National Signing Day 2013 Predictions: How Will the ACC Fare Tomorrow?

We Try to Guess Where Top Recruits Like Matthew Thomas Are Headed Tomorrow

We Try to Guess Where Top Recruits Like Matthew Thomas Are Headed Tomorrow

National Signing Day is upon us (almost)! And before letters of intent start getting faxed to various institutions of higher education around the country, we wanted to take one final look at which of the country’s top undecided recruits could land at ACC schools. No, we won’t mention Robert Nkemdiche here… Robert Nkemdiche.

Matthew Thomas, OLB (5 Stars)

Our PickFlorida State; Also In ContentionMiami (FL), Alabama, Georgia

Montravious Adams, DT (5 Stars)

Our PickClemson; Also In ContentionAuburn, Georgia

MacKensie Alexander, CB (5 Stars)

Our PickMississippi State; Also In Contention – Clemson, Auburn

Stacy Coley, WR (4 Stars)

Our Pick – Florida State; Also in Contention – Miami (FL), Syracuse, Louisville

James Clark, WR (4 Stars)

Our PickFlorida; Also In Contention – Clemson, Ohio State

Tyrone Crowder, OG (4 Stars)

Our Pick – Clemson; Also in ContentionNorth Carolina, Georgia

Denver Kirkland, OG (4 Stars)

Our PickArkansas; Also in Contention – Florida State, Miami (FL)

E.J. Levenberry, ILB (4 Stars)

Our PickTennessee; Also in Contention – Florida State

Update (2/5, 5:38 p.m. PT): Florida State holds onto Levenberry (via Tomahawk Nation)

Keith Bryant, DT (4 Stars)

Our PickSouth Carolina; Also in Contention – Florida State, Miami (FL)

Cornelius Elder, ATH (4 Stars)

Our PickUCLA; Also In ContentionGeorgia Tech, Ohio State, Purdue

Myles Jack, OLB/RB (4 Stars)

Our Pick – UCLA; Also In Contention – Florida State, Washington, Georgia

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Can the Wake Forest Football Program Remain Competitive?

Is the College Football Landscape Making it Impossible for Schools Like Wake to Compete?

Is the College Football Landscape Making it Impossible for Schools Like Wake to Compete?

While assembling the daily links for Wednesday, I happened upon an interesting story from Rant Sports, “Can the Wake Forest Demon Deacons Stay Competitive in ACC Football?” On a top-level, author M. Shannon Smallwood, takes a quick look at how Wake Forest and head coach Jim Grobe have continued to compete despite lesser resources and prestige than many of their counterparts, both locally and nationally. But I wanted to dig a bit deeper into that discussion, and really talk about the factors the school’s up against in the evolving college football environment. So rather than just chat about it by myself, I decided to bring in the author himself. What follows is our email conversation from yesterday:

John Cassillo: Can Wake Forest hope to compete in football in the future? With the conference’s smallest athletic budget and an influx of “richer” teams (Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, and “sort of” Notre Dame) coming in the ACC door, how are they going to play catch-up? Or better question: Can they play catch-up with the conference’s 14 other schools?

M. Shannon Smallwood: I am the eternal optimist so I have to believe the leadership in the Athletic Department and the President of the University are capable and smart enough to realize what decisions need to be made in order to keep the school afloat. But the reality is the landscape just got a lot more challenging for Wake Forest on every level.

I am working on my first ACC Football Power Rankings for Rant Sports (posting on Saturday) and I have Wake in the bottom three in the new-look ACC. I just don’t think the Demon Deacons will be able to put the depth of talent on the field to compete for four quarters in every game. I do think they can recruit and put 25 or so top level athletes on offense and defense, but its the athletes from 26 to 85, I am worried about.

I will say this is not a game of “catch up”. I think if you are a school looking at the landscape and, as an AD or President, you say “we need to catch up with the other members of the ACC,” you are setting yourself and your school up for disaster. Case-in-point: Maryland. The Terps made some terrible decisions and were/are bankrupt until the Big 10 bailed them out. Could Wake, Boston College or Duke ever be in a situation like Maryland? I don’t think so. I think there are some deep pockets and smarter folks at these three schools. But to be successful, you have to win. You have to create a buzz around campus, the town and the nation.

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Top-Ranked Recruit Robert Nkemdiche De-Commits From Clemson

Top-Ranked Recruit Robert Nkemdiche — Formerly Headed for Clemson — is Now Back on the Open Market

After months of speculation and rumors, top-ranked recruit Robert Nkemdiche has de-committed from Clemson, according to his high school coach. The Grayson (Ga.) High School senior has now said he’ll be making his final decision on signing day. Alabama, Georgia and Ole Missappear to be the new frontrunners for his services.

The biggest issue here, as so expertly laid out by SB Nation’s Shakin’ the Southland earlier, is Nkemdiche’s mother’s misunderstanding of the process, and ultimately it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back by most accounts. Her displeasure with his commitment to Clemson has been well-documented and is believe to be the main driver here. Nkemdiche’s brother, Denzel Nkemdiche, currently plays linebacker for Ole Miss, which is how they’ve become a favorite of their mother, who resides in Nigeria.

As for the issues here, it’s best to let Shakin’ the Southland tell it. More than anything, it’s a misunderstanding of the rules on the part of Nkemdiche’s mother, who believes Mississippi is more interested:

“Why hasn’t Nkemdiche’s mom been contacted, you ask? Because she has been–by phone, by email, by Facebook, by hand written letter. Placing a call to the staff (or even me) would get you that information. The question should be when was she contacted and there are conflicting opinions, reports on this. Nkemdiche’s mom says she wasn’t told about the commitment (or she wasn’t allowed to sanction the commitment) when Robert made the decision. Obviously living in Nigeria made that difficult for the staff. More importantly though, Ole Miss gets to communicate freely because they have a brother at the school. As a parent not knowing the rules and intricacies of NCAA regulations on recruiting, it is very understandable to feel that Ole Miss is showing you a lot of love and Clemson is not. Clemson’s hands are tied and the staff can only make contact during certain time periods.”

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ACC Football Recruiting Class of 2013 Rankings Update (October 26)

Rumors Swirl Around Robert Nkemdiche, but Clemson’s Class Continues to Rank Among Country’s Best

We’ve revamped recruiting coverage since last month’s update, now showing more in-depth comparisons from several services, as opposed to just one. While in-season recruiting has slowed up some, we still saw movement over the past month, with some of the top teams adding to their stockpile of solid recruits. The speculation around number-one recruit Robert Nkemdiche also continues, as Clemson fans hold their breath and hope he remains committed.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of ACC recruiting rankings from Rivals, 247Sports and Scout, as well as a breakdown of ACC players currently ranked in the ESPN 300.

ACC Football 2013 Recruiting Rankings (October 26)

Each service compiles rankings with a different scoring system, using the total number of points accumulated per school to decide their rank compared to all other classes. However, this also provides an unfair advantage to larger classes, emphasizing quantity over quality. With that in mind, we also included averages, to account for high-quality, smaller classes. For some schools, like Miami, numbers jumped up considerably under this guidance, while schools like Maryland and Pittsburgh saw their rankings plummet when emphasizing averages. Also note that while Scout and Rivals use the standard “stars” system (1-5), 247Sports has an algorithm out of 100 that they explain on their site. Under “composite” below, you’ll find the average ranking score for each school (using both total score and average score), so we can get a much fuller picture on the quality of respective classes using a variety of methods.

TEAM Total Players Scout (pts) Scout (avg) Rivals (pts) Rivals (avg) 247 (pts) 247 (avg) Composite
Clemson 19 12 13 (3.53) 11 13 (3.47) 9 16 (89.26) 12.33
Florida State 16 16 18 (3.38) 14 15 (3.44) 16 12 (90) 18.20
Virginia Tech 19 26 23 (3.19) 16 18 (3.33) 12 17 (89.11) 18.67
North Carolina 19 18 25 (3.11) 17 24 (3.21) 17 19 (88.26) 20.00
Miami 11 27 6 (3.80) 42 12 (3.55) 40 14 (89.64) 23.50
Virginia 20 29 33 (2.94) 19 23 (3.22) 18 24 (87.05) 24.33
Maryland 17 44 51 (2.71) 40 59 (2.76) 28 41 (84.12) 43.83
Georgia Tech 13 50 41 (2.85) 49 33 (3.08) 54 44 (83.77) 45.17
Pittsburgh 19 38 44 (2.78) 37 70 (2.58) 41 56 (81.89) 47.67
NC State 20 54 67 (2.39) 29 49 (2.89) 43 57 (81.65) 49.83
Boston College 17 61 77 (2.31) 50 64 (2.69) 51 59 (81.24) 60.33
Duke 16 58 68 (2.38) 53 72 (2.56) 56 62 (80.75) 61.50
Syracuse 9 74 73 (2.33) 80 60 (2.75) 86 60 (81.11) 72.17
Wake Forest 11 70 63 (2.46) 72 75 (2.55) 81 84 (78.45) 74.17

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ACC Media Days 2012: Top 10 Storylines

We Give a Rundown of the Top 10 Topics You’ll Be Hearing About at ACC Media Days, Which Start This Sunday

It’s nearly football season. Or at least I keep telling myself as much. But it’s getting even closer with ACC Media Days starting this Sunday, July 22. While I’ll be down in North Carolina myself next week, it sadly won’t be for the event. Nonetheless, I’ll be paying a visit to Chapel Hill and hopefully engaging in some lively banter with locals about BBQ and the upcoming football season.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 talking points we’re likely to see addressed at media days. Some topics (like the top item), commissioner John Swofford and the coaches will have plenty to say about. While others, like the ongoing institutional issues at two universities in particular, will be pushed aside in a valiant attempt to forget about them for two days. Without further ado, your guide to ACC Media Days 2012:

1. Syracuse & Pittsburgh Joining in 2013: After both schools announced separate $7.5M settlements for early exits from the Big East, there’s finally a date attached to their arrival. And while there won’t be any representatives from either institution at the event, there’s bound to be a ton of questions. With the 14-team model now ready to go for next season, we’ll hear all about the new scheduling conventions, permanent rivals, and overall feelings about traveling up to New York and Pittsburgh (odds are no one beyond Boston College is that thrilled). All of this will be framed within the “new era of the ACC” narrative, and everyone will be told how much bigger, better and different things will be.

2. Where are Discussions With Notre Dame at?: This will be a hot topic amongst media attendees, even if Swofford will likely try and pretend there’s nothing going on whatsoever. The league offices have admitted to conversations about the Orange Bowl (we’ll get to that). But what about expansion? If those conversations have started at all, no one’s saying, and rightfully so. As we’ve seen during the last two rounds of expansion, Swofford pulls off deals like this in the dead of night. If something happens, everyone but his secretary will be surprised when it’s announced. Continue reading

ACC Football Recruiting Class of 2013 Update (July 11)

Clemson Commit Robert Nkemdiche is One of Many Big Gets for the ACC’s Class of 2013

We’ll be taking a look at recruiting in more detail throughout the 2012 season and into the offseason, but given all the recent fuss over recent Clemson commit Robert Nkemdiche, this figured to be as good a time as any to start the discussion on the class of 2013.

Included below are the Rivals.com rankings for all 14 ACC schools. The number to the left is each program’s national rank. Obviously, these figures can and will change over time, since these commitments are still tentative. Additional thoughts are also below.

ACC Football 2013 Recruiting Rankings (July 11)

11. Florida State (17 commits; 3.41 average)

19. Virginia (15 commits; 3.14 average)

21. Clemson (12 commits; 3.27 average)

27. Maryland (15 commits; 2.86 average)

28. Virginia Tech (12 commits; 3.17 average)

34. North Carolina (11 commits; 3.33 average)

36. Georgia Tech (10 commits; 3.10 average)

43. NC State (16 commits; 2.91 average)

46. Miami (FL) (8 commits; 3.50 average)

51. Pittsburgh (13 commits; 2.78 average)

53. Wake Forest (11 commits; 2.60 average)

56. Duke (12 commits; 2.56 average)

57. Boston College (11 commits; 2.88 average)

65. Syracuse (8 commits; 2.83 average) Continue reading