Recruiting 2012 - ACC Atlantic Needs Concerns
Posted Jan 30, 2012

What does each ACC Atlantic team need, and what are the concerns this offseason?

Recruiting 2012 

ACC Atlantic Needs

Recruiting 2011 | Recruiting 2010 | Recruiting 2009 

CFN Top Prospects for 2012
- No. 1 to 50 | No. 51 to 100 | No. 101 to 150
- No. 151 to 200No. 201 to 250 | No. 251 to 300
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
- Tight Ends | Off. Tackles | Guards & Centers 
- Def. Ends | Def. Tackles | Linebackers | Corners | Safeties 


- ACC Coastal  

1. Florida State | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: This might not turn out to be the class last year's was, but head coach Jimbo Fisher is playing with the biggest of big boys when it comes to bringing in the talent. He's loading up on the lines, especially defensive end, with Mario Edwards the top end prospect in America, and Chris Casher and Dante Fowler not far behind. He's looking for instant help from the JUCO ranks for the offensive line that needs a few more options, and he's going hard after a few top quarterback prospects to be ready to fight for a job when E.J. Manuel is done next year.

Team Concerns For 2012: Playing up to the talent level. There's no excuse this season to not be in the national title chase with a few outstanding recruiting classes setting the expectations high, and now the skill and experience are both in place to come up with a huge season. Improving the running game will be a priority, and developing Manuel into a top NFL prospect is a must, but that's nitpicking. Everything is in place to do big things.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … High expectations. Florida State has done its normally strong job of recruiting over the past several years, but now with the transition of power well in the rearview mirror, the program is rocking on the recruiting trail. Jimbo Fisher did a nice job last year, but that was nothing compared to the haul he brought in this season led by defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, safety Karlos Williams, outside linebacker James Wilder, and offensive tackle Bobby Hart. They’ll be expected to be All-ACC stars in the near future, while JUCO transfer defensive tackle Cornellius Carradine is ready for right now. Position-wise, the defensive line got the most attention with a jaw-dropping group of players who should make the Noles a brick wall for the next four years. There might have been a few stunning losses here and there, including linebacker Stephone Anthony to Clemson, but this the program’s best class in a long, long time.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 12. That Class Was Heavy On ... Jimbo Fisher's ability. Any worries now that Florida State couldn't recruit quite as well without the Bobby Bowden touch? The transition turned out to be a plus as Fisher was able to sell stability to a slew of tremendous prospects that upgraded the team's talent level in a hurry. WR Christian Green was a steal from Florida and Georgia, while Kenny Shaw is the type of target to get excited about even if Green didn't sign. DT Darious Cummings was taken away from Florida and Auburn, defensive end Bjorn Werner was a key get for the line, and Jeff Luc is an NFL-ready defender who'll be the next great Seminole linebacker. Throw in star corner prospect Lamarcus Joyner and safety Greg Dent, and FSU did more than just fine.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 16. That Class Was Heavy On ... safeties. With their secondary going through a bit of an overhaul, the Seminoles focused on that unit, specifically the safeties. Florida State has signed four of them, two who rank among the ten best in the country at the position. Willie Downs and JaJuan Harley are outstanding talents, whose families won’t be traveling far on Saturdays. Both teens hail from Tallahassee, and decided some time ago to remain close to home.

2. Clemson | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Lowered expectations. Head coach Dabo Swinney appears to be putting together another terrific class, but it's asking for way too much to come up with an instant game-changer like Sammy Watkins. Even so, this receiving corps is about to get even better with a few good four-star types to be ready to roll when Watkins bolts for the NFL as soon as humanly possible. The defensive line will get the most attention and should be the strongest part of the haul.

Team Concerns For 2012: Consistency. After the awful last part of the season – outside of the ACC championship – the team needs to bring the effort and production week in and week out. That might be hard early on with three starters gone off the defensive front and three new starters on the offensive line. There's an interesting blend of terrific young talents and decent veterans, and it all needs to blend fast in what could be another title run.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … The passing game. After a few yeas of focusing mostly on the defense, the Tigers came up with something for the offense that struggled last year with three new quarterback prospects and several dangerous receivers with Sammy Watkins, a five-star talent with next-level upside, and Charone Peake and Martavis Bryant, two big, strong receivers who could be involved immediately. Eric MacLain is one of the nation’s top tight ends. Defensively, Corey Crawford isn’t Da’Quan Bowers, but he’s a pass rusher who might make some noise this year.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 21. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. Dabo Swinney did a nice job loading up on defense, while also getting a few key pieces for the offense including receiver Martavis Bryant and tackle Reid Webster. Josh Watson and Corey Crawford should quickly become terrors for the defensive front, and Jake Nicolopulos Justin Parker will be key starters in the linebacking corps by 2012, but the strength is in the secondary where corners DeAndre Hopkins and Darius Robinson are speedy defenders with All-ACC potential. Bashaud Breeland is the key safety signing with excellent size and great range.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 45. That Class Was Heavy On ... ends. Even with Ricky Sapp and Da’Quan Bowers bringing quickness off the edge, Clemson had little luck getting to the quarterback in 2008. Malliciah Goodman and Spencer Shuey have been brought in to push the starters and kickstart a tired pass rush. Once he sharpens his fundamentals and adds a few more pounds, Goodman has the blazing speed and long arms to be a real nuisance to ACC quarterbacks.

3. Boston College | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: Linebackers. Is BC the new Linebacker U.? With Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly, the tradition of spectacular linebacker play continues, and now the program needs to load up on more options for the middle. The position is fine for now, but the class will be looking three years ahead. Upgrading the receiver talent would be a bonus.

Team Concerns For 2012: The offense has to find more pop. 2010 might have been a dud, but this was a young team in several areas and now comes back loaded with talent. Replacing Kuechly is next to impossible, and backup in the middle Will Thompson is also gone. The last few classes have solidified an O line that should be deep and strong for the next few seasons. All the key skill players were sophomores, and now the have to start doing far more.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Offensive linemen. BC has a thing for loading up on lots and lots and lots of linemen. Considering how good the front five has been over the years, the plan works, but a huge class of offensive linemen last year didn’t seem to deter anyone in this year’s class with six true tackle prospect including Paul Gaughan, a strong athlete with the potential to be the next great Eagle blocker. Looking to be the next in line in the recent tradition of tremendous linebackers are Sean Duggan, Steven Daniels, and Nick Lifka, but the star defensive prospect is safety Albert Louis-Jean, who has All-ACC written all over him.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 45. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. The Eagles needed quarterbacks after several issues last year, and they got two strong ones in Chase Retting out of California and Josh Bordner from Maryland. Andre Williams should eventually be a key running back, and Shakim Phillips is a No. 1 wide receiver who'll be used in a big role next year. But the strength is on the offensive line with Seth Betancourt one of the ACC's top tackle recruits and Andy Gallik and Harris Williams two good-looking guards. Defensively, Steele Divitto should be the team's next great linebacker.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 74. That Class Was Heavy On ... big bodies. As is often the case at Boston College, the school added a considerable amount of girth to the offensive and defensive lines. The Eagles’ success has long been built in the trenches, so it makes sense to continue to stockpile big bodies from the Northeast. The new staff is going to love DT Dillon Quinn, an uncommon blend of size, strength, and quickness. At a school being ravaged by graduation at the position, his arrival could not come at a more opportune time.

4. Maryland | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: The running backs. The defense will end up getting the most help with a ton of great linebackers coming in, but head coach Randy Edsall wants to run the ball, run the ball, run the ball. His ground attack is what made him such a success at UConn, and his first job in his first full recruiting cycle is to beef up the talent in the backfield.

Team Concerns For 2012: The Terps have to find a consistent offense, and again, that's going to start with the ground game. Almost everyone is back on O except for top back Davin Meggett, while the defense gets everyone back except for corner Trenton Hughes, and gets yet another year out of safety/linebacker Kenny Tate, a future NFL star who's coming back from injury. The experience will be there across the board. Can the production start to come? For Edsall, it had better.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Receivers. Apparently, Randy Edsall is going to start throwing the ball more in College Park than he did at UConn. He brought in four new targets with decent speed and impressive size with Jeremiah Hendy and Nigel King the future of the air show. His offensive line class is small, but excellent with some good guard prospect and a nice center in Evan Mulrooney. Picking up corners Makinton Dorleant and Michael Williams was a plus, and end Quinton Jefferson should be a terror.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 49. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defense. Wasn't Ralph Friedgen supposed to be a lame duck head coach? This class certainly didn't reflect that with several very good, very promising prospects to provide both instant help and a foundation for the future. Tyler Smith was the key to the offensive class as the quarterback to be groomed for down the road, and Sean Conaboy is a promising guard who should be a steady starter in a few years. The defense was the key starting with linebacker Javarie Johnson, a lightning fast playmaker who'll be all over the field the second he gets a chance. 13 good defensive players signed on, and they need to be factors early.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 28. That Class Was Heavy On ... linebackers. Maryland continues to stockpile the type of versatile linebackers that eventually move on to play on Sundays. Seven, in fact, are packing their bags for College Park, even though there’s no urgency for any to play right away. From New Jersey to South Carolina, Ralph Friedgen swept down the Eastern seaboard searching for athletic defenders who can play with range. It’s obviously early in the process, but Lorne Goree appears to be the best of a deep bunch.

5. NC State | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: The Wolfpack is going hard after the defensive line for the second time in four years. The line is fine for now, but Tom O'Brien needs players to develop for down the road with the wave of strong prospects from the 2009 class are done. The offensive side will get more help for the interior with the guards getting the most attention.

Team Concerns For 2012: The passing game needs more options for QB Mile Glennon to work with after speedy T.J. Graham chose to leave early and receivers Jay Smith, Steven Howard, and tight end George Bryan also done. The defensive side needs help on the inside with starting tackles J.R. Sweezy and Markus Kuhn gone. The Pack has plenty of young players ready to show what they can do, but it'll be an untested area in spring ball.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Linebackers. There aren’t a ton of great ones in a generally mediocre class, but the hope is for strength in numbers with Mike Rose and Brandon Pittman two safety-sized defenders with the potential to be excellent with a little bit of time. The defensive line got help with Ty McGill for the inside and Dave Mann on the end, and quarterback Brian Taylor and WR Hakeem Flowers will be asked to be the star pitch-catch combo by 2013, but overall the star power isn’t there.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 43. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive lineman. This might not be the sexiest class, but it has teeth. WR Tony Creecy is a speedster who should make a big impact, and JUCO transfer Tobais Palmer will be a part of the running back mix right away. The key is the offensive line with Robert Crisp a massive and very talented offensive tackle who'll end up being the anchor up front. Crisp is 6-8, as is fellow tackle Andy Jomantas, while Tyson Chandler is a 6-6, 340-pound mauler. Defensively, Fre'Shad Hunter will be the star on the inside up front once he adds some weight.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 36. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive linemen. Tom O’Brien and his assistants absolutely loaded up on defensive linemen with this class, going as far north as Massachusetts and as far south as Georgia to find space-eaters. Willie Young, Alan-Michael Cash, and Shea McKeen have only one year of eligibility remaining, so this group will be expected to eventually form the backbone of the defensive front for the next four or five seasons.

6. Wake Forest | Scout List

2012: What's Needed Now: The passing game. Wake Forest is hardly known for its air attack, bit it has to have the pieces in place for 2014 with Tanner Price and Ted Stachitas done in a few years. The receiving corps lost talented Chris Givens a year early to the NFL, and this year's class could produce a prospect or two to make an early impact. More than anything else, head coach Jim Grobe wants to go after as many good players as possible regardless of position.

Team Concerns For 2012: Finding a No. 1 target in place of Givens is a must, and getting more out of the running game without Brandon Pendergrass will be a task. The defense doesn't lose much, but starting safeties Josh Bush and Cyril Quarles are both gone. It'll be a very, very young secondary that'll take its lumps early on.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Offensive linemen. This is a smallish class after coming up with a little bit of everything last year, and while head coach Jim Grobe got a few good players like quarterback Kevin Sousa and receiver Airyn Willis, the key are the three offensive linemen brought in to build the foundation to finally get the offense moving again. Hunter Goodwin is a tall, athletic tackle, while Cody Preble and Dylan Intemann were brought in for the interior. Andre Wiggins will eventually be a star somewhere in the defensive back seven.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 53. That Class Was Heavy On ... Variety. Jim Grobe got a little of everything across the board with Tanner Price the passer to take over the offense in the near future, while Nick Knott and Joseph Byrd are quick backs who fit the system. Antonio Ford and Daniel Blitch are promising offensive linemen for the interior, while Duke Mosby has anchor potential on the defensive front. Only six defensive recruits were signed on, but four of them are for the secondary with Merril Noel a good corner who would've been rated higher if he was a wee bit taller than the generously listed 5-8.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 59. That Class Was Heavy On ... linebackers. Now that Aaron Curry and Stanley Arnoux have exhausted their eligibility, it’s time for the Deacons to replenish at linebacker. While this year’s four recruits aren’t very big, they can all fly to the ball, which is exactly the way Wake likes its defenders. The prototype is Justin Jackson, a 6-1, 203-pounder with 4.5 speed and a better vertical leap than most of the ACC’s receivers.

- ACC Coastal