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NSD: Grading the ACC programs

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney (USA TODAY)

Surprise, surprise: Clemson finished the Early Signing Period atop the ACC team rankings for the second year in a row with six five-stars and more than 1,000 points ahead of the second-place Miami.

The Tigers weren’t the only highlight in the conference and there were a few lowlights as well. Here is a look at how each team in the ACC fared last week during the Early Signing Period.

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ACC: Team recruiting rankings

National Signing Day grades: Big Ten | SEC | Pac-12

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

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

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BOSTON COLLEGE

Breakdown: A turbulent season and eventual coaching change hurt momentum, but new head coach Jeff Hafley pulled off a flip during the Early Signing Period, stealing receiver Justin Bellido from Minnesota. As a whole, this recruiting class has some great prospects, especially Rivals100 offensive lineman Kevin Pyne and four-star offensive lineman Ozzy Trapilo. There are high expectations for four-star linebacker Korey Smith and tight end Charlie Gordinier.

Grade: B–

MORE: BOSTON COLLEGE'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH BOSTON COLLEGE FANS AT EAGLEACTION.COM

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CLEMSON

Breakdown: The Tigers currently sit atop the recruiting rankings with a class that includes six five-stars that hail from five different states. The Tigers signed the No. 1 and No. 2 overall player in defensive lineman Bryan Bresee and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. The class isn’t just propped up by headliners, however, as the depth is every bit as impressive as the names at the top. Dabo Swinney and company signed 23 prospects during the early period, 17 of which were rated four-stars or higher.

Grade: A+

MORE: CLEMSON'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH CLEMSON FANS AT TIGERILLUSTRATED.COM

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DUKE

Breakdown: The Blue Devils addressed some important needs in this class but there aren’t any four-stars in the class of 16 recruits and they averaged less than three-stars per commitment. Still, there are a few really solid prospects David Cutcliffe and his staff should be able to build around and depend on down the road. Of course, Cutcliffe is known for developing quarterbacks and Luca Diamont should benefit greatly from the training he’ll receive.

Grade: B–

MORE: DUKE'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH DUKE FANS AT DEVILSILLUSTRATED.COM

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FLORIDA STATE

Breakdown: All things considered, new Florida State coach Mike Novell did an impressive job despite taking over late in the cycle. FSU landed 10 four-stars, the most important of whom was quarterback Chubba Purdy. The Seminoles had failed to land a QB in their last two classes and were in desperate need at the position, so flipping Purdy from Louisville addressed the biggest need on the roster. The Seminoles' highest-ranked signee is Demorie Tate, who checks in at No. 75 nationally.

Grade: B

MORE: FLORIDA STATE'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH FLORIDA STATE FANS AT WARCHANT.COM

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GEORGIA TECH

Breakdown: Georgia Tech’s 3-9 season hasn’t stunted the program's recruiting momentum in the slightest, as the Yellow Jackets’ class currently ranks fifth in the ACC and 23rd nationally. Coach Geoff Collins inked thee four-stars during the early period, a group led by defensive back Miles Brooks and wide receiver Bryce Gowdy. They were also able to sign long time Florida State quarterback commit Jeff Sims, who remains a bit raw but comes with major upside. Rivals250 running back Jahmyr Gibbs is committed to Tech but has not signed.

Grade: B–

MORE: GEORGIA TECH'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH GEORGIA TECH FANS AT JACKETSONLINE.COM

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LOUISVILLE

Breakdown: Losing quarterback Chubba Purdy and defensive end Josh Griffis to FSU wasn’t an ideal way to close the early period. And did Louisville take a few reaches? Sure. That said, there was plenty of good to cancel out the bad. The Cardinals were able to hold on to Kobe Baynes despite a push from Miami and also managed to beat out Florida State, Kansas State and West Virginia to land Yaya Diaby. The highest-ranked recruit in Louisville’s haul is linebacker Kameron Wilson, the only four-star in the class. Will the class be the foundation of a future ACC title? Probably not, but the trajectory under coach Scott Satterfield remains positive.

Grade: C

MORE: LOUISVILLE'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH LOUISVILLE FANS AT CARDINALSPORTS.COM

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MIAMI

Breakdown: Miami didn’t close as well as its fans would have liked. In fact, the program’s biggest news came when linebacker commit Romello Height ditched the Hurricanes to sign with Auburn. That said, UM didn’t sign a poor class by any stretch. Landing four-star running back Jaylan Knighton, a longtime Florida State commit, was a massive win for Manny Diaz. Pair that with the fact that UM also signed Rivals100 back Don Chaney, and the Hurricanes will have a nice 1-2 punch at the position for years to come. The impressive class include players such as four-star defensive end Chantz Williams, wide receiver Michael Redding and quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, who will have the chance to make an early impact.

Grade: B

MORE: MIAMI'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH MIAMI FANS AT CANESPORT.COM

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NORTH CAROLINA

Breakdown: Three of the top five players in North Carolina signed with the Tar Heels, a rare feat for any team. North Carolina reloaded at the skill positions but signing day came and went with mixed results. The Tar Heels had felt they were in the best position to sign five-star linebacker Trenton Simpson, but a last minute official visit to Clemson allowed the Tigers to steal him. Mack Brown and his staff fought hard to keep four-star Clyde Pinder from flipping to Florida and they almost lost him on signing day. Instead, they were able to talk him into signing with them, upholding his original June commitment.

Grade: B+

MORE: UNC'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH UNC FANS AT TARHEELILLUSTRATED.COM

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NORTH CAROLINA STATE

Breakdown: This was a tough year for the Wolfpack on the field and it showed in this recruiting class. Still, there are some great prospects in this class that will be major contributors for N.C. State in the not-too-distant future and look no further than Rivals250 wide receiver Porter Rooks. Rooks is one of five receivers in this recruiting class, more than any other position in this class. Expectations are high for three-star defensive tackle Davin Vann. The local prospect had a dominant senior season and it shouldn’t take long for him to end up seeing playing time.

Grade: B–

MORE: NC STATE'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH NC STATE FANS AT THEWOLFPACKER.COM

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PITTSBURGH

Breakdown: This is a solid class for the Panthers, who loaded up at the skill positions and along the defensive front. Receivers Jaylon Barden, Jordan Addison and Aydin Henningham along with running back Israel Abanikanda are all currently ranked as three-stars and each of them have a decent chance of outplaying their ranking. The defensive front is going to feature at least six new faces next season (seven if you include athlete Solomon DeShields). Pittsburgh fans are probably already familiar with the name Dayon Hayes and if they aren’t, they should get up to speed really quickly. The four-star defensive end from Pittsburgh is going to a star for the Panthers.

Grade: B

MORE: PITT'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH PITTSBURGH FANS AT PANTHER-LAIR.COM

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SYRACUSE

Breakdown: This is a better class than Syracuse has had the last few years and Dino Babers is getting some important prospects this coming season. The Orange should see an uptick in talent on the defensive side of the ball when this class gets on the field. Defensive lineman Latarie Kinsler Jr., defensive back Robert Hanna and linebacker Stefon Thompson could all be future stars. Athlete Marlowe Wax has potential on both sides of the ball and could also become a major contributor at linebacker.

Grade: B–

MORE: SYRACUSE'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH SYRACUSE FANS AT CUSECONFIDENTIAL.COM

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VIRGINIA

Breakdown: This is a small class for Virginia, but it packs a punch. Three surprises helped boost this class up the rankings. The biggest surprise was the commitment from 6-foot-8, 305-pound offensive lineman Andrew Gentry. Bronco Mendenhall and his staff are ecstatic about getting Gentry, who chose the Cavs over BYU, Michigan, and Stanford. Virginia also landed two commitments from defensive ends Olasunkonmi Agunloye and Jonathan Horton.

Grade: B

MORE: UVA'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH VIRGINIA FANS AT CAVSCORNER.COM

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VIRGINIA TECH

Breakdown: There are some high highs and some low lows in Virginia Tech’s class and, with only 14 commitments, the Hokies find themselves at the bottom of the conference team rankings. Pulling off commitments from a pair of defensive ends from Texas last week really improves how this class looks on paper. Four-star defensive end Alec Bryant committed to the Hokies on and three-star defensive end Robert Wooten chose the Hokies the day before NSD. Defensive end Derrell Bailey Jr. also brings a lot to the table and should help the Hokies soon after arriving on campus.

Grade: C+

MORE: VIRGINIA TECH'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH VIRGINIA TECH FANS AT HOKIEHAVEN.COM

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WAKE FOREST

Breakdown: Wake Forest’s recruiting class has the lowest average stars per commitment in the conference, but there are some prospects that will make waves once they get on the field. Quarterback Mitch Griffis has a chance to spark the Demon Deacon offense and there are a few playmakers to help put points on the board. Running back Ahmani Marshall, a local prospect, and receiver Jahmal Banks should connect with Griffis quickly. Offensive linemen George Sell and Luke Petitbon, two of the four that signed with Wake Forest, will be relied on fairly early in their careers.

Grade: C

MORE: WAKE FOREST'S 2020 CLASS | SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH WAKE FOREST FANS AT DEACONSILLUSTRATED.COM