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Wednesday, September 18, 2013
ACC class rankings analysis

By Jared Shanker



With several of the conference’s programs on a bye last weekend, coaching staffs were provided the opportunity to check out recruiting targets during Friday night at high school games. It didn’t result in any 2014 or 2015 commitments, but North Carolina coach Larry Fedora got an early start to a future class with 2016 commit Antonio Williams. Here's a look at how the ACC is faring in the class rankings.

Trending up: There was not any movement among ACC team’s in the rankings, but Clemson is positioning itself nicely for a late run just before signing day. Five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) continues to push the Tigers toward the top of his list. Dabo Swinney and his staff made a strong impression on McMillan, who visited Clemson for the opener against Georgia a few weeks ago. He will be back in Clemson for an official visit on Oct. 18. The Buckeyes still look to be the leader for McMillan, but the Tigers are closing the gap.

Trending down: It is not meant to pile on Wake Forest, where Jim Grobe made the Demon Deacons relevant in the ACC earlier this decade. However, the Deacons have fallen far since winning the ACC in 2006 and playing in the Orange Bowl. Wake lost to Louisiana-Monroe at home last weekend -- a loss that will only hurt a recruiting class that is already near the bottom of the ACC. Wake does not have a commitment ranked higher than three stars.

What to watch: Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page) visited Clemson earlier this season for the Georgia game, and the Hot Board projects him to the Tigers. The No. 27 player in the ESPN 300 will see the Tigers again Thursday when he visits in-state program NC State. It is a visit that could benefit both schools depending on the atmosphere and outcome. Featherston contends he is still considering NC State, and Thursday’s game against Clemson should be the Wolfpack’s biggest home game this season. For the Tigers, it is another opportunity to impress Featherston, even though Clemson comes in as the road team.

Bold prediction: Three-star tight end Ryan Izzo (Sparta, N.H./Pope John XXIII) officially visited Florida State this past weekend and raved about his trip to Tallahassee. He enjoyed spending time with the coaches and is excited about the opportunity to catch passes from quarterback Jameis Winston, who is dominating the early headlines from the 2013 season. Izzo will make a decision this week, and it looks as if the Seminoles are in the best position. His other finalists are Rutgers and Wisconsin, which he officially visited the weekend of Sept. 6.