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February 13, 2011
Ranking the ACC by position
MORE POSITION RANKINGS: Big East | Big Ten | SEC | National offense | National defense
Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell ranks the ACC 2011 recruiting classes by position.
It was not a banner year in the ACC for quarterbacks with Clemson leading the way with three signal-callers ranked as three-star prospects, followed by North Carolina with the only four-star in the conference in Marquise Williams. Williams gives North Carolina the star power but Clemson gets the edge because based on the percentages, one of its trio should pan out. Boston College could have a steal in Missouri's Christian Suntrup. Florida State and Wake Forest are high on Jacob Coker and Kevin Sousa respectively, but there seems to be more questions than answers under center overall in the ACC for 2011.
Talk about two powerhouse running back classes at the top of the heap for the ACC. Florida State brought in five-star stud James Wilder Jr. and four-star Devonta Freeman as a great 1-2 punch and Clemson stole Mike Bellamy from the Sunshine State. There is a big dropoff after that, with UNC and Maryland signing three different three-star backs but Virginia also hit a home run with its sole signee, Clifton Richardson. After that things get a little bleak and a few teams didn't address the running back situation at all.
Sammy Watkins is the lone five-star in the ACC and his commitment along with in-state stud Charone Peake gives Clemson a strong edge over Florida State and the rest. The 'Noles are happy with a pair of four stars in Kelvin Benjamin and Rashad Greene while Maryland was able to sign multiple three-star prospects. After that it's a bit thin although Miami landed a couple of players with upside. UNC is very happy with four-star T.J. Thorpe. Duke also did well and many feel that Curt Evans from Boston College could be one of the steals of the conference.
Nick O'Leary gives Florida State the top tight end in the country and the No. 1 class here, but both Clemson and Boston College also reeled in four-stars with Eric MacLain and Brian Miller respectively. Virginia Tech loaded up with three tight ends including a late steal from Maryland in Ryan Malleck. UNC has some serious upside with the duo of Eric Ebron and Jack Tabb.
The Seminoles loaded up on the offensive line, taking eight players led by four-stars Bobby Hart, Josue Matias and Jacob Fahrenkrug, while North Carolina countered with three of its own four-stars in Kiaro Holts, Jarrod James and Landon Turner. After that there's a dropoff with Clemson, Georgia Tech, Duke and Maryland pulling in a ton of three-stars. Boston College took six linemen but still finished near the bottom of the ACC so they need to hope they can work some of their magic at the position down the line. Oddly, Miami and Virginia Tech took only one offensive lineman apiece, which could lead to depth issues down the road.
Timmy Jernigan was a nice finish to a great FSU class and he's joined by fellow four-stars Derrick Mitchell and Nile Lawrence-Stample. UNC also got a nice signing day bonus when Delvon Simmons committed and added to its haul. Virginia has two three-stars, which slightly trumps Virginia Tech's four-star get in Kris Harley. Clemson pulled in multiple three-stars but none ranked high enough to surpass the Cavaliers or Hokies. After Clemson there is a huge dropoff and certain teams didn't address the position at all.
Despite a very small class, the 'Canes rule the roost here with in-state stud Anthony Chickillo and signing day surprise Jalen Grimble as well as two three-stars. Corey Marshall leads a deep Virginia Tech class at end and Boston College also did very well, led by four-star Connor Wujciak. FSU signed in-state star Giorgio Newberry and juco Cornelius Carradine to give the ACC a lot of pop in the top four. Clemson would shoot to the top if it lands Jadeveon Clowney on Monday.
Clemson not only led the ACC but also the entire country, thanks to five-stars Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony as well as four-star Lateek Townsend. Georgia Tech finishes a distant second to Clemson while Miami, Boston College and North Carolina all did well at the position but didn't come close to the Tigers. Jabari Hunt-Days (Georgia Tech), Steven Daniels (Boston College) and Travis Hughes (North Carolina) were the only other signees in the conference ranked as four-stars or better, aside from Clemson's haul.
Five-star Karlos Williams and four-star Nick Waisome give FSU a great 1-2 punch at safety and cornerback, respectively, and they ran away from the pack at this position to finish in the national top three. New head coach Mike London did well for Virginia by keeping cornerback Demetrious Nicholson in-state and pulling safety Brandon Phelps from Maryland. The Hokies also had a nice class with safety Ronny Vandyke and cornerback Kyshoen Jarrett. UNC boasts five prospects ranked as three-stars and Maryland added three of its own, as the ACC put four teams in the national top 20.
Virginia checks in at the top of this category with two athletes ranked as four-stars in Darius Jennings and Dominique Terrell, and both were signing day gets. In fact, the Cavaliers are the only program to sign a four-star athlete in the conference. Georgia Tech boasts five three-stars and NC State and Virginia Tech have three each. But this category isn't particularly strong in the conference after the top four.