Florida State Seminoles: Josh Malone

ACC recruiting storylines: Dec. 6 

December, 6, 2013
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Two ACC schools lead the way for Florida commitment Dalvin Cook. And more prospects begin to set up their official visits as national signing day nears for the Class of 2014.

When ESPN 300 wide receiver Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) verbally committed to Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon, it didn’t come as a surprise to many. After all, Malone is the top-ranked prospect in Tennessee and the Vols have placed a heavy emphasis on landing the talented pass-catcher.

Clemson, however, has been known to go out-of-state and land top receiver prospects such as Sammy Watkins. The Tigers might have lost out on Malone, but it’s not like they were left empty-handed.

Clemson already has commitments from ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) and Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), as well as Kyrin Priester (Snellville, Ga/Fork Union Military Academy).

The Tigers are also targeting another ESPN 300 prospect Trevion Thompson (Durham, N.C./Hillside) and they are considered, by many, to be the favorite for the talented pass-catcher.

In addition to Clemson, Malone was also heavily considering Georgia and Florida State before narrowing down his choices to Clemson and Tennessee late in the process.

For Georgia, the Bulldogs already have commitments from Shakenneth Williams (Macon, Ga./Rutland) and Gilbert Johnson (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) and they are limited on scholarships. Unless something changes on its recruiting board, Georgia might not take another receiver in this class.

Florida State, meanwhile, is still in heavy contention for ESPN 300 wide receiver Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) and Florida commit Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). If FSU continues to have success on the field and happens to win the national championship, the Seminoles will likely see new names appear on their board.

Early Offer: Malone’s big day 

December, 4, 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: Josh Malone, one of the nation’s best receivers, will announce his decision today, so will he be singing Rocky Top, calling the Dawgs or heading to Clemson? In-home visits are taking place all over the country and social media is providing us with an inside look at life on the trail; and we’re less than a week away from finding out where the top player in Pennsylvania will end up.

Will Rocky Top be home sweet home?
Four-star receiver Josh Malone, the nation’s No. 48 player out of Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp, has already signed financial aid agreements with Tennessee, Georgia, Clemson and Florida State, but he will announce his decision at noon ET Wednesday on NBC Sports Network. The RecruitingNation Hot Board has Malone projected to select Tennessee. The Volunteers were smart and were the first to use the signing of the financial aid paperwork as a tool in the recruiting process. Because he was technically “signed” UT coaches were able to have regular contact with him. Shortly after, the three other schools followed suit.

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ACC recruiting storylines: Nov. 21 

November, 21, 2013
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Clemson's big visit weekend highlights this week's storylines in the ACC. Also, can Florida State get a running back target into town this weekend, and can Virginia Tech continue its lead for a three-star tailback?

Big weekend for Clemson

Clemson's last home game of the season is going to a be a big one for visitors.


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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.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

November, 4, 2013
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All eyes were on Tallahassee, Fla., this weekend for the conference's game of the week between Florida State and Miami. But in the meantime, Georgia Tech made some noise, too.


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Recruit reaction: Miami-Florida State 

November, 3, 2013
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State could not afford a slip on up on Saturday night if the national title hopes surrounding the program were to stay intact. And while recruiting is a different animal, beating their in-state rival at home in front of so many visitors was of extreme importance if the Seminoles would like to have a shot at the No. 1 overall recruiting class.

After their 41-14 win over fellow top-10 team Miami, both possibilities remain.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher entertained a list of prospects whose quality might not have been matched yet this year and was headlined by cornerback and No. 9 recruit Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover).

The Seminoles have emerged as the clear threat to Alabama for the five-star’s services. According to quarterback commitment J.J. Cosentino (Pittsburgh/Central Catholic), Humphrey was enjoying himself.

"Humphrey is definitely loving it," Cosentino said.

Nearing the final whistle, Humphrey noticed that the crowd had a message for Alabama.



As thorough as the visitor list was, some expected recruits were unable to make the trip. Logistics often get in the way for at least a couple each weekend, so it wasn't a surprise.

Among those not present were River Ridge, La., John Curtis Christian teammates Malachi Dupre and Mattrell McGraw. Though they weren't in attendance, they still took notice watching the game on television.

Movers, shakers in updated ESPN 300

October, 29, 2013
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The Class of 2014 has had two months to show what it’s made of on the field. How are the nation’s elite prospects faring as we approach signing day? Here’s a look at the biggest names and notes from the most recent update of the ESPN 300:

The Big Movers

No. 37 Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South), ILB
Prior ranking: No. 59
The 6-foot-2, 224-pound Garrett jumped more than 20 spots in the rankings as he has added bulk to his frame, and at the same time retaining quickness and his fast-filling, downhill ability. Garrett has impact-type ability with a blend of lateral quickness, discipline and a nose for the ball.

Davion Hall
Max Olson/ESPNAthlete Davion Hall, who is committed to Baylor, jumped 30 spots in the latest update of the ESPN 300.
No. 45 Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau), ATH
Prior ranking: No. 75
The 6-2, 194-pound Hall is one of the most impressive athletes in the class. He has a long, stoutly-built frame, is explosive, has physicality filling the alley at safety and very good ball skills at receiver. When he settles into one position at the next level, his upside is very high.

No. 64 Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown), RB
Prior ranking: No. 106
The Georgia commit is putting together a sensational senior campaign with more than 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns through eight games. The 5-11, 217-pound tailback continues to add strength to his compact body structure while maintaining his speed, overall athleticism and ability to bend.

No. 70 Chad Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington), DE
Prior ranking: No. 125
The Miami commit has flashed his high-ceiling ability, even though he is playing inside more than half the snaps as a senior. His combination of first-step quickness, arm length and the ability to play with low pad level sets him apart from most ends in the class.

No. 84 Rashaan Evans (Auburn Ala./Auburn), OLB
Prior ranking: No. 150
The 6-3, 217-pound Evans has filled out physically, and displays the quick-twitch burst and speed combination to be a factor off the edge. Evans has been dominant off the edge as a senior with double-digit sacks.

No. 92 Markell Pack (Purvis, Miss./Purvis), WR
Prior ranking: No. 144
The Florida State commit continues to flash the initial quickness, ability to get to top-end speed quickly, ability to play the ball in the air and elusiveness that makes the 6-2, 180-pound wideout one of the top playmakers in the class.

No. 128 Brad Kaaya (Hollywood, Calif./Chaminade College Prep)
Prior ranking: No. 171
The 6-4, 213-pound Miami commit is one the fastest rising quarterbacks in the class. Has added bulk to his tall frame, and continues to show the foot quickness, foot work and quick release that will be demanded of him at the next level.

Other Big Movers

WR Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp): From No. 99 to 49.
Texas A&M ATH commit Nick Harvey (Richmond, Texas/William B. Travis): From No. 101 to 60.
RB Joe Mixon (Berkeley, Calif./Freedom): From No. 100 to 72.
Georgia QB-DT commit Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford): From No. 157 to 94.
Oregon RB commit Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial): From No. 154 to 99.
RB Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock): From No. 176 to 108.
Ole Miss S commit C.J. Hampton (Meridian, Miss./Meridian): From No. 201 to 134.
Alabama C commit J.C. Hassenauer (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge): From No. 246 to 188.
Georgia DT commit Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton): From No. 266 to 201

ESPN 300 debuts
No. 89 Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westbury), WR
The 6-6, 215-pound pass catcher returned to the football field as a senior after playing only basketball as a junior, and has quickly become one of the most coveted uncommitted prospects in the country featuring deceptive initial quickness, and the high-point timing and size to win 50-50 balls in the air.

No. 287 Darrion Owens (Orange Park, Fla./Oakleaf), OLB
The 6-3, 220-pound Owens has transitioned from safety to outside linebacker as a senior without skipping a beat. Long, rangy and with edge-rush ability, the Miami commit is a top senior riser.

No. 295 Shakenneth Williams (Macon, Ga./Rutland), WR
The 6-1, 196-pound Georgia commit was a standout at Mark Richt Camp in June. Williams is blessed with straight-line speed, change-of-direction ability, strong hands and the physicality and strength to play through contact.

[+] EnlargeJoe Mixon
Tom Hauck for Student SportsTailback Joe Mixon is ranked No. 72 in the latest update of the ESPN 300.
More Who Moved Into The ESPN 300

Ohio State ATH commit Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus Hall): No. 148.
LSU DE commit Deondre Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass): No. 298.
Baylor WR commit Ishmael Zamora (Alief, Texas/Elsik): No. 245
Alabama OLB commit Keith Holcombe (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest): No. 284.
DT Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes): No. 257.
DT Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin): No. 292.
Minnesota RB commit Jeff Jones (Minneapolis/Washburn): No. 181.
Virginia Tech DT commit Ricky Walker (Hampton, Va./Bethel): No. 299.

Injured Reserve

David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North), QB
The Alabama commit suffered a season-ending knee injury. The 6-5, 241-pound Under Armour All-American is No. 44 after being 32nd previously.

Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech), RB
The Tennessee commit suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener, requiring a second shoulder operation in less than a year. The 6-4, 222-pound Hurd is now No. 62 after being 39th.

Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian), WR
The 6-3, 172-pound Harris hasn't played this season due to a lingering hamstring issue. The Michigan commit checks in at No. 85 after previously being 72nd.

Elisha Shaw (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), DT
The 6-6, 295-pound Shaw has been sidelined with a neck injury this season. He checks in at No. 186 after a prior ranking of 82nd.

Sharieff Rhaheed (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central), OLB
The 6-2, 202-pound Rhaheed missed the first six games of the season before returning to the field in late October. The former LSU commit is No. 260 after being ranked 133rd previously.

Kyle Berger (Cleveland/Saint Ignatius), OLB
The Ohio State commit was sidelined his senior season with an ACL tear. He dropped out of the ESPN 300 after being ranked No. 281.

Treyvon Paulk (Milton, Ga./Milton High), RB
The Tennessee running back commitment recently suffered a season-ending knee injury. He dropped out of the ESPN 300 after previously being ranked No. 294.

Early Offer: Top 5 had big weeks 

October, 28, 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: With the newest edition of the BCS rankings released, we take a look at the biggest headlines of the top five teams from the recruiting trail.


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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

October, 4, 2013
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Does Florida State land an elite receiver? What are Pittsburgh's chances with Jamil Kamara? And how has Miami recruited so well of late?

All this and more in this week's ACC recruiting mailbag.

@93warchant99 asks: How many out of Malone, Rudolph and Dupre do you think FSU gets, if any?

Dowlar: It's so hard to pencil these guys into classes right now since there is a long way to go, but I could see Florida State grabbing one of these guys.

[+] EnlargeTravis Rudolph
Steve Dipaola/NikeOhio State, Alabama and Florida are in the picture to land Travis Rudolph, but don't count Florida State out.
Malone is going to be tough for them. I really think he's headed to Georgia right now, but visits and results can change things. Tennessee is a huge player for him, too. He'll visit Tennessee this weekend, already took an official to Georgia and then will finally head to Tallahassee on the weekend of Nov. 1.

Malachi Dupre is the longest shot of them all, to me. I think most people who follow recruiting realize how hard it is to get prospects from Louisiana away from LSU. And right now, the biggest competition appears to be UCLA. I would think he lands in Baton Rouge.

Travis Rudolph is the best chance of the three for you, I think. Ohio State, Alabama and Florida are absolutely in the picture, but the Seminoles have been trending up for a while now. Rudolph has taken one official so far, and that was to Columbus to see the Buckeyes.

Ross_Abbott11 asks: what is the chance that #Pitt gets Jamil Kamara?

Shanker: They still have to jump Virginia, but the Panthers should be happy with where they are at. Neither team looked good in last weekend’s game, but Pitt did pull out the win, and the Cavs’ offense was atrocious. I still think the Cavs lead here, but Pitt continues to impress Kamara. He won’t decide until January and Pitt will certainly get an official visit.

Wisconsin is potentially a team to look out for, and he recently said Penn State could be a factor now with the increase in scholarships. I still see it as a top two of Pitt and Virginia -- with the Cavs still holding the lead. There are too many ties to the UVa program to project him anywhere but Charlottesville -- for now.

@fenstythenole asks: Will Florida State get any of the five-star offensive line prospects they are in the running for?

Dowlar: Well, I don't know which rankings you're referencing, but there aren't any five-star offensive linemen FSU is in on, according to ESPN's rankings. I will assume, though, that you're probably talking about David Sharpe, Chad Mavety, Damian Prince and Roderick Johnson.

I think you can write off Sharpe now. I'm thinking he's headed to either Georgia or Florida. And Damian Prince no longer seems likely now. He'll probably end up at Maryland.

When talking about the other two, though, Florida State is in really good shape, especially with Johnson. There are a lot of factors going in the Seminoles' favor for him at the moment. Mavety is too close to call right now, but I have a feeling it is either going to be Florida State or Ohio State.

If FSU lands both of those guys, fans will have to feel really good about the incoming class up front.

@couloaksteelers asks: has Duke seen a bump in recruiting due to last year’s bowl game appearance?

Shanker: They don’t play bowl games in basketball so ... oh, this is a Duke football recruiting question?

Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe actually has taken full advantage and seized the opportunity set forth last winter when he coached Duke to a 6-7 record and an appearance in the Belk Bowl. From 2010-2013, the Blue Devils signed only one four-star prospect -- a placekicker. In the 2014 class alone, though, Duke has commitments from three four-star recruits including ESPN 300 Miami Coral Reef quarterback Nicodem Pierre. The Blue Devils have beat out the likes of NC State and UNC for a few in-state prospects as well.

Cutcliffe is also expanding Duke’s borders, breaking into Ohio for three commitments in the 2014 class. Cincinnati Sycamore linebacker Tinashe Bere and Columbus (Ohio) Bishop Hartley defensive back Alonzo Saxton committed to Duke over Big Ten offers.

@EricHoudini12 asks: FSU and UF used to whip Miami in South Florida recruiting. That has changed. Was it as simple as Al Golden?

Dowlar: No, I don't think so, but he's played a major role.

Even though Florida has made a larger impact down there this season, Florida State really hasn't and Miami has done very well. Why?

Well, take a look at your new offensive coordinator, James Coley. Miami's top-rated commitment, Joe Yearby, was once a Florida State commitment. Coley had a major, major impact there.

Move over to Booker T. Washington and guys like Chad Thomas and Nigel Bethel are Coley targets, too.

But the bottom line is there always has to be some kind of promise shown on the field. That's where Golden and his team come in to play. Sure, Miami's commitments mostly came before the win over Florida, but make no mistake about it, those pledges can be, and probably were, solidified because of it.

The short answer is that it is a lot of different moving parts pulling in the same direction at the moment. And it's working for them. Golden is helping to orchestrate it all.

ACC recruiting storylines: Sept. 19 

September, 19, 2013
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Florida State is waiting on a commitment while North Carolina wasted no time in getting one from a young prospect this week. All this and more in this week's ACC recruiting storylines.

Seminoles still waiting on Izzo

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ACC recruiting storylines: Sept. 5 

September, 5, 2013
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Here's a look at the top storylines in the ACC this week.

[+] EnlargeRaekwon McMillan
Jeff Barlis/ESPNRaekwon McMillan, who visited Clemson over the weekend, has the Tigers, Ohio State and Alabama at the top of his list.
Clemson makes push for McMillan
Top Georgia linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) was at Death Valley last weekend to see Clemson's top-10 win over long-time rival Georgia.
As expected, the Tigers rolled out the red carpet to their visitors, McMillan included, to make the best possible impression. A win certainly helped in that regard. Clemson now joins Ohio State and Alabama at the top of the list for the top inside linebacker in the country. ESPN ranks McMillan as a five-star prospect.

Miami preparing for big weekend
Florida and Miami don't play on a regular basis these days. So when the two schools meet, there is obvious excitement and interest on both the local and national level. Among the most well-known visitors are the Miami Central running back pair of Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook, four-star receiver Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) and Anthony Moten (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas). Of the majority of uncommitted recruits who will be in attendance, Florida and Miami are top contenders for getting their commitments.


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