Florida State Seminoles: Andrew Williams

Questions for signing day: ACC 

November, 12, 2013
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It is a chicken or the egg argument. Has the SEC ruled college football for much of the last decade because the conference annually places five or more teams among the top 10 of the recruiting rankings? Or is the SEC’s recruiting dominance a result of seven straight national championships?

The ACC, though, could be the David to the SEC on the field and in recruiting. In the 2014 cycle, two ACC schools have top-five classes. Will that remain the same come signing day?

We look at that question and nine others as we examine the most pressing ACC recruiting questions leading up to signing day.

1. Will FSU and Miami remain in the top five of the class rankings?
Both classes are close to completion, so it could be tough for the Noles and Canes to finish in the top five of the rankings. Alabama is at No. 1 and could end up running away with another recruiting title. The rest of the SEC will charge hard come signing day, too. Tennessee should be a safe bet to finish in the top five, and programs such as Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss and more could break into the exclusive group come February. Tennessee recently jumped both schools, pushing Florida State to No. 3 and Miami to No. 4.

2. Can Miami surpass Florida State for the ACC’s top class?
If both were to fall out of the top five, there is still some pride in finishing with the top class in the conference. The Noles are ahead of the Canes at the moment, and it will be tough for the Canes to jump FSU. It looks as if Miami has two spots left and should finish with Johnnie Dixon and Anthony Moten. But the Noles could sign more than 30, and some of the country’s truly elite prospects have Florida State among their finalists. It looks doubtful that Miami -- or any ACC team -- will catch and pass Jimbo Fisher’s class.

[+] EnlargeLorenzo Featherston
Courtesy of IntersportESPN 300 DE Lorenzo Featherston is a Clemson lean whose pledge would help the Tigers close strong.
3. Will Clemson finish in the top 10?
Sitting at No. 12 in the rankings, the Tigers have a good chance to finish in the top 10 and even an outside chance to crack the top seven. Defensive end Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page) is No. 27 in the ESPN 300 and a Clemson lean. It would be a surprise to see him land anywhere but with the Tigers. Cornerback D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton), No. 88 in the ESPN 300, also looks to be leaning Clemson’s way, and the same could be said for defensive end Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Christian Landing), No. 168 in the rankings. The prize of the defensive class would be five-star inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan, however. He is slated to visit officially later this month, and the No. 12 player and top linebacker in 2014 has the Tigers among his top three.

4. Can Pitt close out with three of its four Western Pennsylvania targets?
For Pitt’s class to be considered a success, Paul Chryst needs to do just that. The Panthers are struggling some with Pittsburgh-area prospects in 2014, but the same happened in 2013 before Pitt landed Dorian Johnson and Tyler Boyd. In February, the Panthers hope to land Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa), Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh/Mt. Lebanon), Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) and Shai McKenzie (Washington, Pa./Washington); Henry, Bookser and Nicholson are all in the ESPN 300 and have Pitt among their finalists. Henry is a Pitt legacy. Bookser looks to be focused on Ohio State and Pitt; Nicholson will decide in December and is projected to Pitt.

5. Will Duke sign an ESPN 300 prospect?
The Blue Devils have never signed an ESPN 150 or ESPN 300 prospect since the rankings began almost a decade ago. That was going to change in 2014 with quarterback Nicodem Pierre (Miami/Coral Reef), but the dual-threat dropped from the ESPN 300 in October. However, Trevon Lee (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons) could be leaning Duke’s way with the Blue Devils on a roll this season. With a guaranteed winning regular season -- their first in nearly two decades -- Lee is thinking hard about Duke. Academics are big for the 241st-ranked player, so a decision could come down to Duke and Vanderbilt.

Recruits react to Clemson-FSU 

October, 20, 2013
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Most coaching staffs hope for just one nationally televised night game a season to wow recruits. Saturday night was Clemson’s second such chance to sway recruits in a prime-time showdown, but the result was not as positive as it was in August.

The Tigers' staff received bad news even before the 51-14 drubbing by Florida State, as five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) canceled his official visit to Clemson for the game.

Instead, he could visit in November. Clemson, along with Alabama and Ohio State, is in McMillan’s top group, and this game was potentially the kind of atmosphere that could continue Clemson’s push toward the top for the nation’s top inside linebacker.


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Early Offer: ACC showdown will impress 

October, 18, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The winner of Saturday’s Florida State-Clemson game will have something big to sell to recruits; one of Wisconsin’s earliest commitments is taking trips to other schools, including a trip to visit former Badgers coach Bret Bielema; and the nation’s No. 7 player and a top tight end are expected to announce this weekend.


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ACC recruiting storylines: Oct. 17 

October, 17, 2013
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The third-ranked Clemson Tigers will welcome plenty of national recruits this weekend as they host No. 5 Florida State on Saturday night.

Elsewhere, North Carolina and Wake Forest add commitments from the state of Florida, and Maryland might be out in front for Adam McLean .

Clemson hosting a top group

While the country's eyes will be on the top-five matchup between Clemson and Florida State Saturday night, a group of elite national prospects will be on hand to see it in person.

Five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) headlines the group. He's a guy Clemson has work to do in order to get, but a big win during his official visit could propel the Tigers forward.

Other big names expected to attend include D.J. Smith, Trevion Thompson, Mitch Hyatt, Taj Griffin and possibly Andrew Williams.

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Recruits' eyes will be on Death Valley 

October, 17, 2013
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Clemson and Florida State aren't going head-to-head for a bunch of prospects in this year's cycle, but both teams definitely would reap the benefits of a win Saturday.

What's more, the Tigers will have a plethora of national recruits on campus that night, including some on the list below. Will a win help sway these prospects?


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ACC recruiting mailbag

August, 16, 2013
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College football kicks off in two weeks, but recruiting never stops. We present the first installment of the ACC recruiting mailbag, answering the pressing questions from ACC fans. We’ll try to give everyone a chance to get their questions answered. We encourage you to send your questions by Twitter to @cdowlar or @JShankerESPN. Feel free to email us as well at cdowlar@gmail.com or JShankerESPN@gmail.com.

@Jameshall616: Do you think FSU will get a five-star prospect in this class?

Corey Dowlar: The quick answer is no, probably not. They are in the running for three -- Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover), Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen). But as it stands now, they are all heading to the SEC. I would guess the best chance at one of the three would be Humphrey when Jeremy Pruitt's Alabama ties are taken into consideration.

Humphrey intends to run track in college, too, so FSU's history of dual-sport athletes (Jameis Winston and Ronald Darby, for example) could make an impression. Winston, especially since he is not only one of the more prominent members of the football team but also from the state of Alabama, could be a factor.

@Kzovko: Outside of the state of PA, who are some "must-get" players for Pitt?

Jared Shanker: I’m not sure there any must-get players for Pitt outside of Pennsylvania right now considering the remaining top targets not just in the state but in the WPIAL. Anything less than at least two of Alex Bookser, Dravon Henry, Shai McKenzie and Montae Nicholson should be considered a major disappointment and would only intensify the longstanding criticisms of Paul Chryst’s ability to recruit.

But for Pitt’s out-of-state targets, I think Qadree Ollison from Buffalo (N.Y.) Canisius tops that list, especially if they miss on McKenzie. They have a shot at ESPN 300 receiver Jamil Kamara (Virginia Beach, Va./Bishop Sullivan), although I think he lands elsewhere in the ACC. With Rutgers filling up at receiver, four-star Juwann Winfree (Englewood, N.J./Dwight Morrow) has to move Pitt up at least a little. Pitt was at the top with Rutgers, but look out for Virginia or West Virginia. Chris James (Niles, Ill./Notre Dame) is another option at running back.

@vincevinvinny: Who are Clemson's top remaining targets? And where do they go at defensive end after Rick Leonard?

Dowlar: One guy fits both criteria pretty well. Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy) is the country's No. 168-ranked player and a four-star prospect. You'd better believe the Tigers would love to have him in this class. Another guy they'd love to bring in is 6-foot-1, 200-pound wide receiver Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe). Clemson will be fighting Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.

At defensive end, there is another nice option in Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page). At 6-7, 202, Featherston has a tremendous frame to add weight. And he'll need to do that. He's ranked by ESPN as the No. 27 player in the country and a four-star prospect. Clemson is thought to be the team to beat for Featherston with North Carolina, NC State and Ohio State lurking in the background.

@JacobsDj082167: You think [Ishmael] Witter goes to Cuse if [Jonathan] Hilliman goes RU?

Shanker: Now that Hilliman is officially committed to Rutgers, it probably closes the door at running back for the Scarlet Knights, who have three pledges at the position. Rutgers looked to be the favorite for Witter, but now that absolutely opens the door even more for Syracuse. He took a visit to Syracuse in late July, and at the moment I think Syracuse looks to be the most likely landing spot. However, don’t count out the SEC when it comes to pulling recruits, and Missouri has offered. Big Ten program Indiana offered recently, too, and if the Hoosiers can get to six or seven wins, they could close strong.
The Opening, presented by Nike, will feature 162 of the best high school football players in the country. The event, which will include linemen, 7-on-7 and SPARQ testing competitions, is set to run from June 30 to July 3 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

The following events from The Opening will be televised on ESPNU:

July 1: SPARQ Rating National Championship, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET

July 2: 7-on-7 Pool Play, 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET

July 3: Linemen Challenge Finals and 7-on-7 semifinal and championship games, 9 p.m.-midnight ET

The players will be divided in to six teams -- Alpha Pro, Apocalypse, Field Generals, Land Sharks, Super Bad and Vapor Carbon. Here is a closer look at how the teams match up.

Team: Alpha Pro
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Jordan Palmer, defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson

The Alpha Pro team will have plenty of targets to spread the ball around. Ermon Lane and Tyler Luatua, the No. 1-ranked receiver and tight end in the country respectively, bring size and playmaking ability to the passing game. ESPN 300 athletes Corey Holmes, Jalen Hurd, John "JuJu" Smith, Ja'Von Harrison, and Derrell Scott are all explosive offensive weapons.

Defensively Alpha Pro is led by Andrew Brown, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the country, ESPN 150 cornerback Damon Webb, defensive end Andrew Williams, Ohio State linebacker commit Dante Booker and LSU cornerback commit Chris Hardeman.

Complete Alpha Pro roster.

Team: Apocalypse
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Adam Tafralis, defensive coordinator Donovin Darius

The first thing that jumps out about team Apocalypse is the talent in the defensive front seven. Team Apocalypse will be led by five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Hand, from Woodbridge, Va., is the No. 4-ranked player in the country, while McMillan was recently bumped up to a five-star linebacker. Joining Hand and McMillan along the front seven are ESPN 300 defensive linemen Anthony Moten and Ainuu Taua, and linebackers D.J. Calhoun and Rashaan Evans.

Offensively, team Apocalypse has no shortage of playmakers. ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott, K.D. Cannon and Michiah Quick will provide explosiveness in the passing game, while athletic running backs Joe Mixon and Royce Freeman will provide athletic and reliable targets out of the backfield.

Complete Apocalypse roster.

Team: Field Generals
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Charlie Frye, defensive coordinator Michael Fletcher

Seven-on-seven events are always geared towards the offense, but with five-star defensive back Adoree' Jackson, No. 3-ranked safety Jamal Adams, and ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett in the secondary, the Field Generals should more than hold their own. New Ohio State defensive end commit Jalyn Holmes and the No. 6-ranked defensive end in the country, Solomon Thomas, will be two to watch along the defensive line.

Offensively, the Field Generals are led by ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama, ESPN 300 wide receivers Austin Roberts and Thaddeus Snodgrass and explosive Notre Dame running back commit Elijah Hood.

Complete Field Generals roster.

Team: Landsharks
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Craig Nall, defensive coordinator Keith Bulluck

The Landsharks have some big-time talent along each line of scrimmage. Led by five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the Landsharks also feature ESPN 300 offensive guard Corey Martinez. ESPN 300 defensive linemen Gerald Willis III and Thomas Holley, as well as ESPN 300 defensive end Chad Thomas, will form a very physical and athletic defensive line.

In the secondary, the Landsharks will have three defensive backs -- Arrion Springs, Chris Lammons and Tony Brown -- that are ranked among the top 85 players in the country. The defense also features ESPN 150 linebacker Nyles Morgan.

Offensively, explosive running backs Dalvin Cook, a Florida commit, and Racean Thomas form a dangerous tandem out of the backfield, and wide receivers Travis Rudolph and Jalen Harvey are solid receiving threats.

Complete Landsharks roster.

Team: Superbad
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Dennis Gile, defensive coordinator Harold Nash Jr.

The Superbad defense line is led by five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter and ESPN 150 defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson. The linebacking corp is stacked with three ESPN 300 members, including Clifton Garrett, Christian Miller and Edwin Freeman. Cornerback Jalen Tabor is the No. 19-ranked player in the country.

Offensively, Superbad has a huge advantage with the No. 1-ranked prospect in the country, running back Leonard Fournette. This team is loaded on offense, with wide receivers Drake Harris, Josh Malone and Speedy Noil all in the mix.

Complete Superbad roster.

Team: Vapor Carbon
Coaches: Offensive coordinator George Whitfield, defensive coordinator Chris Gizzi.

Vapor Carbon will be tough to throw against with defensive backs Quin Blanding, Naijiel Hale and Ed Paris roaming the field. The linebacker group is just as impressive, with Ohio State commit Kyle Berger, Kain Daub and Dillon Bates all leading the way.

The offense for Vapor Carbon could be lethal with running back Joseph Yearby and Nick Chubb in the backfield. Spreading out wide receivers T.V. Williams, Justin Brent and tight end Ian Bunting on the outside could prove to be an awesome combination for this squad.

Team Vapor Carbon has a lot of pieces to make a long run in the 7-on-7 tournament, but then again, every team is stacked in this competition.

Complete Vapor Carbon roster.

RN Top 10: Atlanta NFTC 

April, 15, 2013
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The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect what their overall prospect ranking will be when the 2014 rankings are unveiled this spring.

BUFORD, Ga. – With 276 players taking part in the Atlanta Nike Football Training Camp on Saturday, there were dozens of prospects in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 classes who had already been offered by FBS programs. Six of the participants were awarded invitations to the The Opening later the summer.

10. Terronne Prescod
Lithonia (Ga.) Columbia |OG|6-foot-4, 320 pounds


The offensive linemen at the Atlanta NFTC were not an overly impressive group, but Prescod stood out, not just because of his hairstyle. He locked up and drove back multiple defensive tackles and showed an impressive base.

Prescod is approaching 10 offers, and has scholarship opportunities with Missouri, Ole Miss and Virginia. At the moment, Prescod says Missouri is standing out. Watch out for Auburn if they offer, as they seem to be the school he feels most at home with right now.

Craig Haubert’s take: “Prescod did a nice job in the offensive line group that was not among the strongest at the NFTC this year. He showed good bend and strong punch and he has outstanding size, both in height and bulk.”


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Recruiting rivalries: UF, FSU in 2014 

December, 4, 2012
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With just a few short months left until national signing day, Florida and Florida State, as always, have two of the best recruiting classes in the country. 2014 will be no different. Here's a look at some of the top prospects Florida and Florida State will battle for next year.

DE Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing): The ESPN Watch List defensive end visited Florida over the summer and came away impressed with the Gators. Williams also visited FSU for its game against the Gators. Other schools will be heavily involved in Williams' recruitment, but these two schools are sure to be near his top schools throughout.

DE Denzel Ware (Crestview, Fla./Crestview): Ware has been committed to FSU since September, but the Gators continue to pursue the talented defensive end. Ware took an unofficial visit to Florida for a game this year and came away impressed. He remains firmly committed to FSU, but Florida is still lingering.

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Williams intrigued by FSU's success 

November, 1, 2012
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It's not a surprise that the big boys of college football drop in on Eagle's Landing Christian in McDonough, Georgia.

After all, there are several elite FBS prospects starring there. Andrew Williams, a 2014 Watch List defensive end, is just one of them.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound prospect reports that schools such as Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and Ohio State, among others, have been by this season.

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Five defensive ends for 2014 

October, 23, 2012
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NoleNation takes a look at five defensive end targets who have been identified early for the class of 2014.

Denzel Ware: Already committed to Florida State, Ware is the first target at the position that can be penciled in to the 2014 recruiting class. The Seminoles did well to get in the door early and secure a verbal from a prospect who is being heavily recruited from powerhouses such as Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, Texas and Southern Cal. The Gators have begun to start pushing for Ware, but at this time he is still firm to Florida State.

Chad Thomas: If at all possible, Florida State would love to have an established pipeline into Booker T. Washington High School beginning with 2013 outside linebacker Matthew Thomas. Chad Thomas, a junior defensive end, is not too far behind. He's already received offers from the Seminoles, LSU, Miami, Mississippi and Texas A&M with plenty of other SEC schools looming. He figures to be a typical Florida State-Miami battle.

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