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Friday, October 11, 2013
ACC recruiting mailbag

By Jared Shanker

ACC recruiting reporters Corey Dowlar and Jared Shanker answer your questions in their weekly mailbag. You can send questions to them on Twitter with the #AskACC hashtag and mention @cdowlar and @JShankerESPN. Or reach them via email at cdowlar@gmail.com and JShankerESPN@gmail.com.

This week's mailbag covers questions on whether Clemson can sustain its on-field success, how Jameis Winston can help FSU down the line, and will Virginia Tech add another four-star defensive tackle among a few other questions.

@retaildropout asks: Is Clemson recruiting well enough to keep them at this elite level? Can they reload, or is this "their year?"
Dowlar: I'm not sure if Clemson will be able to reload right away with this class. But I'm not sure they'd be able to do it with any class. You don't just replace a guy like Tahj Boyd overnight. Same could be said about Sammy Watkins.

However, the people at those positions will be there. Deshaun Watson has all the makings of an excellent quarterback. Artavis Scott is truly special. Those are direct, like-for-like changes there. You'd like to see Clemson finish this class off with some major talent on defense. They've gotten better there, and I think they will continue to trend up, but they could always use more help there for the future.

It's a really good haul coming in, but it could get better.

@HokieVickTory asks: Will [the] #hokies get Derrick Nnadi?
Shanker: At this point Virginia Tech is at the front for the four-star defensive tackle from Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes. Frank Beamer and Co. can spend more time recruiting Nnadi, too, now that fellow in-state four-star DT Ricky Walker pledged to the Hokies on Sunday.

Nnadi is a pivotal piece for Virginia Tech, which struggled with in-state recruits in the 2014 cycle. They were the early leader for Da’Shawn Hand but missed out on the five-star recruit. Andrew Brown and Quin Blanding, two more in-state five-star recruits, are committed to Virginia. With Walker and hopefully Nnadi, the Hokies can salvage the in-state effort some and wind up with a class that will be right around No. 25 in the rankings.

@93warchant99 asks: How big will the "Jameis Effect" get? Will it have a large impact on FSU's recruiting class?
Dowlar: Well, let's wait until we see the next couple of weeks play out. Let's say FSU streaks through this three-game set with Clemson, NC State and Miami. I think at that point you're looking at a top-three, top-four team primed for a national title run. They'll be all over SportsCenter and all that other stuff. Recruits will notice, and it would be hard to imagine FSU would struggle to retain Markell Pack and get Travis Rudolph.

If things go awry and the Seminoles lose one, maybe two, the challenge will be a little tougher, but not too much. You'd still like their chances with those two receivers for example. Winston is a charismatic guy to whom people are drawn. To what degree his effect holds, I think, is correlated to on-field success in the sense that it could improve more if they win the big games.

To sum it up, he's a guy you want in your program when it comes to official visit time.

@stoveistoast asks: How will Louisville's move to the ACC affect their recruiting?
Shanker: We covered this a few weeks ago but it warrants repeating as the Cardinals have a class inside the top 20 of the rankings. The Cardinals did not have a top 40 class in 2013 and have not been inside the top 25 since the 2011 class when they finished No. 22. Charlie Strong has three ESPN 300 commitments and six four-star pledges. Once again, Strong is doing well in Florida as four of the six four-star commitments hail from the Sunshine State.

It is clear Louisville will have a tough time earning a bid in the BCS title game as a member of the AAC, but that will seemingly no longer be an issue once they go to the ACC.

@Totes_Magotes91 asks: What highly ranked skill-position players do you expect to see in Raleigh in 2014?
Shanker: First-year Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren is doing a fine job with his first full recruiting class and the headliner is Jalan McClendon, a four-star prospect ranked No. 20 among pocket-passer quarterbacks in 2014. McClendon is the highest-rated commitment in NC State’s class. The Wolfpack would like to add a few more weapons for McClendon before signing day, namely a few in-state targets. Durham (N.C.) Hillside teammates Trevion Thompson and Donte Thomas-Williams are high on NC State’s board, but the feeling is not reciprocated at this point. Both will likely land elsewhere. The same should be said for fellow four-star Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock), who likes NC State but is a South Carolina lean.

@the_BALTEagle asks: How do you see Georgia Tech's class shaping up?
Dowlar: Well, it's got a typical Paul Johnson feel to it, doesn't it? Step Durham is the best player in the class and they've gone heavy at defensive back this year. It seems like it is a group that addresses needs and will establish depth, but again, the knock on Johnson's recruiting is the lack of star power.

Sure, they don't always need the best players on offense due to the system they've got in place. But it wouldn't hurt, either. As long as this group is given time to develop and get coached up, it should be an adequate class. At some point, though, you have to wonder if they'll ever be able to go head-to-head with the big dogs in the state of Georgia for the biggest names with this staff.