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

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

Recruiting 2012 

ACC Coastal 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 Atlantic

1. North Carolina | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: New head coach Larry Fedora hasn’t have any time to work, and he has to deal with the pressure of a new gig and trying to live up to the expectations of past UNC recruiting classes. For good and bad, the program has been a factory for pro talent over the last few years, and while there aren’t any jaw-droppers in this class, there’s talent at linebacker and a few good-looking defensive backs on the way. Next year’s class will have to load up on skill players.

Team Concerns For 2012: The pieces are in place for a terrific year with the shelves still stocked with talent, but Fedora has to try to replace the production of Quinton Coples – the possible top end taken off the board in the 2012 draft – and Zach Brown, who might be the fastest linebacker at the Combine. Donte Paige-Moss and Tydreke Powell are also gone off a rebuilding defensive front, while two good starters in Charles Brown and Jonathan Smith are gone from the secondary.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Defensive tackles. This is yet another strong class brought in by Butch Davis, and while it’s not the deepest group, the star power is terrific at the top led by a pair of NFL defensive tackles. Once Delvon Simmons hits a weight room and fills out his 6-5 frame, he’ll be a dream of a 3-4 one-gap defender, while JUCO transfer Sylvester Williams could be the anchor of the front four tomorrow. 318-pound Devonte Brown is going to be a rock on the inside. Marquise Williams is the most talented quarterback the program has had in a long, long time, while Travis Hughes might turn out to be the best middle linebacker prospect in America. 2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking:

24. That Class Was Heavy On ...
Defense. Considering Tar Heels are going to be splashed all over the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft, Butch Davis had an easy sell to load up on the defensive side. Brandon Willis could grow into a smallish, quick tackle with a little work or a tough end right away. Kareem Martin is a 6-6 athlete who'll be a speed rusher on the outside, while Ty Lingon, Darius Lipford, and P.J. Clyburn are interesting players who should be a key part of the 2012 team. Offensively, QB Gio Bernard is small, checking in at 5-9, but he's a baller and a talented playmaker. The best recruit was James Hurst, a sure-thing offensive tackle who'll be an All-ACC performer within three years.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 7. That Class Was Heavy On ... receivers. Carolina’s response to losing Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate, and Brooks Foster to the NFL was to sign a half-dozen receivers, headed by four-star stud Jheranie Boyd. No returning wideout caught more than 11 passes a year ago, meaning Boyd and his classmates will get every opportunity to play right away in September. In fact, they’ll be counted on to do so.

2. Miami | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: Apparently, someone forgot to tell the excellent Miami recruiting class about the Nevin Shapiro situation. While this might not be a special haul, it’s looking like a strong job done by Al Golden to keep bringing in enough NFL caliber prospects to keep the expectations high. Golden wants to upgrade the passing game, and it shows with a load of receivers coming in of all shapes and sizes. At least three quarterbacks are going to be signed, and they’ll be expected to be the main backups behind Stephen Morris sooner than later.

Team Concerns For 2012: The NFL bus left with several key underclassmen on it, and now Golden needs to find veteran playmakers early on who can win the close games that last year’s team couldn’t. Three starters are gone off the offensive line, RB Lamar Miller will be missed, and targets Travis Benjamin and Tommy Streeter are done. The defense has to replace Sean Spence in the middle and pass rusher Olivier Vernon on the outside.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Defensive linemen. New head man Al Golden only brought in four defensive line prospects, but two are among the best in America with Jalen Grimble a shocking get out of Las Vegas, taking him away from any big-time program you can name, and snagging pass rushing terror Anthony Chickillo for one end. The receiving corps got some help with Phillip Dorsett and Rashawn Scott two good-sized speedsters who can stretch the field. Kevin Grooms has No. 1, lockdown corner potential, while Dallas Crawford and Thomas Finnie aren’t far behind.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 18. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive back seven. Randy Shannon signed a ton of defensive back talent last year, and there wasn't much of a need for too many safeties. Instead, Shannon upgraded the cornerback talent with four fantastic prospects taking Keion Payne away from Florida, Florida State, and Ohio State, and getting Kacy Rodgers out of ... Texas?! As if Miami doesn't have enough talent in its own backyard, it went and got a ready-for-right-now defender away from Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State. There weren't any superstar linebacker prospects, but the five brought in can run. Offensively, Eduardo Clements is the speed back who'll be a weapon early on.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 18. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. Never at a shortage for quality defensive backs, Randy Shannon is making sure it stays that way with this class. All four of this year’s additions are ranked no lower than No. 40 nationally at their position. S Ray Ray Armstrong is a 6-3, 210-pound beast in the mold of former ‘Cane Sean Taylor. Corners Brandon McGee and Jamal Reid are a couple of top 10 talents, who were hotly pursued by schools in the ACC and SEC.

3. Virginia | Scout List

What’s Needed Now: Receivers. The last few classes have revolved around the offense, and the defensive front seven is getting the strongest talent this year, but the Cavaliers are looking to keep bringing in good targets. Last year, head coach Mike London came up with a strength-in-numbers class of receivers, and he’s doing it again with at least five prospects coming in. While the passing game needs more attention, London likes the running game and he’s getting a good one in Kye Morgan.

Team Concerns For 2012: The defensive line has to find a disruptive force to fill in for Cam Johnson on the end, but the biggest problem is a secondary that loses three starters including shutdown corner Chase Minnifield. Considering the Cavs played so many close games, solidifying the kicking game is a must with P Jimmy Howell and PK Robert Randolph both gone.


The 2011 Class Is Heavy On …
Wide receivers. Head coach Mike London brought in a really, really nice overall class highlighted by a terrific get in corner Demetrious Nicholson and a big-time Signing Day coup in corner Dominique Terrell. The defensive line got plenty of bodies with seven linemen brought in, and three nice offensive tackles will help the line. The key to the class was the haul of receivers with six prospects brought in including Brandon Phelps, Darius Jennings, and Clifton Richardson, three fast, talented targets who might get a long look for instant playing time.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 68. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. Virginia is still a factory for top-shelf offensive linemen with Morgan Moses a massive tackle who signed last year but sat out a year, and Conner Davis an interesting prospect, but new head coach Mike London was more in needs of upgrading the offense. Four quarterbacks were signed led by Mike Rocco and Michael Strauss, but there weren't any wide receiver prospects brought in.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 49. That Class Was Heavy On ... offensive tackles. After losing Branden Albert and Eugene Monroe to the NFL in successive seasons, the Cavaliers have bolstered their offensive line with a whopping six tackles standing 6-5 or taller. Like the last three great Virginia linemen, including D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the school traveled north to get Oday Aboushi, a 305-pounder with considerable upside and nasty demeanor. Landing four-star mountain Morgan Moses was the upset of this group.

5. Virginia Tech | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: Offensive skill players. Frank Beamer is always going after the next great running back, and he’s bringing in several options along with plenty of receivers with size and talent. This will be a class to boost up the offense for 2014 and beyond, while the defense will get the most help at linebacker. It’ll take a few years in the weight room, but this year’s class is big on speed and athleticism for the back seven.

Team Concerns For 2012: The Hokies bare on the offensive line with four starters gone. The 2010 recruiting class focused on the lines, but it’s asking a lot for the young players to be ready for primetime now; they’ll need another year, but they’ll provide the depth. The secondary lost corner Jayron Hosley and safety Eddie Whitley, but it’s a deep group that should be fine with a little bit of time.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Defensive linemen. It’s a surprisingly mediocre class considering Virginia swooped up several key local players and Florida State and Clemson dominated the ACC, but there’s good bulk for the defensive line with Corey Marshall showing the potential to be the next great Hokie defensive end and Kris Hailey, a whirling dervish of a defensive tackle prospect. The stars of the class are at corner with Kyshoen Jarrett and James Farrow two big, talented defenders. The star skill prospects aren’t there, but the hope is for Michael Holmes to go from good to special once he gets into the program.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 32. That Class Was Heavy On ... The lines. The stars are in the secondary with Nick Dew, Brian Laiti, and Theron Norman very big and very good safety prospects, and Kyle Fuller and Detrick Bonner are going to be good corners in a few years. The quarterback situation will be interesting with Ricardo Young and Mark Leal each athletic enough to fit the Virginia Tech mold, while WR E.J. Smiling is big and fast. However, the class is all about the lines with Laurence Gibson a ready-made offensive guard with good athleticism and big-time upside. Zack McCray should be the next great Hokie pass rusher, while Derrick Hopkins and De'Antre Rhodes are pluggers for the defensive interior.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 43. That Class Was Heavy On ... backs. Even after watching redshirt freshman Darren Evans emerge as the feature back, the Hokies concentrated on further building depth at the position. Being brought to Blacksburg are three playmakers, which was missing from the offense a year ago. Two of those backs, David Wilson and Tony Gregory, are four-star gems with enough wiggle to make people miss in the open field. Both provide a nice complement to the north-south style of Evans.

5. Georgia Tech | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: Receivers. Georgia Tech recruits to a type, and while its classes won’t ever be high up on the lists, they work for what Paul Johnson is trying to do. The defensive line is a focus with a few excellent talents coming in, and the secondary is getting a few new prospects even though the 2010 class was loaded with DBs, but the key might be finding the next gamebreaking receiver to be the home-run hitter the offense needs. No Tech target will ever be a 100-catch playmaker, but Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas have made the school cool for wideouts.

Team Concerns For 2012: Gamebreaking receiver. It goes hand-in-hand with this recruiting class. The running backs are in place, and QB Tevin Washington has grown into his own, but the offense has to come up with a big play, 20-yard-per-catch target to replace Stephen Hill, who’s leaving early for the NFL. Also gone is fellow starting receiver, Tyler Melton.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Quarterbacks. The offense needs options to run the Paul Johnson attack, and while there’s an eye towards doing more for the passing game, Vad Lee, Demontevious Smith, and Jamal Golden are runners who’ll be moved around where needed. Broderick Snoddy was the only true tailback brought in, and while he’s not big, he’s fast enough to be a gamebreaker. Defensively, the bulk is at linebacker with Tremayne McNair and Anthony Harrell for the middle and three nice prospects for the outside in Jamari Hunt-Days, Nick Menocal, and Chaz Cheeks all athletic big hitters.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 37. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. Paul Johnson loaded up on linemen last year, he has a few solid quarterbacks in place to run his attack, and several other decent pieces are in place offensively. This year he wanted help for the secondary and he got it with seven defensive backs including Louis Young, a fine corner out of Maryland, and Ryan Ayers, a speedster with lockdown ability. Safety Isaiah Johnson has the build and the potential to be a difference maker, an All-ACC difference maker, while Fred Holton, speedy Synjyn Days, and Jake Skole beefed up the safety depth.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 34. That Class Was Heavy On ... linemen. For Paul Johnson, success starts on the lines, and he recruited with that thought in mind. With both sides of the ball being hurt by graduation, the Yellow Jackets added four big bodies to the offense and five on defense. The front four returns just one starter, creating an opening for 345-pound tackle J.C. Lanier to avoid a redshirt and make a quick ascent up the depth chart.

6. Duke | Scout List

2012: What’s Needed Now: More options for the passing game. The 2010 class addressed the quarterback situation for the next few years, but more and more targets need to be developed for down the road. Head coach David Cutcliffe is trying to build up the offensive talent level, and he’s getting a few more good prospects than normal. With Donovan Varner gone and Conner Vernon done next year, the opportunities will be there to shine early on.

Team Concerns For 2012: The offense has to start producing like it’s supposed to. Varner is the only big loss with QB Sean Renfree, all the top backs, and Vernon returning to provide the experience needed to be consistent, and after going through the growing pains with four underclassmen starting up front, all five starters are back on the line. This is when the payoff has to come.


The 2011 Class Was Heavy On … Offensive linemen. The skill players were all but ignored after going big for the passing game last season, and now the David Cutcliffe offense needs blockers to allow the machine to run. Marcus Aprahamian is a strong tackle prospect with the body to be ready almost right away, while guards Lucas Patrick and Cody Robinson out of Tennessee should be good in time. The defense got help up front with Sam Marshall leading a decent group of linemen, while the secondary went big on the corner with Jared Boyd, Jamison Crowder, and Tim Burton all good enough to have gone somewhere bigger.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 70. That Class Was Heavy On ... The passing game. Now that David Cutcliffe isn't going anywhere (at least for this year), bringing in decent quarterback prospects isn't an issue. Who wants to be a statistical star? Brandon Cromartie is one of the better quarterback prospects the program has had in a while, and Anthony Boone will get his chances. Brandon Braxton and Braxton Deaver are dangerous receiver prospects, and Juwan Thompson could be the key to the running game this year.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 56. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. The Blue Devils perennially struggle to stop opposing passers, which prompted David Cutcliffe to go extremely heavy on the secondary. Almost one-third of the class is either a safety or a cornerback, led by Taylor Sowell, a 6-0 speedster who garnered a lot of attention from the rest of the ACC. Duke had rare success in South Carolina, a credit to the job being done by secondary coach Derek Jones.

- ACC Atlantic