With the hectic camp season upon us, it’s always fun to take a look back at some of today’s stars, where they could have ended up and what kind of ripples they would have sent throughout the recruiting world.
Here are five “what-ifs” that would’ve sent shockwaves through the ACC.
What-if school: Florida
Maryland had a lot of success in the 2017 class with the “DMV to UMD Movement,” but it all started with Diggs back in the 2012 class. In late 2011, the Randy Edsall era had just begun in College Park, and offensive coordinator/star recruiter Mike Locksley (now the co-offensive coordinator at Alabama) was credited with landing Diggs’ commitment. Florida, with Charlie Weis as the offensive coordinator, was the early favorite for the Maryland native, but after he left for Kansas, the Terps moved into the lead position. Had Diggs chosen the Gators, the effects would have been far-reaching. Florida hasn’t had a 6-foot receiver with catch-and-run abilities like Diggs since the days of Urban Meyer. His offensive output might have been enough to extend Will Muschamp’s tenure a little longer. On the flipside, Maryland, which played in the ACC until the 2014 season, would not have received the momentum boost on the recruiting trail that we have seen for the last five years. “DMV to UMD” might not have been a common recruiting slogan like it is today. -- Adam Friedman, Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst
What-if school: Clemson
Cook was originally committed to Clemson, and who knows what kind of ripple effect him sticking with the Tigers might have had. Sure, Cook is a college superstar on the verge of making NFL money, but you never know what could have thrown a wrench into the Tigers’ national title run. Clemson would have loved to sign Cook, but it seems possible that both parties were better off for parting ways. Neither has much to complain about, after all. -- Rob Cassidy, Rivals.com Florida recruiting analyst
What-if school: Florida State
Fitzpatrick committed to the Crimson Tide during a visit to Alabama in mid-April 2014, but that didn’t stop teams from pursuing the five-star from New Jersey. Down the stretch, Florida State emerged as the only challenger to Alabama’s hold on Fitzpatrick. He took multiple visits to Tallahassee and had a strong relationship with Florida State defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, but signed with Alabama on National Signing Day. If Fitzpatrick had flipped to Florida State it could have affected five-star Tarvarus McFadden’s decision, who was also strongly considering Georgia and LSU. Even if McFadden hadn’t been discouraged by the addition of Fitzpatrick, the group of Derwin James, Fitzpatrick and McFadden could have made 2016 five-star Levonta Taylor look elsewhere. That need in the defensive backfield was very attractive to Taylor and was one of the driving forces behind his commitment. There is no telling where Alabama would have turned had Fitzpatrick flipped, but the move would certainly have had plenty of ripple effects. -- Friedman
What-if school: Miami
The son of Miami alum Chad Wilson, Quincy Wilson could have easily chosen the Hurricanes if the program had a more positive on-field trajectory at the time. Had that taken place, it stands to reason that the youngest Wilson, Marco Wilson, who signed with the Gators on Signing Day, would have also landed in Coral Gables. -- Cassidy
What-if school: Virginia Tech
Florida State has been on a roll with defensive end recruiting over the past few years and Sweat played a big part in that trend. Virginia Tech has a long history with Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith and many of their players have continued their playing careers as Hokies. A lot of people believed Sweat would do the same, but that all changed after a series of visits during the summer before his senior season. Had Sweat signed with Virginia Tech, would he have been able to play as much as he did at Florida State after a serious knee injury from his senior year? There is no way to know what kind of effect he would have had on the rest of Virginia Tech’s defensive line or what kind of recruiting repercussions it would have had in the Tidewater region of Virginia. Florida State didn’t take another defensive end in the 2015 class, but the Seminoles surely had other options they could have pursued if they lost Sweat to the Hokies. -- Friedman