NCF On The Trail: ACC

LSU and Texas A&M have become bigger rivals on the field and in recruiting now that both are in the SEC. Plus, few programs are trending like Ohio State is on the field and on the recruiting trail.

The defending National Champion Florida State Seminoles will play host to arch rival Florida Gators Saturday with some of 2015 and 2016's top prospects in the Sunshine State and beyond in attendance.

When looking at the Seminoles, and some of the very key battles Florida State beat Florida on in recent years, it's a clear indication of how impactful difference-maker skill players can be, and how much the 2013 4-8 season for the Gators was a crushing blow to the current Florida offense.

Here are five battles that Florida State won, all of whom will be key players Saturday.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

November, 25, 2014
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The weekend that was in the ACC was filled with a number of key official visits, including a trio of ESPN300 prospects. While the news of Josh Sweat's visit to Florida State takes center stage for many, both Wake Forest and Georgia Tech picked up key commitments, as well as a 2016 quarterback giving his verbal to Virginia.


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Early Offer: Malik Jefferson's final 7 

November, 24, 2014
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Malik Jefferson reduced his list to seven schools on Monday, and though the list is hardly a surprise, recruiters think there are still some in store with the No. 35 player in the country.

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Best of the visits: ACC

November, 23, 2014
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This weekend in the ACC was a chance for a couple of programs to show they are headed in the right direction. Not only did Wake Forest have a number of top targets on hand over the weekend, but the Demon Deacons delivered with a 6-3 double-overtime win over Virginia Tech. Meanwhile, Virginia won in decisive fashion over Miami (Fla.), 30-13.

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons had a number of top targets in Winston-Salem over the weekend, and the list included top playmaking target and ESPN 300 No. 149 Nyheim Hines, along with his twin sister, who is being recruited by Wake Forest in track. Hines snapped this pic and tweeted it out Saturday with the Demon Deacons mascot.


Hines is considered a lean to NC State over Wake Forest, Duke, Virginia Tech and others, with the Wolfpack being his childhood favorite and having offered his sister a track scholarship as well.

Another four-star visitor on hand this weekend at Wake Forest was Lawrence Cager, who spent time with Demon Deacon commitments Kahlil Welsh and Steven Claude Saturday during the big win over Virginia Tech.


Claude also took to Twitter before Saturday’s game to post a picture with Welsh in the Demon Deacons football offices.


Welsh flipped his commitment from Florida Atlantic to Wake Forest after the Demon Deacons offered on Nov. 6.

Miami at Virginia

Not only did Virginia and Mike London get a huge win over the Hurricanes Saturday to the tune of 30-13, they also picked a commitment from ESPN Junior 300 No. 162 Sonny Abramson after the signal-caller arrived in Charlottesville Friday night.


The commitment of Abramson is a key one for the Cavaliers with the future of the quarterback position in question, both in terms of starter and depth. He selected Virginia over Iowa, Vanderbilt, Duke and Wake Forest.

Syracuse at Pittsburgh

ESPN 300 No. 17 Tim Settle visited Pittsburgh for its 30-7 win against Syracuse on Saturday.


While Pittsburgh is not considered a serious player in the Under Armour All-America Game selection's recruitment, any time a program can get a prospect on campus they have a shot -- even if minimal. Settle is scheduled to officially visit USC and Washington State the next two weeks, with Virginia Tech and Tennessee considered the frontrunner over Penn State.

Settle was accompanied on the visit by 2016 athlete Eric Kumah, who was offered by the Panthers staff Saturday.


The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Kumah had offers from Virginia Tech, Maryland, Tennessee and Boston College before the Pitt offer Saturday.

ACC's top recruiting visits 

November, 21, 2014
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There isn’t a marquee game this weekend in the ACC that will bring out prospects by the dozens. With that said, there are three programs hosting big-time and key 2015 prospects this weekend that will certainly take center stage. While No. 5 Josh Sweat has a lot of attention in the ACC at Florida State this weekend, Clemson is set to host one of the nation's top defensive tackles and Wake Forest hosts a speedy playmaker that the Demon Deacons desperately need in the program.


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Early Offer: Who will land Soso Jamabo? 

November, 20, 2014
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Soso Jamabo loved visits to UCLA and Notre Dame, but is it too early to count out the Texas schools? Plus, NC State added a key pledge on Wednesday that should give the Wolfpack much-needed help on the offensive line.

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UA jersey tour: Jeffery Holland

November, 20, 2014
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Four-star outside linebacker Jeffery Holland was presented with their Under Armour All-America Game jersey Thursday afternoon in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance. Holland was joined by his teammates Kevin Toliver II and Kendrick Norton, who were also selected for the game. The ceremony took place in front of friends, coaches, teammates and media members at the Trinity Christian School auditorium in Jacksonville, Florida.

The No. 4-ranked outside linebacker and the 40th-ranked prospect overall in the ESPN 300 said he felt honored to be selected to one of the top All-American games in the country.

"It’s a dream come true," Holland said. "I watched it when I was younger, and it’s always something I’ve wanted to be a part of. It’s real big to me."

Holland, at one point, had Florida and Auburn as his leaders, but with Florida head coach Will Muschamp stepping down at the end of the season, things have started to change for Holland.

"It’s kind of up in the air right now. Florida State, they're in it now. Auburn they are still in it. I haven’t talked to them in a while -- but they are still in it. I’m starting to talk to Florida State a lot, I know they are in my top five right now."

Despite being open in his recruitment, Holland said he does have a top five list of schools.

"I’d say Florida, FSU, Auburn, UCLA and probably Alabama are my top five right now," he said.

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Seven questions with Jeffery Holland

Who was the best player you ever saw play in the Under Armour game?

Holland: Jamie Harper is a guy I remember playing in the game because he went here and he did a flip in the end zone after he scored. I can flip, too.

If you could start a team with any other player in your class, who would it be?

Holland: Probably CeCe Jefferson. We played on the same little league team. That’s been my boy for a long time.

If you could go one-on-one with any other player in the country, who would it be?

Holland: I’d probably want to go against Martez Ivey. I’ve never gone against him, and I’d like to go against the No. 1 tackle in the country.

If you could take on a professional athlete in their sport, who would it be and why?

Holland: I want Cam Newton. I just want to sack him. He talked too much trash at that seven-on-seven event in Bradenton.

What would you like to improve on before you get to college?

Holland: I just want to improve on my technique. I need to add more moves to my tool belt. I know I got the speed rush, but I need to add the spin move and the club.

What are you looking forward to most about going to Orlando?

Holland: Just going and hanging out with some of the top players in the country. Just having fun and having a good game.

What is something about yourself that not many people know about?

Holland: I’m a top angler. I’m a fisherman.

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UA jersey tour: Kendrick Norton

November, 20, 2014
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Four-star lineman Kendrick Norton joined five-star teammate Kevin Toliver II and ESPN 300 linebacker Jeffery Holland in being presented with their Under Armour All-America Game jerseys Thursday afternoon in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance. The ceremony took place in front of friends, coaches, teammates and media members at the Trinity Christian School auditorium in Jacksonville, Florida.

The 99th-ranked prospect in the ESPN 300 said he felt honored to be selected to one of the top All-America games in the country.

“It just really cool that I’m maybe one of like 100 guys that gets to participate in this event. It’s an honor to play in the game."

Norton at one time was committed to FSU, but has since backed off and is considering other schools such as Miami, Florida, Ole Miss and UCLA. Though ranked as an offensive guard, Norton prefers the defensive line and several teams are recruiting him as a defensive tackle.

“I’m basically wide open,” Norton said of his recruitment. "I’m going to take a second look at Florida but basically I’m wide open. Miami wants me on the defensive line. They’ve been recruiting me real hard. Al Golden, Jethro Franklin, they talk to me every day.”

So far the ESPN 300 lineman hasn’t taken any official visits but that will soon change.

"I haven’t taken any official visits yet but I might go to Ole Miss on Jan. 29 and I’ll probably go to UCLA after the season,” he said. "Probably Miami after the season too."

Seven questions with Kendrick Norton

Who was the best player you ever saw play in the Under Armour game?

Norton: I remember watching Jamie Harper (former Trinity Christian running back) growing up. I didn’t really know who he was until I got to Trinity and I found out he actually played here but I remember watching him in the game.

If you could start a team with any other player in your class who would it be?

Norton: I’d say my entire team. I think we have a great team.

If you could go one-on-one with any other player in the country who would it be?

Norton: Whoever's the No. 1-ranked offensive guard in the country. Whoever that is, I'd want to take him on.

What's your earliest football memory?

Norton: My ninth-grade year, it was the first time I’d ever been trap-blocked. He hit me and my helmet came flying off.

If you could take on a professional athlete in their sport, who would it be and why?

Norton: Kobe Bryant. He’s the first person that came to mind other than LeBron.

What would you like to improve on before you get to college?

Norton: Just make sure I’m in shape and work on my first step and pad level.

What’s something about yourself that not many people know about?

Norton: I’m a comedian.

UA jersey tour: Kevin Toliver II

November, 20, 2014
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Five-star defensive back Kevin Toliver II was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Thursday afternoon in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance. The ceremony took place in front of friends, coaches, teammates and media members at the Trinity Christian School auditorium in Jacksonville, Florida.

The No. 1-ranked cornerback and the sixth-ranked player overall in the ESPN 300 said he felt honored to be selected to one of the top All-American games in the country.

“It feels very good to be selected to the Under Armour All-America game,” Toliver said. “This is an accomplishment that I wanted to receive in my life and I just can’t wait to showcase my talents on the field."

Toliver has been committed to LSU for over two years. The talented cornerback has never seemed to waiver, however, he has taken visits to Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Florida State and many wonder how strong his commitment to the Tigers really is. Toliver said his last trip to Baton Rouge certainly helped answer some questions he had.

“My last visit to LSU for that Alabama game was real good,” Toliver said. “I got to experience one of the loudest stadiums in the country and it was a very good experience for me and it just made my commitment stronger.”
Seven questions with Kevin Toliver II

Who was the best player you ever saw play in the Under Armour game?

Toliver: Just last year when I got a chance to stand on the sideline and see what the players go through and everything and seeing how they interact on the field. It was cool watching all of them. Speedy Noil really stood out to me though.

If you could start a team with any other player in your class who would it be?

Toliver: I would have to say Derwin James. Think we’d have a great team.

If you could go one-on-one with any other player in the country who would it be?

Toliver: Tyron Johnson, the No. 1 wide receiver in the country.

What's your earliest football memory?

Toliver: I’d say when I got my first offer from FIU. It was just a stepping stone and let me know to keep working hard and know that my parents wouldn’t have to pay for college if I keep working.

If you could take on a professional athlete in their sport, who would it be and why?

Toliver: I’d say Michael Crabtree. He talks a lot, I talk a lot. I think it would be a good matchup.

What would you like to improve on before you get to LSU?

Toliver: I’d say just my all around skills at defensive back. I just need to work on everything. Everybody is good at the next level.

What’s something about yourself that not many people know about?

Toliver: How hard I work away from the field when nobody is looking.

ESPN Jr. 300: What to know in the ACC 

November, 19, 2014
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With the latest update to the ESPN Junior 300, here is a list of things to know in the ACC with the coaches set to hit the road in a matter of weeks to finish off the 2015 class, but make further evaluations on the Class of 2016.


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There have been some interesting names linked to the Florida opening, but several coaches believe Marshall's Doc Holliday could be a good recruiting fit in Gainesville. Plus, many expected ESPN 300 OT Chuma Edoga to flip from USC to Georgia, but it looks like the Trojans have won the battle in the end.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

November, 18, 2014
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A big weekend of recruiting in the ACC is in the rearview mirror. While the Miami-Florida State game took the cake in terms of visitors as expected, there was plenty of news around the conference, specifically in the class of 2016, with a big commitment and early offer of note.


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Duke has upped its recruiting efforts in ACC territory and that has helped reel in talented recruits such as ESPN Junior 300 TE Mark Birmingham. Plus, Arizona State already has three pledges from Louisiana thanks largely to the recruiting efforts of offensive coordinator Mike Norvell.

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ESPN 300 receiver Tyron Johnson said he’s “80 percent” sure of where he’s going but things could change dramatically if LSU steps up its pursuit. The battle to land Nick Brossette will be one of the biggest storylines heading into the final months of recruiting.

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