - and the Tigers do have a need at safety - but Crouch falls into the “can’t-miss” category for Clemson. It would be awfully impressive for the Tigers to land the No. 1 player in the Rivals100 in back-to-back years (something that has never happened), and Clemson has a very good chance of doing so. If Crouch were to play running back, he would add an element of power to the Clemson running game that hasn’t been present for a long time. If Crouch ended up on the defensive side of the ball, it would be easy to see how he could be a star among the stars of the defensive front because of his versatility and nose for the ball.


Duke is off to a very nice start in the 2019 recruiting cycle and the Blue Devils just landed three of their top targets over the weekend. Over the remaining portion of the recruiting cycle, the Blue Devils will focus much of their efforts on signing the Ekwonu brothers. Osita, a linebacker, exploded with major offers earlier this year. He was interested in Duke prior to getting those offers and continues to like what Duke has to offer. Ikem, a lineman, doesn’t hold an offer just yet, but one could be just around the corner after visiting the Durham campus over the weekend with his brother.


A prospect flirting with five-star status, Dent is committed to the Seminoles but will likely spend the coming months taking visits and weighing his options. That means FSU will need to protect its kill until National Signing Day. Dent has the potential to become new head coach Willie Taggart’s first true marquee recruit, and pulling him out of South Florida makes his commitment extra special when you consider that Miami is currently dominating the area. Dent was once committed to the Hurricanes, so having FSU lock him up would be especially sweet for Seminoles fans.


Georgia Tech is prioritizing offensive linemen such as Dylan McMahon in this recruiting cycle but the Yellow Jackets have to land Griffin. The in-state back’s brother, JaQuon Griffin, just signed with Georgia Tech in the 2018 class and the Yellow Jackets really want to have his brother join the team in this cycle. NC State, South Carolina, Ole Miss, West Virginia and a few other major schools have offered, so the Yellow Jackets have their work cut out for them.


A four-star quarterback, Wright attends high school in Louisville’s backyard. He’s a priority target for the Cardinals, and the fact that he’s a standout at a premium position makes him even more important. Wright is coached by former Louisville quarterback Stefan LeFors, which could give the program an extra boost. That said, Bobby Petrino will need all the help he can get to hold off other major programs that are already lining up to take a swing at landing the celebrated prospect. This is the kind of recruiting battle Louisville needs to win in order to take the next step in its resurgence.


This should be a slam dunk for the Hurricanes. Richards’ older brother, Ahmmon, is a standout wide receiver for UM and should provide plenty of allure for the standout running back. Miami has become an absolute force in South Florida recruiting as of late, so it’s not a stretch to imagine Richards as a lock. That said, plenty of programs are lining up to take a shot at the Rivals100 running back. Richards alone won’t make or break Miami’s class but letting him escape the area with his family lineage would be a hiccup in the program’s recruiting momentum.


North Carolina a lot of needs in the 2019 class and Clark should be at the top of that list. He has visited the Chapel Hill campus a number of times and he is very close to the coaching staff. There are a lot of good defensive linemen in North Carolina, but Clark seems to want to stay close to home more than the others. Defensive tackle is a position of need for the Tar Heels.


The Wolfpack are trying to capitalize on the momentum from last season by landing some big-time prospects in the 2019 class. Defensive lineman Savion Jackson is at or near the top of the wish list, but NC State can’t miss on Thomas. The local linebacker is very close with a lot of NC State players and coaches, but the two most important relationships he has are with two current NC State linebackers: his brother, Thayer, and 2018 signee Payton Wilson. It would surprise most people if the younger Thomas didn’t end up with NC State.


It’s a down year in Pennsylvania, but the Panthers still have some important in-state targets they need to make sure they sign. Kristofic is a Pittsburgh legacy and is more familiar than most with the local team. The Panthers want to reload with big, young offensive linemen and Kristofic has been very receptive to their overtures so far. Notre Dame, Ohio State and many others are also coming after Kristofic, so Pittsburgh will need to do everything it can to keep him from going far.


For the most part, Syracuse’s opponents scored with ease last season, and every Power Five team the Orange faced scored at least 24 points. It’s obvious Syracuse needs to get better on defense and don’t need to look any further than Isaac. The Orange need to land a commitment from the Brooklyn native, but there is stiff competition from Tennessee, LSU, Michigan, Penn State, Texas A&M and many others.


Bronco Mendenhall and his staff haven’t done a great job of recruiting in-state talent since they arrived at Virginia, but that should change this year, beginning with Smiley. Smiley looks up to former UVA defensive tackle Andrew Brown, and they are both from the same area. Defensive tackle is a major position of need for Virginia and its staff has invested a lot of time and energy recruiting Smiley, so the Cavaliers need to make sure he ends up in Charlottesville.


The Hokies have been clicking on the recruiting trail and they hope to really hit the next gear this season. The 2019 class in Virginia is pretty good, with players such as Rivals100 defensive end Brandon Smith and multiple Rivals250 defensive backs, but the Hokies are all in on five-star Ford. The top-rated running back in the Rivals100 has Virginia Tech in his top group, along with Penn State and Ohio State. But Virginia Tech has seen some increased interest from Ford over the past month or so.


The Demon Deacons are dying for some defensive ends in this recruiting class. In fact, Wake Forest has extended more offers to defensive ends than all the other position groups. There isn’t necessarily one guy to call a “can’t-miss” player for Wake Forest but defensive ends such as Shamar McCollum, Christian Rorie and Dorceus could all be near the top of Wake Forest’s wish list. The Demon Deacons already have three commitments, and one of them, Isaiah Chaney, is a defensive end, but look for Wake Forest to take a few more.