ACC spotlight: Which school is recruiting king at each position?
The ACC as a whole is on the rise, but a handful of teams are leading the conference to new heights. Here’s a look at the ACC teams that are recruiting each position best.
The recent recruiting success Clemson has had at the quarterback position is almost unmatched, regardless of the conference. From the 2015 class through present there have been six programs in any conference to sign at least two four-star quarterbacks in one class, but Clemson is the only one to sign one four-star and one five-star in the same recruiting cycle.
Clemson signed five-star Deshaun Watson in the 2014 class, four-star Kelly Bryant in the 2015 class, Rivals250 member Zerrick Cooper in the 2016 class, five-star Hunter Johnson and Rivals250 member Chase Brice in 2017, and No. 1 prospect Trevor Lawrence committed in the 2018 class. Florida State was in a close second with two Rivals100 members and one from the Rivals250 over the same span.
RUNNING BACK: Florida State
It’s tough to argue the FSU running back recruiting success in recent years. You don’t have to go back as far as Heisman finalist Dalvin Cook to make the point, either. Last year’s running back haul included a pair of five-stars in Cam Akers and Khalan Laborn. The 2016 class included speedster Amir Rasul, who Jimbo Fisher recently said will compete for reps this fall. This list, for the most part, is subjective, but putting FSU here is hardly controversial.
WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END: Miami
While Clemson could easily fill this spot, the wild success of Miami freshman Ahmmon Richards, a four-star prospect that Miami evaluated better than most (including us), puts the Canes over the edge. The haul of wideouts the Hurricanes are setting up to land in this class might be the difference, however. Commit Mark Pope is a prospect that could challenge for five-star status this fall. IMG receiver Brian Hightower, a Miami pledge, is no slouch, either.
LINEMEN: Florida State
This category is as close a race as they come. Clemson and Florida State are arguably the two best defensive line recruiting schools in the country. The Tigers can claim Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell, while Florida State has Josh Sweat, Brian Burns, Josh Kaindoh and Marvin Wilson. On the offensive line, Mitch Hyatt (even though we under-ranked him) outclasses anybody Florida State signed since 2015. But the depth of talent on the Seminoles' roster gives them the win here.
This one is really close. Florida State has signed four linebackers from the 2015 class through now, and Clemson has signed three - but two of those were five-stars and the other was a top-50 player in the Rivals100. That gives the Tigers a slight edge. Their lead gets bigger when you consider 2016 signee Keion Joyner never made it to Tallahassee. Clemson signees Tre Lamar, Rahshaun Smith and Chad Smith are expected to be heavy contributors this season.
DEFENSIVE BACK: Florida State
Yes, this list is repetitive. Yes, it’s boring. But when two teams have dominated a conference to extent that FSU and Clemson have in recent years, things get predictable. On the defensive back front, the Seminoles welcomed in a pair of 2017 prospects just outside of five-star range in Stanford Samuels and Hamsah Nasirildeen. The class of 2016 gifted FSU five-star Levonta Taylor. This year, Seminole pledge Asante Samuel, the No. 3 cornerback in the class, leads the way at the position.