Three-Point Stance: Teams in the news, ACC transfers, three-stars
Rivals national columnist Mike Farrell is here with a look at the programs making news recently, a list of the best incoming transfers for each ACC program and a breakdown of the best former three-star prospects that impacted college football in 2021.
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The football season is over but there has certainly been a fair share of news — and drama — to follow recently. Here are the biggest newsmakers in each Power conference. I include two for the SEC just because …
Auburn: For all the wrong reasons, the Tigers are in the news as much as any program right now. Bryan Harsin appears to be in some seriously hot water as the program has lost 20 players and five coaches (including both coordinators) since the conclusion of the 2021 season. The Tigers have had five coordinators in the past 14 months and amid reports of Harsin's grating personality alienating coaches, players and staff, it doesn't look like he's long for the job. He could be fired by the time you read this and Auburn starts over.
Texas A&M: Jimbo Fisher once again mouthed off about NIL in relation to the Aggies' No. 1 recruiting class and it's simply not a good look for the program. Saying that NIL doesn't have any bearing on recruiting in this day and age isn't just naïve, it's flat-out incorrect. Texas A&M boosters are pumping money into the program and NIL deals for players at an unprecedented rate, and that is paying off in terms of the talent they're acquiring. So what? It’s the way of the world now. So Fisher needs to publicly accept the fact that money is obviously a deciding factor for a lot of the top kids they're pulling in. But he won’t as he continues to vie to be the most narcissistic coach in college football.
USC: Much has been made of Lincoln Riley's move to the West Coast and the players that he has brought along with him, most notably former Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams. Williams flirted with a lot of other programs, but it is clear now that doing so was just a leverage play on his part to get the biggest NIL deal. And he was successful, signing a huge deal with Beats by Dre as just the start. But with Riley saying that the transfer portal needs "guardrails" after reeling in some of the biggest names available, he's talking out of both sides of his mouth as the man who benefited from transfers like Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts and now Williams.
Michigan: The Wolverines are seeing some turmoil around the program after one of their most successful seasons in decades. While Jim Harbaugh was flirting with the NFL, he lost both of his coordinators and now is in a place where he will need to rebuild the coaching staff. So while he's stated that he is fully committed to the program, his dalliances with the professional ranks have clearly left a bad taste in the mouth of some people around the program.
Miami: Mario Cristobal continues to round out his coaching staff, poaching Josh Gattis from Michigan. Gattis completely revamped the Wolverines this season and now has his work cut out for him at The U. However, he's got plenty of talent at his disposal. The one thing he didn't do in Ann Arbor was elevate the level of quarterback play, but with Tyler Van Dyke on the roster he's got a guy who's more talented than either of the contributors at that position for the Wolverines.
Oklahoma: It's been relatively quiet across the Big 12, but the Sooners are quietly amassing a very strong coaching staff and roster. They landed some big commits on signing day getting three edge players who will be asked to step up early and replace the production of Nik Bonitto. Finishing in the top 10 of the Rivals team rankings for the 2022 class despite the massive turnover in the coaching staff is a testament to Brent Venables.
2. THE TOP TRANSFERS FOR EACH PROGRAM IN THE ACC
I’ve looked at the Big Ten and SEC and identified each program's top incoming transfer this cycle. Let's focus on the ACC today.
Boston College: Regen Terry (DE, Arizona) - A three-star edge player coming out of high school, he's put on more than 60 pounds since he got to Arizona and now should factor into the defensive line rotation for the Eagles.
Clemson: Hunter Johnson (QB, Northwestern) - Johnson spent his first collegiate season at Clemson before transferring to Northwestern for the past two seasons. He now returns to the Tigers, but a lot of the shine is off of the former five-star quarterback. But given the ups and downs of D.J. Uiagalelei last season, he still may have a shot at seeing the field.
Duke: Evan Deckers (LS, UMass) - The only addition for the Blue Devils, Deckers will join a special teams unit that finished in the top 20 of PFF's rankings from this past season.
Florida State: Mycah Pittman (WR, Oregon) - Pittman received spot time at Oregon, but will have a chance at a starting role in Tallahassee. A speedster out of the slot, he can make guys miss with the ball in his hands.
Georgia Tech: Pierce Quick (OL, Alabama) - Georgia Tech needs to address their offensive line issues if they're ever going to really compete and Quick is a good addition who was buried on the depth chart for the Crimson Tide.
Louisville: Tiyon Evans (RB, Tennessee) - The No. 2 back for the Volunteers last season, Evans heads up to Louisville where he will be the presumed starter.
Miami: Frank Ladson (WR, Clemson) - The Hurricanes and hoping to strike gold again with a wide receiver from the portal one year after Charleston Rambo lit up the conference after coming over from Oklahoma. Ladson has a ton of upside.
NC State: Darryl Jones (WR, Maryland) - The Wolfpack are in need of receivers, and they nabbed Jones from Maryland where he was buried on the depth chart.
North Carolina: Noah Taylor (LB, Virginia) - Taylor was a solid contributor for the Cavaliers over the past three seasons and steps into a Tar Heels defense that needs to get back to the levels they showed in 2020.
Pittsburgh: Kedon Slovis (QB, USC) - Arguably the biggest addition for any team in the conference, Slovis had three very good years for the Trojans. He'll try to pick up where Kenny Pickett left off.
Syracuse: Juwaun Price (RB, New Mexico State) - An under-the-radar signing, Price had a very solid season for the Aggies this past year as a freshman and showed some versatility out of the backfield as a receiver as well.
Virginia: Devin Chandler (WR, Wisconsin) - The speedy receiver from North Carolina showed flashes during his time in Madison as a receiver and returner, and now heads to a system where he'll get plenty of targets.
Virginia Tech: Jadan Blue (WR, Temple) - Virginia Tech lost some of their top wideouts from last season to the portal, and Blue figures to step in and compete for the WR1 job from day one on campus.
Wake Forest: Kobie Turner (DL, Richmond) - Wake Forest's only addition in the portal, Turner was an FCS All-American last season and a three-time all-conference selection in the CAA. He's very disruptive and it won't surprise me if he's first-team All-ACC next season.
3. THREE-STARS THAT HAD A MASSIVE IMPACT ON THE 2021 SEASON
Finally, last week essentially represented the close of the 2022 recruiting cycle. But before you brag on your five- and four-stars, let’s not forget the majority of prospects are rated as three-stars and can make big impacts on college football.
Here are some three-stars since the 2017 class that had a massive impact this past season. In fact I was able to put together an All-American team that would stand up pretty well.
QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt
WR Jordan Addison, Pitt
OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State
OC Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
DT Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
DT Travis Jones, UConn
DE Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State
DE David Ajabo, Michigan
LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
LB Malcolm Rodriguez, Oklahoma State
LB Jack Campbell, Iowa