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Three-Point Stance: ACC predictions, key Penn State target, HS matchups

Dabo Swinney
Dabo Swinney (© Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman has ACC preseason predictions, a look at an important recruit for Penn State and a preview of several high-profile early high school matchups.


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Championship game: Clemson vs. Florida State

We're all happy to see the ACC do away with divisions this season. No more trying to remember which teams were in the Atlantic and Coastal. Now we have the opportunity to see Clemson and Florida State play for a conference championship.

This probably isn't a year where one ACC team goes undefeated and each team has potential slip-ups on their schedule but it's likely that both teams will get to Charlotte. It still seems like Clemson is the more well-rounded team than Florida State but the Noles have amassed the talent to contend.

Player of the Year: Drake Maye, North Carolina

Not exactly going out on a limb here but Maye has a legitimate chance to be the top pick in the next NFL Draft. He has a big stage against South Carolina at the beginning of the season and plenty of other opportunities to turn in star-worthy performances.

Coach of the Year: Mike Norvell

Florida State is on its way to breaking through thanks to Mike Norvell and his staff's relentless work on the recruiting trail and now it's showing up on the field. The hype surrounding the Seminoles has built to a level where it would be a disappointing season if they don't double last season's previous win total of five. If Florida State wins 10 games, Norvell has a good case for Coach of the Year. If Florida State wins 11 or 12 games, Norvell should easily win this.



Jaylen Harvey
Jaylen Harvey

Nearly every Rivals250 prospect in the East region is already committed. Jaylen Harvey, one of the few remaining uncommitted, is set to announce his decision in the near future. His recruitment has narrowed down to Penn State, USC and Maryland, but he’s leaning toward either the Nittany Lions or Trojans.

Penn State has been the dominant figure in his recruitment since day one. A high school teammate of Chop Robinson, Harvey has visited the campus a number of times and has very strong relationships in the program. Penn State has invested so much time and effort in recruiting Harvey and he projects as a versatile 270-pound defensive lineman who could play tackle or end in Penn State's scheme. After missing on top targets Benedict Umeh and Deyvid Palepale, Penn State can’t afford to miss on a prospect who will help it strengthen a weak point on defense.




Keenan Jackson
Keenan Jackson (Nick Lucero/

The 2023 high school football season is getting underway this weekend and will be on hand for dozens of games around the nation. The season starts off with a bang in North Carolina, where there are games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday featuring several highly-ranked and heavily-recruited Power Five prospects.

Matthews (N.C.) Weddington vs. Concord (N.C.) Cox Mill and Charlotte (N.C.) Independence vs Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek kick things off on Thursday. This doubleheader features North Carolina receiver commit Keenan Jackson, Virginia Tech defensive back commit Quentin Reddish, and Rutgers receiver commit Benjamin Black.

The matchup between Greensboro (N.C.) Grimsley and Winston-Salem (N.C.) Mount Tabor will have nearly 10 Power Five prospects on the field. Bryce Davis, No. 41 overall in the 2025 Rivals250, and Shamarius Peterkin, No. 209 overall in the 2025 Rivals250, headline this matchup along with four-star North Carolina receiver commit Alex Taylor, NC State receiver commit Terrell Anderson and high three-star defensive back JaDon Blair. Quarterback Faizon Brandon, a promising 2026 prospect, will also begin the season with a lot of eyes on him.

Saturday is the big day with a handful of games loaded with high-end talent. Charlotte (N.C.) Myers Park vs. Charlotte (N.C.) Charlotte Christian, Charlotte (N.C.) West Charlotte vs. Charlotte (N.C.) Palisades, Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day vs Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern and Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes vs Cornelius (N.C.) Hough will feature Power Five prospects at every position. Rivals250 Notre Dame commits Bryce Young and Micah Gilbert, Michigan commits quarterback Jadyn Davis, receiver Channing Goodwin and linebacker Jaden Smith, North Carolina four-star receiver commit Jordan Shipp, 2025 No. 2 overall prospect David Sanders Jr. and dozens of other heavily recruited prospects will take the field in these matchups.

Here are some other marquee matchups I'll have my eye on:

Aug. 18 - Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances Academy at Buford, Ga.

Aug. 25 - Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco vs. Severn (Md.) Archbishop Spalding

Aug. 26 - Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances Academy at Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Chaminade Madonna

Aug. 26 - Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joe's Prep vs. Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy

Aug. 26 - Washington (D.C.) St. John's College High at Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage

Aug. 27 - Olney (Md.) Good Counsel at Lakewood (Oh.) St. Edward

Sept. 1 - Olney (Md.) Good Counsel at Orlando (Fla.) Jones

Sept. 1 - Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy at Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco

Sept. 1 - Charlotte (N.C.) Charlotte Catholic vs. Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day

Sept. 8 - Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic at Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna