NCF On The Trail: ACC

Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

January, 27, 2015
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Another weekend in the ACC is in the rearview mirror with N.C. State winning a big inter conference battle, and the Pittsburgh Panthers gaining some January defensive momentum under Pat Narduzzi.

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It’s not often a recruit commits to the same school twice, but that’s what happened with ESPN 300 receiver John Burt on Monday.


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Best of the visits: ACC

January, 25, 2015
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ACC programs made the most of the opportunities at hand this weekend on the recruiting trail. The big winner was NC State scoring a pair of commitments, but a number of programs had key visitors -- with the themes of the weekend being keeping current commitments in the fold and trying to close with need-filling commitments.

NC State

The Wolfpack didn’t just have a good weekend, they had a great weekend by placing the icing on top of a top 40 recruiting class. NC State was already ranked No. 40 in the class rankings and is poised to make a small jump with the commitment of No. 80 Johnny Frasier, who flipped from Florida State.


The flip of Frasier was expected for some time, but now that it’s official it means NC State head coach Dave Doeren and staff have added serious speed and playmaking in Frasier and No. 155 Nyheim Hines, who have both run 10.6 100-meter times in the past. The duo is also a good mix, with Frasier being a 225-pound back and Hines a versatile player who could see spot duty at running back, line up in the slot and be a major factor in the return game.

NC State also filled a remaining need at defensive end with the flip of Emanuel Olenga from East Carolina. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder announced his decision on Twitter.

Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons added a second quarterback to the 2015 class on Saturday in the form of four-star Kyle Kearns. The former SMU verbal took to Twitter to announce his commitment to Dave Clawson and Wake Forest.


The commitment of Kearns means the Demon Deacons have a very impressive quarterback class. Not only is the four-star pocket passer in the fold, but so is Kendall Hinton, who has already enrolled. The future of Wake Forest's quarterback position now has options and competition in Kearns, Hinton and sophomore-to-be John Wolford.

Another top target on hand this weekend for Wake Forest was former Tennessee running back commitment Rocky Reid. Reid has been active on Twitter all weekend during his official visit.


Reid visited Louisville last weekend prior to making the short trip to Wake Forest this weekend. He has an official visit scheduled to West Virginia Jan. 30.

Clemson

Meanwhile, at Clemson, the Tigers were hosting the top two offensive playmakers in their class in Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud III. The ESPN 300 prospects both tweeted out pictures that drew many a retweet from Clemson fans. Cain and McCloud posted this picture in Clemson jerseys along with All-ACC third-team receiver and sophomore-to-be Artavis Scott.


McCloud also tweeted a picture Saturday with Cain and Clemson president Jim Clements.


Keeping Cain and McCloud has been priority No. 1 for the Clemson staff. While both have remained solid, programs from around the country haven’t stopped recruiting the Tampa-area duo, and that is especially true with programs in the Sunshine State.

Miami

The Hurricanes had a second key visit weekend in a row. Headlining the group was four-star commitment Lawrence Cager and uncommitted senior riser defensive tackle Kevin Scott out of California. Scott took to Twitter throughout his visit to provide pictures and updates.


Scott has visited Purdue and Miami and is a possibility to visit Ole Miss Jan. 30. He also has an offer from USC, where he unofficially visited last week.

ACC's top recruiting visits 

January, 23, 2015
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It’s coming down to the wire. There are just two official visit weekends remaining for the Class of 2015 with national signing day Feb. 4. This weekend in the ACC will be key for several programs, with NC State trying to lock up a top-40 class.

[+] EnlargeJohnny Frasier.
Gerry Hamilton/ESPNESPN 300 running back Johnny Frasier is committed to Florida State but is visiting NC State this weekend.
NC State

It doesn’t get much bigger for the Wolfpack than this weekend. While there are likely only two official visitors, one would provide a huge perception win, ESPN 300 running back Johnny Frasier. Frasier, ranked No. 80, has been considered a “soft commit” to Florida State for months, and this weekend the in-state prospect will make his official visit to Raleigh, N.C., with a high probability of a flip before national signing day. For the Wolfpack, adding Frasier and Nyheim Hines’ speed and playmaking ability would make the 2015 class a success when combined with several other need-filling verbals. A second prospect who is a possibility to visit is East Carolina defensive end commit Emmanuel Olenga, who also has Nebraska knocking at his door.

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The shockwaves from Texas A&M quarterback commitment Kyler Murray’s unofficial visit to Texas on Wednesday were still being felt Thursday because he's such an important target for both schools.


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There are less than two weeks until national signing day, and five-star defensive end Byron Cowart is closing on his college decision. The No. 1-ranked player in the ESPN 300 had a top three of Auburn, Florida, and Florida State just last week, and now the 6-foot-3, 258-pound defensive end has dwindled his choices to two.

"I would have to say, just to be honest, Auburn and Florida are my top two schools," Cowart said. "I have to keep it professional -- I have to. Who knows, you see coaches and they go into the league, and when it’s time for you to get drafted you don’t want to have a bad name.

"A lot of guys say things that they back away from, and yeah I probably said 'yeah I like this school and I might end up coming here' but that’s probably how I was feeling at the time, but a lot of things happen and I just want people to know that I’m man enough to say 'thank you for recruiting me, but I might not go to your school.' But right now, truly, it will come down to Auburn and Florida. That’s just being honest."

That is somewhat of a surprise considering FSU coaches visited Cowart at his school on Wednesday afternoon and Cowart was scheduled to take his last visit to Florida State next weekend.

"The visit was good. It was different," Cowart said. "I haven’t had the heat put to me like that before. It’s crunch time, so they want me to come up for this last visit, but it’s like I already know what they can bring to the table, I already know what I can I get from Florida State the school. It’s just crazy, I just want to relax and get away, think and get my thoughts together, and that’s why I was like 'I don’t know if I’m going to do my last visit -- I don’t know if I’m going to go anywhere on my last visit.'

"I don’t want to make a mistake. Like my mom said, when you are rushing and you’re moving too fast sometimes you can make a mistake and go somewhere that you never even thought you would go. So I want to be in the right mind and be focused, and to know that this is the school I want to go to."


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ESPN 300 prospect Holton Hill is one of only three elite cornerbacks remaining on the board in the 2015 class, and that means coaches are doing all they can to land his commitment.


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One of the biggest success stories in the 2015 recruiting class has been Arkansas with its in-state recruits. The Razorbacks were 10-for-10 on players they had offered in Arkansas, but that changed Sunday when ESPN 300 receiver K.J. Hill backed off his pledge.


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Top recruiting targets in the ACC 

January, 16, 2015
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With national signing day less than a month away on Feb. 4, programs are looking to finish fast on the recruiting trail with a number of top targets still on the board. In the ACC, nearly every school still has potential difference-makers on the board.


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ACC's top recruiting visits 

January, 16, 2015
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The dead period is over, coaches are back on the road and this weekend will be the beginning of the race to the finish with national signing day on Feb. 4. That means it’s not only time to add key parts and finishing touches to 2015 classes, but also fight to hold on to commitments. That is certainly the case for the Miami Hurricanes, who headline the big recruiting weekends in the ACC.

Miami Hurricanes
[+] EnlargeJordan Scarlett
Tom Hauck for Student SportsThe Hurricanes are working to retain the commitment of Jordan Scarlett, who's scheduled to visit Florida and FSU.
The Hurricanes' visitor list this weekend features at least six ESPN 300 prospects, including commitments No. 103 Tyree St. Louis, No. 114 Mark Walton and No. 135 Jordan Scarlett. On the wish list visiting Coral Gables this weekend is No. 159 Marcus Lewis, No. 261 (and Texas commitment) Davante Davis and No. 299 Antonio Callaway. For Miami, this is a huge weekend in the recruitment of Scarlett as the speedy 210-pound back is scheduled to visit Florida Jan. 23 and Florida State Jan. 30. Lewis visited Kentucky Dec. 13 and seems destined for a Wildcats or Hurricanes decision, barring the unexpected. Davis and Callaway are huge recruits for Al Golden and staff. Simply put, the Hurricanes can’t afford to let Davis, from Booker T. Washington High, go to Texas or Florida. Callaway has visits to Auburn Jan. 19, Alabama Jan. 23 and Florida Jan. 30 on the horizon with Miami battling Gators assistant and former Hurricanes head coach Randy Shannon for two of Dade County’s best.

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SEFFNER, Fla. -- The new No. 1-ranked player in the ESPN 300, Byron Cowart, has had twists and turns throughout his recruitment. But with national signing day less than three weeks away, the five-star defensive end has narrowed his choices to three -- Auburn, Florida and Florida State -- and says he already has a destination in mind, but is not revealing it.

"Yes, sir, I just came up with it,” he said. "Me and my mom discussed it and we are good with our decision, so we know where we are going to go.”


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With the final edition of the 2015 ESPN 300 released, it’s time to look at several topics in the ACC. From the biggest battles to come for ACC teams to the best class in the conference to the player most likely to flip, here is a look at five hot-button recruiting topics within the conference.


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Top early enrollees: ACC 

January, 14, 2015
Jan 14
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Several programs in the ACC are expected to have early enrollees who will make major impacts this spring. Florida State is need of some instant-impact players with the NFL draft set to hurt the Seminoles. At Louisville, rebuilding the offensive line will be paramount if the Cardinals are to contend for the ACC championship in 2015. At Clemson, it’s all about replacing four starters and building depth on the defensive line.


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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Even it looks like there is momentum for an early signing period in mid-December, college coaches still are torn on whether that’s a good thing. Plus, what does an early signing period do to the financial aid agreements players are already signing?


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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Most coaches at AFCA agree an early signing period is a good thing, but when to have it will be a hot topic at Tuesday’s NCAA recruiting seminar.


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