NSD 2020: The biggest question for each ACC team
The Late Signing Period is becoming less eventful every year since the advent of the Early Signing Period in December, but most programs still have a few questions to answer heading into February. Today, we go around the ACC and identify each program’s biggest question heading into next week.
BOSTON COLLEGE: How many more prospects will Jeff Hafley sign?
Jeff Hafley and his staff have added commitments from quarterback Matthew Rueve, defensive back Kameron Arnold and athlete Jiovanny Holmes this month, but more could be on the way. Defensive lineman Jaden Hardy took his official visit to Boston College over the weekend and it seems like he could end up signing with Boston College. Post grad prospect Paris Shand is another defensive lineman Boston College has a good chance with, but it will depend on how his official visit goes this weekend.
CLEMSON: How much of a head start will the Tigers be able to get when it comes to 2021?
There are no questions facing the Tigers as it relates to the current cycle. That’s simply because Dabo Swinney’s 2020 class is full. Instead of working on finishing things off, the decorated head coach spent the past few days with his attention fixated on the next cycle, dropping in on 2021 prospects in Florida and beyond. Swinney swung through the high schools of four-star O-line commit Marcus Tate and four-star wide receiver target Troy Stellato, in addition to others. Clemson is looking to add to a 2021 haul that already includes nine commitments and is headlined by five-star defensive end Korey Foreman.
DUKE: Will the Blue Devils add a surprise commitment?
It would be surprising to see Duke take another commitment for its 2020 recruiting class at this point. Just after the Early Signing Period, David Cutcliffe and his staff took a commitment from Texas offensive lineman Addison Penn and he should be signing with the Blue Devils next week. There may still be a spot or two left on Duke’s roster for a transfer, but any additions would be unexpected.
FLORIDA STATE: Can the Seminoles hold on to Malachi Wideman?
Rivals100 wide receiver Malachi Wideman has been committed to FSU since long before Willie Taggart was replaced by Mike Norvell and remains committed to this day. Whether or not he’ll sign with the Seminoles is another question. Wideman, who is also a star on the basketball court, has been linked to programs such as Ole Miss, Oregon and Tennessee. Wideman recently visited Oxford, where Lane Kiffin seems to be building recruiting momentum. Wideman spent the two prior weekends in Eugene and Knoxville, respectively.
GEORGIA TECH: Can the Yellow Jackets hang on to Jahmyr Gibbs?
Gibbs is the 70th-ranked player in the 2020 class and Georgia Tech’s highest-ranked recruit. And while the star running back has been committed to the Yellow Jackets since April, he declined to sign during the early period.
Since then, he’s developed a shine for Florida, which remains heavily involved in his recruitment. LSU is also involved to some extent, but this will likely come down to the Gators and Jackets. As of now, Georgia Tech seems to have the edge, but that could change as we inch closer to signing day.
LOUISVILLE: Can Scott Satterfield build off of this year’s recruiting effort?
Louisville will likely add to its class down the stretch, but those additions are unlikely to make waves on a national level. The real question facing Louisville recruiting is where it goes from here, as it must eventually start beating Kentucky for the state’s top talent if it hopes to take the next step as a program.
This cycle, Kentucky signed five of the state's top 10 prospects, while Louisville came away with none. The Cardinals are definitely going in the right direction under Satterfield, but the recruiting results will need to improve for that trajectory to continue,.
MIAMI: Can the Hurricanes steal Avantae Williams?
The answer here is probably no, as Williams is extremely high on Florida and Miami may well be done with high school recruiting for the 2020 cycle. That said, Williams recently visited Coral Gables and stranger things have happened in recruiting. The Hurricanes boast a solid class, but had a rough go during the Early Signing Period. A pleasant surprise such as this one would help ease the pain.
NORTH CAROLINA: How do the Tar Heels fill their last spot?
The Tar Heels want to be done with the 2020 recruiting class. The hold 26 commitments and 25 of them signed in December. The only one that didn’t sign is running back Elijah Burris. North Carolina wants him and he wants to play for the Tar Heels, but there is a hold up with his academics. If things don’t work out with him, North Carolina is probably going to pursue a grad transfer, but it is going to exhaust all options with Burris first.
NC State: What will Rashad Battle do?
Virginia Tech and NC State are fighting for four-star defensive back Rashad Battle. The former Maryland commit took an official visit to NC State this past weekend and Virginia Tech is trying to get him on campus this weekend. If NC State did enough with its opportunity, Battle would be the fourth commitment for the Wolfpack this month, the 22nd member of this recruiting class and the fifth defensive back.
PITTSBURGH: Are the Panthers done with this recruiting class?
Pittsburgh picked up 17 commitments and has signed all but one of them. With a few walk-on commitments coming over the last week or so, it looks like Pat Narduzzi and his staff would prefer to close the book on this class. There is a chance Pittsburgh pokes around for a grad transfer over the next couple weeks, but barring a surprise it looks like Pittsburgh has added all the players it can this year.
SYRACUSE: Will the Orange add another prospect to this class?
The Orange seem to be done with this recruiting class unless they can get one more surprise. That surprise could come in the form of a transfer or a commitment from a prep school prospect. If it’s a prep school prospect, keep an eye on former Virginia Tech commit Jahad Carter. The Virginia native committed to the Hokies out of high school but spent this year at Jireh Prep in North Carolina.
VIRGINIA: Will in-state offensive lineman James Pogorelc decide to stay home?
After losing four-star offensive tackle Jimmy Christ to Penn State, Virginia has been working hard to fill that spot with another big tackle. James Pogorelc was a late riser in this recruiting class, but by the middle of the season he had a very long offer sheet. Virginia will have to fight off plenty of contenders, and the biggest one is Stanford. Pogorelc just took a visit there last weekend and he gave the trip very positive reviews.
VIRGINIA TECH: How many commitments will the Hokies get between now and signing day?
This recruiting class is well below what we’ve come to expect from Virginia Tech, but the Hokies have a chance to end on a high note. DJ Lundy has Virginia Tech among his finalists, along with Vanderbilt and Georgia. There are a few factors in play with his recruitment, but the Hokies want him as their only linebacker in this class. Defensive back Rashad Battle is mulling an official visit to Virginia Tech this weekend, but the Hokies will have to beat NC State for his commitment. The Wolfpack hosted him for an official visit last weekend.
WAKE FOREST: Can the Demon Deacons land another defensive lineman?
Four defensive linemen have already signed with Wake Forest, but Dave Clawson and his staff want one more to solidify the group. The top candidate to fill that void is Virginia native Alonzo Ford. His offer sheet is into double digits, but there are only a couple Power Five options. Wake Forest is supposed to get him on campus this weekend for an official visit, so a commitment could be coming if all goes well.