Sunshine State dominates ACC rankings
Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell ranks the ACC's 2012 recruiting classes by position.
ACC's best by position
When Jameis Winston signed his LOI the Seminoles clearly took the top spot. He and Sean Maguire are two different players but give Florida State an outstanding duo. The next best quarterback to sign with an ACC school, after Winston, might be Chad Kelly and he's heading to Clemson as the Tigers' only commitment at the position.
Miami is bringing in three quality quarterbacks and North Carolina got a boost when four-star quarterback James Summers flipped from N.C. State, though he could play another position in college. Virginia's Greyson Lambert was a nice steal out of the Peach State. Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech will be looking for quarterbacks next year.
The Hokies really excelled here and reeled in J.C. Coleman, the top running back in Virginia, plus fellow four-star Drew Harris and Chris Mangus, one of the best in North Carolina. Miami's Randy Johnson is the top incoming running back in the ACC.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was Duke, which was able to grab Shaquille Powell from Nevada. The Blue Devils also picked up Jela Duncan on National Signing Day. Four-star Wes Brown decided to stay close to home and that's why Maryland is so high on this list. Florida State signed only Mario Pender but he's a big-time talent.
Stefon Diggs is the guy everyone was waiting on and his commitment to Maryland helped vault the Terrapins near the top of the ACC's rankings here. The school that did the best, however, was Miami. Malcolm Lewis and Robert Lockhart are four-stars for the Hurricanes and they also signed three other quality players.
Speaking of depth, Virginia has plenty of it. If Canaan Severin were listed as a wide receiver rather than an athlete the Cavaliers might be even higher. North Carolina picked up Quinshad Davis late and he appears to be a great fit in Larry Fedora's offense. Georgia Tech was the only school not to sign a receiver.
Tight end wasn't a huge priority for ACC schools this year but Duke signed a pair of good ones in Daniel Beilinson and Erich Schneider. The only four-star tight end signed by an ACC school is Christo Kourtzidis and he's heading to Florida State.
Wake Forest also built some depth at the position with Zach Gordon out of Georgia and Anthony Rook, a North Carolinian. Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami took a pass on the position this year. The Yellow Jackets seemed to do that across the board this year on offense.
Clemson might not have one headliner that jumps off the page at you, though Isaiah Battle is a good one, but the Tigers signed five guys that all have high ceilings. Virginia was pretty much in the same boat, signing five quality prospects from up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
North Carolina was able to hold onto Jon Heck and J.J. Patterson and added Caleb Peterson late. Surprisingly, there are only three four-star offensive linemen that signed with ACC schools. Boston College and N.C. State also added some nice depth while Miami got quality.
The race for the top spot here wasn't even close. Mario Edwards and Eddie Goldman were the top two defensive tackles in the nation and both are five-stars. Both are also heading to Tallahassee. What's really scary is the Seminoles would have still finished in the upper half of the rankings minus those two.
Clemson was the only other school to add defensive tackles ranked as four-star prospects and the Tigers got two of them in Carlos Watkins and Kevin Dodd. The ACC was extremely top heavy at the position this year with nearly half of the league's schools signing no one at defensive tackle.
The Hurricanes found two headliners in Jelani Hamilton and Tyriq McCord. They also added three other speed rushers that Miami fans will be excited about. Virginia's Eli Harold was the top player in the state and Michael Moore, out of DeMatha, adds more star power.
Clemson signed three guys rated as three-star prospects, as did North Carolina and N.C. State. Florida State's Chris Casher from Mobile (Ala.) Davidson was the Seminoles' only defensive end while Francis Kallon played his first year of football this past fall and is taking his talent to Atlanta.
It was a big year for linebacker talent in Virginia and the Hokies capitalized, earning commitments from Trey Edmunds, Deon Clarke and Devin Vandyke early while adding Ken Ekanem on signing day. Kwontie Moore was arguably the state's top linebacker and he's heading to rival UVa.
It was a down year for Boston College recruiting but it did great at linebacker, adding four high-quality players. The Seminoles only signed two linebackers, Reggie Northrup and Ukeme Eligwe, but both are four-star talents. Linebacker is one of the positions the ACC schools did a good job of addressing collectively.
Miami absolutely loaded up with five guys rated as three-star prospects. Those five are overshadowed by five-star Tracy Howard, the nation's top cornerback, and four-star safety Deon Bush. With the Canes mopping up so much of the Sunshine State's secondary talent, Florida State looked elsewhere, finding former Notre Dame commitment Ronald Darby in Maryland and Colin Blake in Texas.
Clemson, Virginia Tech and N.C. State may not have quite as much star power as the Canes and Seminoles but all addressed needs in the secondary very well.
This is where Georgia Tech's strength lies. The Yellow Jackets signed four-star athlete Justin Thomas out of Prattville, the state champs in the Alabama 6A ranks. They also signed four other players that the coaches will have the luxury of moving around on the field.
Clemson, Miami and Virginia weren't outdone by much. The Tigers' top athlete is Zac Brooks and he was the No. 1 prospect in Arkansas. Miami's only labeled athlete is Angelo Jean-Louis and he's a good one. Florida State, Duke and N.C. State didn't sign anyone with the label.
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