NCF On The Trail: ACC

ACC's top recruiting visits 

September, 19, 2014
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This weekend kicks off the meat of the big visit weekends for the ACC with the marquee matchup of Clemson at Florida State taking center stage. Not to be outdone, Virginia Tech has a very big weekend on the horizon featuring the nations top ranked prospect.

Georgia has offered boxing great Evander Holyfield’s son a scholarship, and the Dawgs seem ready to deliver the knockout. Plus, Kansas State hosts Auburn in one of the biggest games ever in Manhattan, but there won’t be a lot of recruits in the stands.


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Numbers tell us it’s USC that rules the roost over the years with the top-ranked prospects in California. Plus, UCLA has officially signed Josh Rosen, the Bruins’ most important recruit in years, to a financial aid agreement.

1. Since ESPN started ranking players in 2006, only four different schools have signed the top player in California. Those four schools are USC, Colorado, Washington and Notre Dame. You could say five if you count Eddie Vanderdoes as a Bruin signee in the 2013 class, but he did ink with Notre Dame on signing day and later transferred to UCLA. During that timeframe, though, USC has signed the top California player in the 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2014 classes. The Trojans have a good shot at doing it again in 2015 as many insiders believe five-star cornerback Iman Marshall is USC’s to lose.

[+] EnlargeDeon Cain
Tom Hauck for Student SportsClemson commit Deon Cain has 184 yards passing yards and 197 yards rushing in two games.
2. There was never, ever any doubt about how solid No. 1 ranked pocket-passing quarterback Josh Rosen was to UCLA. But Rosen, the No. 19 player in the country, took his commitment to the next level on Monday when he signed a financial aid agreement with the Bruins. Rosen remains the top-ranked prospect to commit to a Pac 12 program, and in my opinion, he is also the most important recruit in the conference with the Bruins’ quarterback race next season expected to be wide open since most UCLA observers believe Brett Hundley will depart for the NFL after his junior season.

3. How good has Clemson commit Deon Cain been in Tampa Bay (Florida) Tech’s first two games of the season? Cain, the nation’s No. 25 player, has been so good that Tech coach Jayson Roberts said he’s going to have to find somebody else to help do something on offense because he’s afraid he’s going to “break Deon’s back” from carrying the load. “Deon has been about 90 percent of our offense,” Roberts said. “The good thing is that he’s doing exactly what we want him to do, but the bad thing is that somebody else on the team is going to have to step up to help him out. But he’s been doing a tremendous job for us.” So far, Cain has 184 yards passing and 197 yards rushing in two games. He’s also caught a few passes and is returning punts and kickoffs. “He’s doing everything but driving the bus for us,” Roberts said.

Social Studies
There’s little doubt as to which school ESPN 300 quarterback Sheriron Jones is committed to. Check out the picture he posted Tuesday on his birthday.



Schools tweet posts like this one sent out by Baylor Tuesday and fans think they’re meant for them. Wrong. Tweets like these are meant to impress recruits and what’s scary is that the Bears have another good receiver in the 2015 class heading to Waco. Don’t forget about ESPN 300 receiver longtime Baylor commit Devontre Stricklin. He’s got the talent to be a huge impact player for the Bears.



The Under Armour All-America jersey tour continued on Tuesday with Auburn offensive line commitment Bailey Sharp receiving his jersey on Tuesday. To read more about the tour check out RecruitingNation’s coverage.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

September, 16, 2014
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Though next weekend begins the bulk of the key recruiting weekends in ACC play featuring some of the nation's top prospects on campuses within the conference, this past weekend featured a key commitment for Virginia Tech, and one of the Miami Hurricanes' top commitments making an unofficial visit to an SEC power.


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Early Offer: Could LSU lose RB pledge? 

September, 15, 2014
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Should LSU fans be worried that Tigers running back commit Nick Brossette plans to take official visits to other schools, and South Carolina's defense is about to get even better thanks to JUCO linebacker Davon Durant?


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Early Offer: Sunderland a key get for OU 

September, 14, 2014
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Oklahoma landed two high-profile recruits this weekend, but scoring a pledge from ESPN 300 safety Will Sunderland Jr. is about as big as it gets. Plus, Boston College will be able to use its victory over then top-10 USC as a big selling point on the recruiting trail.


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Best of the visits: ACC

September, 14, 2014
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From Boston College’s upset over No. 9 USC to Virginia’s win over Top 25 Louisville to Virginia Tech picking up a 2016 ESPN Junior 300 quarterback commitment despite the upset loss against East Carolina, prospects took to social media to show just how much fun they had on their trips.

Here is a look at some of the best posts, pictures and reaction from the weekend.

Boston College vs. USC

The scene on Alumni Field Saturday night following Boston College’s 37-31 upset win over No. 9-ranked USC was the talk of recruits in attendance.

ESPN 300 No. 288 Wyatt Knopfke summed up the experience on twitter.



Knopfke also snapped a picture of the Boston College fans storming the field after the win.



For the Eagles, this win is big for helping close out the 2015 class and any hopes Boston College has of pulling the upset for ESPN 300 No. 83 Christian Wilkins (officially visited Stanford over the weekend), but it was bigger when looking ahead to the classes of 2016 and 2017. This is a signature win that Steve Addazio and staff can build upon with future classes on the trail.

Virginia vs. Louisville

The top prospect to make the trip to Charlottesville for the Virginia Cavaliers' upset win over the Louisville Cardinals was ESPN 300 No. 15 and five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle.



“It was exciting,” Settle said. “I was happy to watch them beat Louisville!”

When diving deeper into Settle’s recruitment, he has been on the campuses of Virginia and Virginia Tech this season. The Hokies are in his top five along with Alabama, Florida State, Penn State and Tennessee. This win can only help the Cavaliers stay in the fight for the uber-talented interior prospect.

Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina

While the Hokies would have liked to continue to build momentum on the field after last week’s win over Ohio State, Frank Beamer and staff used the momentum created last week to reel in one of 2016’s top quarterback prospects. ESPN Junior 300 No. 258 Logan Byrd was in Blacksburg Saturday and ended the unofficial visit with a commitment.



Byrd’s visit to Virginia Tech was a big hit for Hokies fans, as #HokieNation showed love to the 6-foot-3, 230-pound quarterback from Georgia throughout the day.



Byrd’s commitment is a big one in 2016 but is also another shot in the arm for the Hokies with next weekend’s official visitor list being headlined by ESPN 300 No. 1 overall Josh Sweat.

UA jersey tour: Terry Beckner Jr.

September, 13, 2014
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He’s ranked as the No. 4 player in the country, the No. 1 player in Illinois and the top overall prospect in the Midwest. But there is one honor that five-star defensive end Terry Beckner Jr. said he is most proud of -- being an Under Armour All-American.

Beckner was presented with his Under Armour All-America jersey Saturday in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance at halftime of his football game at East St. Louis (Illinois) High School. Beckner, who has more than 40 scholarships from schools coast-to-coast, said this was a special moment he would never forget.



“This is a big deal,” Beckner said.

Darren Sunkett is one of the longest tenured coaches in the St. Louis area and has coached hundreds of players that have gone on to play college football, but he said Beckner is one of his best ever.

"He has great athleticism for his size,” Sunkett said. “At 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds, he can actually move like he's 6-foot-1 and 185. He's a very athletic kid. We move him around inside and outside depending on the team and scheme we are facing."

Beckner is the first to admit, he is a man of few words, both on and off the field, but Sunkett said to not be fooled by his star defensive lineman’s quiet demeanor.

"Terry is real quiet, not a rah-rah guy, not very vocal and is short on words,” Sunkett said. “But his actions on field speak for themselves. He leads by example. He will meet every challenge he is faced with. He steps up to meet challenges. Terry never misses a weight room session, even during basketball. He is in the weight room after and leading by his efforts as a captain."

As far as recruiting goes, Beckner said he is adamant on waiting until his senior season is over before focusing too much on favorites. At one point he said Missouri was the team to beat for him, but he’s backed off that some and says he’s now “wide open.”

“My focus is on my season now,” he said. “I won’t worry about recruiting until it’s over. I’m an East St. Louis Flyer now and that is what’s important.”

Beckner said his mind is so focused on his senior season that he couldn’t even name which five schools would get an official visit at this point. When asked if Missouri would get one for sure, he said the Tigers “maybe” would. Sunkett said Beckner would likely wait until his season is over before he takes any official visits and with four of his high school games on Saturdays, Beckner is going to have a very limited window for unofficial visits to college games.

"I think Terry wants to play in the SEC, though,” Sunkett said. “He is taking it slow and is more in a wait and see situation. FSU in the ACC is a school he is interested in, too."

LSU, Ohio State and Oregon have been other schools Beckner has talked highly about in the past.

ACC's top recruiting visits 

September, 12, 2014
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Let’s call this week around the ACC the calm before the storm. A number of visits feature top prospects within the region are making official visits to schools outside the conference, and they are certainly impactful leading up to next weekend’s slew of big-time recruiting visits.

D.J. Jones
Commitment: Florida State
While the ESPN JC50 will not be released until later in the season, the name D.J. Jones is sure to be high on the list. The highly-coveted defensive tackle out of East Mississippi Community College remains a soft commitment to the Seminoles, but his recruitment gets a lot more interesting with this weekend's official visit to South Carolina. The former star at Wren High in Piedmont, South Carolina will not only visit the Gamecocks from within his home state, but a trip to Clemson is also a possibility. With Jones having already made his official visit to Tallahassee in July and scheduled to graduate from EMCC in December, this trip is the potential game-changer in his recruitment. The fact that he is friends with Gamecocks junior-college commitments Davon Durant and Marquavius Lewis out of Greenwood High only bolsters the Gamecocks chances.


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To win at the highest level in the SEC, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze knows he has to recruit well in Memphis, Tennessee, and Charlie Strong's job of returning Texas to the top just got more difficult after the loss to BYU this past weekend.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

September, 9, 2014
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The ACC once again had a weekend on the recruiting front without a number of big-time official visitors or a large number of commitments. With that said, Florida State made national news Friday, and the nation's No. 1 prospect made his first official visit -- which impacts the ACC.

Biggest commitment: Florida State


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today's offerings: James Franklin and Penn State was already building one of the best classes in the country, and Monday's news that the Nittany Lions were eligible for postseason play will help them build an even better class. Plus, recruits across the country agreed with the NFL and the Ravens' decision to distance themselves from Ray Rice, and we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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Best of the visits: ACC

September, 7, 2014
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While nine ACC teams hosted opponents over the weekend, the big game on the recruiting trail in the conference took place in Columbus, Ohio, with Virginia Tech upsetting Ohio State 35-21.

As expected, the Hokies' big win sent Twitter into a Virginia Tech frenzy during the latter stages following the big win for Frank Beamer and staff.

This one is music to the ears of Hokies fans, ESPN300 No. and five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle during the fourth quarter.

When looking at Settle’s recruitment, Tennessee and Penn State have been atop the list recently. With that said, Settle was on campus in Blacksburg last weekend with good friend and No. 61 Matthew Burrell Jr., who was on an official visit this weekend at Ohio State and watched the Hokies beat one of schools considered to be Burrell Jr.’s favorites.

No. 90 overall Jalen Dalton took in the North Carolina game against San Diego State Saturday night. The Tar Heels are considered a forgone conclusion to land the Under Armour All-America defensive end, but the 6-foot-6, 235-pound sent out a pair of tweets following the Hokies huge win from his protected account while still on campus in Chapel Hill.

@JalenDalton5 … “I know Blacksburg is going crazy right now.” , and “Wish I was there right now.”

While it’s very likely that Dalton ends up committing to North Carolina in the not so distant future, this is the type of win by Virginia Tech that could very well get Dalton and family back up to Blacksburg for one more look before a decision is made, and Sept. 20 is a target date for the Hokies on the trail with nations no. 1 Josh Sweat scheduled to make his official visit that weekend.

Another top defensive target, No. 118 Ricky DeBerry chimed in on the impressive performance by the Hokies' defense.

DeBerry has official visits scheduled to Oklahoma Sept. 12, Alabama Sept. 19, Tennessee Oct. 3 and Texas A&M Oct. 10 with one official visit date remaining open. Programs such as Virginia Tech, Virginia, Penn State, Ohio State and others remain in the mix.

More than the class of 2015, this win for Virginia Tech could help kick tart the class of 2016 recruiting effort. One top target on the board for both programs is ESPNJr300 No. 24 Dwayne Haskins, who was watching the game all the way through with Ohio State having been his childhood favorite.

Four-star cornerback commitment Mook Reynolds fired off this tweet shortly following the Hokies huge road win in front of a national audience.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: George Campbell is one of the most highly sought after players in the country, but the five-star athlete will announce his decision Friday on ESPN.com’s RecruitingNation. Plus, we now know when No. 5 cornerback Tarvarus McFadden will announce his decision, and the battle to land him involves five of the best recruiters in the country. We also continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: A lot of eyebrows were raised when class of 2017 quarterback Tate Martell committed to Washington, but he proved this past Friday night he’s the real deal. Plus, Oklahoma won’t only be hosting Tennessee next weekend, but the Sooners are also expected to bring in more than 13 impact recruits on official visits. We also continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.

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