football Edit

How top-ranked 2018 signees from the ACC (and ND) are faring

Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The class of 2018 will be entering their third season of college football this fall. Here’s a look back at the highest ranked 2018 recruit for each team and how they are panning out. Today, we look at the ACC.

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

MORE: Top-ranked 2018 signees from Big Ten | SEC

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022: Top 100

BOSTON COLLEGE

The skinny: Due to his long-standing relationship with the coaching staff, Dirstine committed to Boston College during the spring after his junior season over offers from Miami, Illinois, Syracuse and others.

Through his first two seasons with the Eagles, Dirstine has only seen the field in five games. That is very likely to change this summer as he will be in a battle for the starting right guard job, where everyone around Chestnut Hill hopes he can reach his potential.

Farrell’s take: Dirstine was a bit of a reach as a four-star and I was the one who thought I saw his potential to be another great Boston College offensive lineman. That hasn’t happened yet and he needs to step up his game in a big way to earn a starting job this season.

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CLEMSON

The skinny: Despite elite offers from coast-to-coast, Lawrence decided to end his process early with a commitment to Clemson during his junior season. He never wavered off that pledge.

After beating out Kelly Bryant for the starting job in Death Valley, Lawrence had a magical true freshman season that culminated in a national championship victory over Alabama. Being mentioned as one of the elite college quarterbacks in recent history, he is considered the pre-season favorite for the for the Heisman Trophy heading into the 2020 season.

Farrell’s take: Not much to say here. Lawrence was our No 1 player in 2018 and is the best quarterback I’ve ever scouted our of high school. He’s the No 1 pick in the draft next year and should win the Heisman this season.

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DUKE

The skinny: Rice committed to Duke over Notre Dame, Louisville, Wake Forest and many others. In 24 career games, he has 16 tackles with 2.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks.

Farrell’s take: Rice was a big get for Duke out of Kentucky as a big space-eater who was good against the run. He hasn’t broken out yet but he’s been solid in the rotation.

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FLORIDA STATE

The skinny: Woodbey was a longtime Ohio State commitment, but right before the Early Signing Period his process got hectic. USC became a serious threat and then a late offer from Florida State led to a last-minute official visit to Tallahassee. This led to his flip ot the Seminoles on National Signing Day.

After an impressive true freshman season, when he totaled 59 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and seven pass breakups, a knee injury limited him to only four games in 2019. With a new coaching staff in place, and fully healthy, he is looking for a big season this fall.

Farrell’s take: Woodbey is a great athlete and a big hitter so he will be a huge part of the FSU defense. He was a five-star out of high school who could play safety or grow into a linebacker.

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GEORGIA TECH

The skinny: King was focusing on Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Louisville when he decided to end his process with a commitment to the Yellow Jackets in late July.

As a true freshman King redshirted after playing in three games, and then totaled 14 tackles and one tackle for a loss in 12 games of action last fall. The Yellow Jackets are hoping that the game experience he received last fall will lead to bigger things in 2020.

Farrell’s take: King was a big get out of Tennessee for the Jackets as a corner with good size and feet. He should push for a starting job this season and could start to show his potential.

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LOUISVILLE

Trautman chose Louisville over Notre Dame, Florida State, Alabama and others who all made a late run. He has 26 tackles in his career and has moved from safety down to linebacker and is expected to be a big part of the defense.

Farrell’s take: Troutman was a talented DB out of high school who was a hitter and played well close to the line of scrimmage. His move to linebacker is a surprise as he’s undersized, but he can run and always could.

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MIAMI

The skinny: Lingard was an early commitment to Miami, making his choice after his junior season. He selected the Canes over Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Clemson and Auburn. Lingard’s true freshman season never fully developed, and then ended abruptly due to a knee injury. That injury continued to slow him down throughout 2019, when he didn’t receive a carry during the season. This and his ailing father led to his transfer to Florida, where he is still awaiting word on his eligibility for the 2020 season.

Farrell’s take: Lingard was a bust at Miami but will have second life at Florida. He was a five-star for a reason coming out of high school, a kid with speed and vision and good size.

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NORTH CAROLINA

The skinny: With his father, Deke Adams, coaching at North Carolina, the Tar Heels were always seen as the favorite. While Clemson made a serious push, Adams did the expected and committed to North Carolina at The Opening during the summer leading up to his senior season. However, Adams never made it to Chapel Hill to play football. Also considered a top baseball prospect, he decided to sign a $4.1 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels organization a few months after signing his National Letter of Intent. In two seasons split between Rookie League and Single A, the center fielder has hit .259 with eight home runs.

Farrell’s take: This is the risk in recruiting top baseball prospects , but it’s worth it. However, we won’t see Adams impact at North Carolina.

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NC STATE

The skinny: While South Carolina, Clemson and Georgia were considered, the ability to play closer to home made NC State and Duke viable options from the start. Deciding to end his process early, he committed to the Wolfpack in January after his junior season.

Person became an immediate contributor as a true freshman, rushing for 471 yards and two touchdowns despite dealing with injuries that made him miss four games. Injuries continued to slow Person in 2019, as a high ankle sprain caused him to miss five games. Returning as the most experienced back, he should have a big season if he can avoid the injury bug.

Farrell’s take: Person has the skill to be a standout if he can stay healthy as a back with good size and who runs with some wiggle. And we had him as an all-purpose back because he can catch the ball as well. This could be a big year for him.

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NOTRE DAME

The skinny: Griffith initially committed to Florida State, but a coaching change re-opened his process. While the Seminoles were still considered, Griffith also took closer tooks at Notre Dame and Wisconsin, which eventually led to his commitment to the Irish in early December.

After showing promise as a true freshman in 2018, Griffith’s 2019 season was slowed after a move from safety to cornerback and the emergence of true freshman Kyle Hamilton. This summer he will battle Isaiah Pryor for the safety spot opposite Hamilton.

Farrell’s take: Griffith had a ton of talent coming out of high school as a willing hitter with good ability in coverage, but he’s up against some stiff competition. His ceiling is high but if he doesn’t win a starting job it will be interesting to see how he impacts.

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PITTSBURGH

The skinny: Salahuddin initially committed to USC, but the Trojans’ distance from home eventually led him to re-open his process and select Pittsburgh over Syracuse on National Signing Day.

With the Panthers, Salahuddin was never able to gain traction, rushing for only 37 yards as a true freshman before deciding to enter the transfer portal prior to the 2019 season. In December he announced that he would be continuing his collegiate career at North Carolina A&T.

Farrell’s take: Salahuddin had talent coming out of high school as a slasher who could catch the ball, so it’s disappointing to see him head elsewhere before he really got started.

SYRACUSE

The skinny: Howard committed to Syracuse in January at the conclusion of an official visit to upstate New York. He had also taken an official visit to South Alabama.

With the Orange, Howard has become a reliable offensive threat since arriving on campus, having totaled 652 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground during his two seasons. Having already established himself during goal-line scenarios, Howard will battle Abdul Adams and Jawhar Jordan during the summer for increased opportunities.

Farrell’s take: Howard was an important get from Mississippi for Syracuse and a player who ran with natural leverage and who bounced off tackles. He’s been impressive but the competition is fierce at the position.

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VIRGINIA

The skinny: Garrett committed to Virginia during a return unofficial visit to campus during the spring. He cancelled planned visits to Vanderbilt and NC State after his commitment.

He did not receive any playing time during his true freshman season and then was removed from the Virginia roster during the spring of 2019. He resurfaced at Delaware during the summer, where he totaled 11 tackles in 6 games during the season. However, he is not on Delaware’s active spring roster.

Farrell’s take: Garrett was a hard hitting linebacker who played bigger than his size but obviously had off field issues and never made an impact.

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VIRGINIA TECH

The skinny: Turner trimmed his list of top schools to 10 during the spring after his junior season, with Virginia Tech and NC State being considered the favorites. Soon after he trimmed his list he committed to the Hokies.

Turner became an immediate contributor for the Hokies, and has totaled 60 receptions for 1,088 yards and eight touchdows through the air, plus 332 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, during his two seasons. He is expected to establish himself as the No. 1 receiver in the Hokies’ offense this fall.

Farrell’s take: Turner was a tall and explosive receiver out of North Carolina for the Hokies and a great get. He’s panned out very well and could be one of the best receivers in the ACC this season.

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WAKE FOREST

The skinny: Brown trimmed his list of top schools down to Wake Forest and South Carolina before committing to the Demon Deacons a couple of months after his junior season. He never saw the playing field in Winston-Salem though, as he announced his transfer during his first summer camp in order to play closer to his home in South Carolina. He found this at Newberry College, a Division II program, where after playing in seven games in 2018, he seems to have fallen off the football radar.

Farrell’s take: Brown was a big defensive tackle with good athleticism so it’s a shame he never got to Wake to make an impact.

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