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February 4, 2010

Signing Day Blitz: Ranking the ACC

More Conferences: Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

Florida State ended at No. 10 in the national team recruiting rankings and at No. 1 in the ACC after National Signing Day. Lamarcus Joyner headlines another talented group headed to Tallahassee.

Check out the breakdown of the conference in a special edition of the ACC Blitz.

Boston College | Clemson | Duke | Florida State | Georgia Tech | Maryland
Miami | North Carolina | N.C. State | Virginia | Va. Tech | Wake Forest

Signing Day Blitz: Ranking the ACC
1. Florida State

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Headliner: Leading the way for the ACC's top recruiting class is the No. 14 prospect in the nation, five-star cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. Despite being undersized, Joyner packs an incredible pop. Joyner will be making the transition from safety to corner, which could take time.
Sleeper: Linebacker Nigel Terrell is a 6-foot-2, 215-pounder who comes off the edge extremely hard with outstanding speed. It's hard to say he's that much of a sleeper, considering the number of offers he had. With his speed, he has the ability to make an impact early.
Overview: The ACC's top class was particularly focused on defense. Joyner leads the group, but he's just one of two top cornerbacks - joining four-star JC transfer Mike Harris. The linebacking corps received four new additions, including four-star prospects Jeff Luc and Telvin Smith, while the line added end Darious Cummings. While offense wasn't a big focus, Florida State did land two top wide receivers in De'Joshua Johnson and Kenny Shaw. FSU also landed athlete Christian Green, who is one of the top players in the Sunshine State. Four-star athlete Greg Dent joined the fold, too.
2. Clemson

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Headliner: There are a number of candidates, but defensive tackle Josh Watson tops the list. He is tenacious and has outstanding speed. He has shown the ability to control a game and should be able to make an impact early at Clemson.
Sleeper: Hailing from the relatively obscure recruiting territory of Nashville, tight end Sam Cooper is a big target at 6 feet 5 and 230 pounds. Cooper has quick feet and good athleticism, and should be able to make an impact relatively quickly for the Tigers.
Overview: The Tigers made a much stronger push into Georgia this season, getting seven of their 21 signees from the Peach State. From Georgia, Clemson added four-star defensive backs Darius Robinson and Garry Peters as well as end Corey Crawford. Clemson solidified the defensive front with two solid pickups at tackle in Watson and Tavaris Barnes. Wide receiver got a boost, as well, with Martavis Bryant and DeAndre Hopkins. The Tigers closed strong by landing linebacker Justin Parker.
3. Virginia Tech

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Headliner: Massive 6-foot-6, 297-pound offensive tackle Laurence Gibson leads a solid class for the Hokies. Gibson has outstanding feet and a ton of room to grow. The No. 2 prep-school prospect in the nation, he has the chance to be a major force at tackle for the Hokies.
Sleeper: Athlete Dominique Patterson finished with just one offer following an impressive performance at Virginia Tech's second summer camp. He has outstanding quickness and range.
Overview: The Hokies added depth across the board. Easily the biggest need was quarterback. With Tyrod Taylor's impending departure, the Hokies signed Mark Leal and Ricardo Young. The offensive line received a boost with four signees, including Gibson and athletic tackle Mark Shuman. The defensive line received a major upgrade with speedy end Zack McCray along with four-star tackles Nick Acree and DeAntre Rhodes. Nick Dew, a Rivals250 member with outstanding closing speed, rounds out a talented group.
4. Miami

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Headliner: Miami picked up a big-time running back in Georgia product Storm Johnson. A pure tailback with speed, Johnson had a tremendous performance at the Under Armor All-American Game. He rushed for 1,900 yards as a senior.
Sleeper: A jumbo 6-foot-4, 210-pound linebacker who had numerous low Division I offers, Kelvin Cain has good speed and athleticism off the edge. Playing mostly defensive end in high school, he'll need to improve his coverage skills at the next level.
Overview: Miami signed a huge class that filled a number of needs, including depth at linebacker, offensive line and running back. The tailback spot saw four additions, including Johnson and fellow four-star prospect Eduardo Clements. UM signed five offensive linemen, most notably Brandon Linder and Malcolm Bunche. Linebacker got a huge infusion of talent with five signees - including versatile Travis Williams, who could end up at safety. Miami didn't close as strong as it wanted, but there is talent in this class.
5. North Carolina

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Headliner: The Tar Heels went to Indianapolis to get the No. 32 prospect in the nation, offensive tackle James Hurst. He has long arms and a nasty streak. Hurst has the potential to make a big impact after a redshirt season.
Sleeper: Offensive tackle Nick Appel slipped under the radar despite being 6 feet 6 and 300 pounds. Appel popped up after an impressive camp performance. Given time, he has the chance to be a solid contributor for the Tar Heels.
Overview: North Carolina significantly upgraded the offensive line with four signees, including underrated center Russell Bodine. Once again, the Tar Heels stocked up on defensive linemen, landing Brandon Willis, Kareem Martin, Tim Jackson and Ethan Farmer. UNC added a speedy tailback in one-time Notre Dame commitment Giovanni Bernard. UNC didn't close strong, but the Heels hit needs at running back, defensive line and defensive back.
6. North Carolina State

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Headliner: Five-star offensive tackle Robert Crisp leads the group. The hometown prospect has tremendous power and outstanding hands. He moves well for a man his size. He has the ability to play as a true freshman.
Sleeper: Dayton (Ohio) Chaminade-Julienne offensive tackle Andy Jomantas is the type of lineman coach Tom O'Brien has had success with over the years. Jomantas has size and speed. He'll have to pack on the weight, but has the ability to make an impact down the road.
Overview: O'Brien made a concerted effort to focus on the lines and secondary. The Wolfpack picked up five offensive linemen, including four-star prospect Tyson Chandler. They added impressive skill players in running back Mustafa Greene and wide receiver Anthony Creecy. The focus on defense was on the line, where they landed five total prospects, including huge defensive tackle Thomas Teal. The secondary received an upgrade with three signees, including four-star safety David Amerson and New Jersey standout Dontae Johnson. Quarterback Tyler Brosius could be the key to this class.
7. Maryland

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Headliner: Upper Marlboro (Md.) Wise safety Titus Till has terrific size and speed. With the depth the Terps are losing, Till has a chance to make an immediate impact for Ralph Friedgen.
Sleeper: Offensive tackle Jacob Wheeler is a few years away from seeing the field because he needs to fill out his 6-foot-6 frame, but he has good feet and a nasty streak and could be an impact guy down the line.
Overview: Maryland made a serious effort to focus on the talent at home and did a good job pulling in prospects from throughout the area. The Terps signed eight from the Maryland and D.C. area, including the top two prospects in D.C. - jumbo linebacker Javarie Johnson and athletic lineman Nathaniel Clarke. Friedgen shored up his defensive line with six signees, including four defensive ends; David Mackall tops that position group. Defensive back Mario Rowson is another to keep an eye on; he has good size and range at safety.
8. Georgia Tech

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Headliner: Rivals250 cornerback Louis Young has outstanding hips, impressive speed and terrific one-on-one ability. He has the ability to close down half the field for the Jackets' defense.
Sleeper: Running back Tony Zenon only held a few offers, none from a Big Six school, before Georgia Tech offered just before National Signing Day. Playing in a Wing-T offense in high school, Zenon ran for 2,300 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior. While he's just 5 feet 8 and 174 pounds, he has deceptive power.
Overview: Coach Paul Johnson made even more of an effort to focus on the Peach State, with all but three of his signees from Georgia. Johnson solidified the defensive line with end Anthony Williams and tackle Denzel McCoy, then added help in the secondary with Young, Ryan Ayers and Barry Bostic. Bostic could be an impact player at any number of positions for the Jackets.
9. Boston College

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Headliner: Wide receiver Shakim Phillips will be a big target. Phillips (6-2/191) still needs to improve his speed a bit, but has the potential to be a major deep threat in the ACC.
Sleeper: BC has had incredible success over the years in discovering offensive line talent. The latest could be Aaron Kramer, from Duxbury, Mass. A converted tight end, Kramer is 6-7 and 275 pounds.
Overview: The Eagles loaded up on offense. Boston College signed two pro-style quarterbacks, and both are enrolled (Joshua Bordner and Chase Rettig) and should be able to compete for playing time this fall. BC signed two tailbacks and three wide receivers. Tight end Jarrett Darmstatter is joined on offense by six linemen. Don't overlook four-star linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis.
10. Virginia

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Headliner: For the second year in a row, offensive tackle Morgan Moses is the headline recruit for the Cavaliers. Moses has the potential to be a major impact player in the mold of Eugene Monroe and could play early under new coach Mike London.
Sleeper: Offensive tackle Stephen Lawe was under the radar because of academic issues and went to just a handful of camps. But he has the ability to be a major player in a couple of years with impressive footwork for his 6-5, 285-pound frame.
Overview: Recruiting was slow for the Cavaliers until Mike London came into the picture following the departure of Al Groh. London quickly focused on the state of Virginia, pulling in a number of prospects who fell under the radar, including Mike Rocco, Lawe and Jake McGee. The Cavs looked to have filled their need at quarterback, with Rocco, Miles Gooch and early enrollee Michael Strauss. Running back Kevin Parks Jr. is a bowling-ball runner who will be hard to tackle, and defensive end Christopher Brathwaite] dominated at numerous camps.
11. Wake Forest

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Headliner: Cornerback A.J. Marshall is the No. 22 cornerback in the country and the No. 9 prospect in North Carolina. Marshall has terrific speed and outstanding one-on-one abilities. He had his choice of colleges, including Tennessee, Virginia Tech and North Carolina, among others. Marshall likely will be a rare true freshman to see the field under Jim Grobe.
Sleeper: It's hard to say a three-star wide receiver is a sleeper, but Matt James could be. He has intriguing size (6-6/200). Although he's thin, he has the potential to be a versatile playmaker.
Overview: Wake Forest did a good job in North Carolina, with Marshall, James and lineman Colin Summers. The focus for the Demon Deacons once again was in the Southeast, with 10 of their 17 signees from Georgia and Florida. Florida defensive backs Joseph Byrd and Desmond Cooper will complement Marshall on defense. Quarterback Tanner Price is one to watch on offense.
12. Duke

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Headliner: Guard Laken Tomlinson pulled a stunner in August, picking Duke over numerous other offers, including ones from Ohio State, Stanford, Wisconsin and Tennessee. Tomlinson (6-4/285) is explosive off the line and has good quickness for a big man. He is the No. 29 guard in the nation.
Sleeper: Athlete Quantrez Stevenson has terrific size and speed, and is a likely cornerback prospect. Stevenson slipped under the radar because he picked up offers in early June and committed by the end of the month.
Overview: Duke stayed home much more in 2010, getting nine of 20 signees from North Carolina. The in-state focus saw the Blue Devils land four of the state's top 30, including star offensive tackle Takoby Cofield and Anthony Boone - who was the best quarterback at the Penn State Nike Camp. Boone has good accuracy and adequate athleticism. He has the potential to be the next Thaddeus Lewis for David Cutcliffe. Athlete Joshua Snead should make an impact right away on offense and on special teams, and linebacker Kelby Brown has a chance to play early, too.

More Conferences: Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

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