ACC Football: 2015 National Signing Day Continuous Update

All recruiting videos should be watched on mute. Some may contain songs with
explicit lyrics. 

4:23 PM Miami Gets Late Lift From Kendrick Norton

It has been a rough a day for football recruitment and for the University of Miami after losing players to Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida and UNC. But not all was lost when they landed four-star recruit Kendrick Norton out of Jacksonville, Florida (Trinity Christian Academy). This 6’3, 305 pound offensive guard will find himself on the other side of the trenches come game time for the Hurricanes. With his size, he will be very productive on the defensive end, but will have to compete for a spot in the lineup since Miami has Calvin Heurtelou and Michael Wyche returning on the defense.

After just visiting Auburn not too long ago, Miami was on the edge of their seats wondering who Norton was going to choose. Even before Auburn and Miami, Kendrick had committed himself to another ACC team Florida State, but in June backed out and put himself back on the table. In the end he stuck with his Florida roots and chose Al Golden and Hurricanes. Norton’s high school, Trinity Christian has pumped out some great athletes and some of them have signed or just recently signed with top tier schools like Virginia Tech, who scored Wide Receiver Isaiah Ford last year and Jeff Holland who committed to Auburn today plus other classmates who signed with Georgia Tech and UNC.

Meredith Beck

4:06 PM And All The Hoos Down In Hooville Cried Boo Hoo Hoo

The Grinch stole Christmas, and Dana Holgorsen stole 3-star ATH Gary Jennings from Virginia. Jennings, a 6’2″ 195 lb prospect from Stafford, Virginia, chose the Mountaineers over UVA, continuing a sub par trend for UVA recruiting this year. Regardless of what the big wigs at UVA say in press conferences, Mike London has kept his job the past couple of years by being a good recruiter. He had the 28th best class in 2013, a great result considering the state of UVA football at the time. In 2014 the overall ranking slipped to 41st, but London managed to bring in two 5-star recruits including the #1 DT in the country, Andrew Brown and the #1 S in the country, Quin Blanding.

This year the Cavaliers have slipped to #45 and their class doesn’t have anywhere near the star power it had last year. In fact, they only have two 4-star recruits, and almost as many 2-star commits as they do 3-stars. Jennings wouldn’t have helped the Cavs’ class ranking but so much, as he is rated the #25 player in the state of Virginia, but the fact that he spurned Mike London and Co. for Morgantown only adds to the anxiety of the UVA fan base. According to ESPN, UVA has the 12th best class in the ACC, and that ranking is unlikely to improve. Make no mistake, after this lackluster recruiting year, Mike London will be coaching for his job in 2015.

Darrell Jones

3:46 PM Florida Pulls Jordan Cronkite From Miami

The Gators got a big boost when they received a pledge from 4-star athlete and former Miami commitment Jordan Cronkite. The 5’11”, 178-pound running back and safety is from Westminster Christian School in Miami which makes this one sting a little more for the Hurricanes. Cronkite figures to be a running back for Florida. He’s a nice recruiting win for new Gator head coach Jim McElwain and a tough blow for Al Golden. Miami had a rough day by its standards which, right or wrong, will only serve to further inflame his critics. Golden will need to produce a strong season in year five to silence his growing legion of critics.

Justin Cates

3:20 PM Jim McElwain’s Gators Continue To Steal Show, Land CeCe Jefferson

6’3” 248 lb. CeCe Jefferson (Glen Saint Mary, FL—Baker County HS) stayed in state and chose the Florida Gators this afternoon, much to the dismay of Florida State Seminoles fans, who were hoping that Jefferson would land in Tallahassee. Jim McElwain promised Florida fans that upgrades would be coming to Gainesville, but I’m not even sure he could have dreamed of the day he is having today with his 2015 recruiting class. This is McElwain’s sixth ESPN 300 recruit, and second 5-Star talent in his first year at Florida. Jefferson is the #2 defensive end in the country, and the nation’s #9 overall recruit, and he will be a dominant force on the line for the Gators for years to come.

–Mike McDaniel

2:21 PM  Rasheem Green Stays Home To Play For USC

The #41 ranked ESPN player, and the #8 DT overall, the Junipero Serra (Gardena, CA) HS standout chose to stay out west rather than join Al Golden in Miami, as once again the Canes make somebody’s final 3 or 5 and come up short. Golden and company are on the clock in Coral Gables and though it is nice be on some final ballots, the Canes have come up with this in-state: At 6’4″, 290 lbs and nimble, you would have had an immediate playmaker at the U. He’ll likely be in the two-deep at USC as well, since they need his combination of speed and size to get back into any SERIOUS Pac-12 conversation. It doesn’t appear as though many at Miami thought they had him anyway. But I have a feeling we’ll be hearing his name again in a few years. He’s extremely projectable.

Chuck Workman 

1:51 PM Orange Julius? Ole Miss Snags Athletic Wideout Jalen Julius signed with Ole Miss today over Louisville and Notre Dame. He’s an athletic kid with great speed who played corner and receiver at West Orange High School in Winter Garden, FL. Ole Miss has him listed as a wide receiver, so clearly they expect him to play on offense.

He’s got the kind of big-play ability to have an immediate impact as a return man, an area where the Rebels really struggled last season. Julius is only 5’11”, 170 but he certainly looks the part of a dangerous slot receiver in addition to providing a jolt on special teams. SEC fans may not pay attention to a three-star pickup like Julius, but he has a chance to make waves sooner than most recruits.

–Justin Cates

1:35 PM UVA Mines Talent In South Florida With LB Signing

Dominic Sheppard, Gulliver Prep (Miami, FL) has signed with UVA. Rated as a 3-star prospect by Rivals, Sheppard visited Wisconsin, Illinois, and Louisville, but ultimately has chosen Charlottesville, VA as his destination.

After watching a a couple of different highlight films, I’m struggling to see why Sheppard is rated so low, that he doesn’t have a national ranking on Rivals, though they do have him listed as the #18 ILB. ESPN lists Sheppard as the #61 OLB. It seems as though the recruiting services don’t know what to make of him, so I’ll tell you what I see. I look for Sheppard to add a little weight to his 6’2″, 225 lb frame and play MLB for UVA. He has great instincts and does a phenomenal job at diagnosing plays. Once he decides its time to attack the ball carrier, he has an excellent burst, maintains a low center of gravity, and drives his hips through the opponent, stopping their momentum and consistently driving them to the ground. Sheppard has a knack for finding a clean path to the ball carrier, knifing through blockers in pursuit of making the play. At the college level, he’ll have to learn how to get off of blocks better once he is engaged, but Dominic Sheppard is the kind of player who will far surpass these mid-level 3 star expectations.

–Darrell Jones

1:29 PM 3-Star Miami (FL) Target, Defensive End Austrian Robinson Picks Ole Miss

6’4” 270 lb. defensive end Austrian Robinson (Pawling, New York—Trinity Pawling) committed to Ole Miss this afternoon, after narrowing his options down to the Rebels and the Hurricanes. Robinson is the #78 defensive end in the country, and second-best player to come out of the state of New York in the 2015 class. This is another solid pick-up for the Rebels, who already picked up the #7 wide receiver in the country this morning in DaMarkus Lodge, who is one of seven ESPN 300 recruits heading to Oxford next season.

–Mike McDaniel

1:12 PM Daylon Mack Heads To Texas A&M, Capping Off A Huge Day For The Aggies

6’1”, 320 lb DT Daylon Mack has signed with Texas A&M. Mack, the #3 DT in the 2015 class and #6 prospect in the nation, chose the Aggies after giving strong consideration to many ACC schools, including Florida State, Miami, and Clemson.

Mack is staying in state for his college career after playing his high school ball at Gladewater (Gladewater, TX). Kevin Sumlin and company are revamping their defense in a hurry, knowing they need immediate impact players on defense for a bounce-back campaign in 2015 in the always challenging SEC-West.

Mike McDaniel

1:06 PM GG Robinson, War Eagle Fan, Commits To Cards Despite Late Auburn Push

Per the below tweet:

Robinson, out of Lilburn, GA (Parkview) is coming from a large pond at Parkview. The school numbers almost 3,000 students. It has produced World Cup Soccer players, NFL players, and one-time Sports Illustrated golden child, Atlanta Brave, OF Jeff Francoeur. At 6’4″, 268 lbs, he is listed as a DE, but looks to have the physical build to move to the interior. Good for Louisville to keep one in house after losing a commit to Ole Miss and Sheldrik Redwine to the U.

–Chuck Workman

12:08 PM #5 Recruit Martez Ivey Spurns ACC, Heads To SEC, 3rd Gator To Spurn The U In As Many Days

The nation’s number one offensive lineman is heading to the University of Florida. 6’6” 270 lb. Martez Ivey, the #5 prospect overall in the ESPN 300, also had offers from every powerhouse in the country. The Apopka, FL (Apopka) product comes from a town that was highlighted extensively in Warren Sapp’s NFL Life documentary on the NFL Network. It is a small town that has produced big-time athletes in all sports, including 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.

This is a huge get for Florida’s new coach, Jim McElwain, who has hit the ground running today by signing ESPN 300 running back Jordan Scarlett, and receiver Antonio Calloway, taking the Miami RB decommit and snagging Calloway away from the ‘Canes this morning.

–Mike McDaniel


12:01PM Cornell Powell, Four-Star WR, Opts For Clemson After Great Visit

The final weekend of January found four-star WR Cornell Powell from Greenville, NC (Rose) visiting Dabo Swinney and Clemson. With recent NFL draftees Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins having such success on Sundays, its not difficult to imagine Powell has a similar path in mind. At 6’1″, 190 lbs he’s shifty and moves well after the catch.

It didn’t appear as though Rose was a powerhouse school, he has no notable teammates. He is the same size, and hopes to be used similarly to Alabama’s Amari Cooper, which is why Alabama was in his final few schools. Ultimately, the allure and familiarity of being a big fish in a small pond proved to be too much to resist for Powell; even if highly-regarded Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris has up and gone to Dallas to revive a moribund SMU program. This signing, coupled with a couple of FSU snubs likely moves Clemson back in front of the ‘Noles to 3rd nationally and 1st in the ACC.

Chuck Workman

11:51 Signing Day Giveth, And Signing Day Taketh Away

Whether its the dark cloud of decommits hanging over Miami, or the luck of the Irish striking again, Notre Dame steals a phenomenal player and the #12 running back in the nation in Dexter Williams. Williams stands 5’11” 195 lbs and possesses a tremendous burst and a fluid running style. He also has the body type to pack on a few lbs, without sacrificing speed. Notre Dame came into Orlando, Florida to grab Williams away from Miami. After an earlier positive surprise landing James King, Miami lets a good one slip away. As of now, all of their Ibis eggs are squarely in the basket of RB Mark Walton. This adds an interesting wrinkle to the next meeting between Notre Dame and Miami set for Saturday, October 29, 2016 in South Bend.

Darrell Jones

11:26 More Miami Intrigue As Corner Signs

Louisville commitment Sheldrick Redwine signed with the Hurricanes giving Miami some good news near the end of a drama-filled morning. Redwine committed to the Cardinals January 28 but took an official visit and earned a Miami scholarship offer just two days later. The 6’1″, 183-pounder joins Michael Jackson as the only corners currently in the Canes’ 2015 class. He brings some balance to a class that to this point is heavy on offense.

Justin Cates

10:48 ESPN #1 DT Terry Beckner Jr (East St. Louis) St Louis, IL Snubs ‘Noles, Commits To Mizzou

I still can’t be sure if that was a family reunion, or a commitment ceremony, but it was emotional and there was lots of family on hand. ACC fans who don’t rep the garnet and gold will be happy to hear that East St Louis (IL) DT Terry Beckner Jr, a Rivals four-star, will be staying closer to home and attending Mizzou instead of attending Florida State next year. An emotional Beckner cited family repeatedly and it looks like he’ll be trading dining dollars for his teammates’ extra tickets next year so that his family can watch him play in Columbia.

At 6’4, 298″, he is a natural to plug the run, but appears svelte enough in video to play on the end, particularly in a 3-4 defense. Gary Pinkel and his staff (notably Cornell Ford), outworked FSU, Auburn, and Urban Meyer and An Ohio State University for his services. He should play immediately. He will join teammate and fellow four-star RB Natereace Strong.

Chuck Workman

10:40 4-star corner Marcus Lewis Chooses FSU

Marcus Lewis is yet another prospect who decided to leave Miami hanging this morning. Lewis originally committed to Virginia Tech during his junior year of high school, but reopened his recruitment in December of 2013. Many expected him to choose Miami, but Florida State has a major need in its secondary after corners P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby both declared for the NFL Draft.

The Washington, D.C. native is a speedy prospect (4.38 40) who should bolster the ‘Noles secondary and as you can see is his highlight reel, could easily play on offense if needed.

Justin Cates

10:22 The “U” Secures Two Booker T Commits, As FAU Commit King Flips To Join Teammate Walton


James King, outside linebacker from Booker T Washington in Miami, Florida, drops Florida Atlantic in favor of following his high school teammate Mark Walton to Miami. King is a 6’1″ 200 lb prospect who boasts a 4.4 40 yard dash and a 320 lb bench press max. With the frame to increase his size, King already has impressive speed and strength without ever seeing a college weight room. King will likely need a year or two to fill out that frame before he sees the field, but after Miami had a flood of de-commits in recent weeks, the ‘Canes will gladly welcome King’s flip to the U.

Darrell Jones

10:04  Has McKinney Finally Found A Home? 

Four-star DB Prentice McKinney has committed to Oklahoma. The 6’2″, 180 lb. DB out of Dallas (South Oak Cliff), TX was once a Notre Dame commit until it appeared the academic rigors might be a bit much to qualify. After flipping his commitment to UNC coach Larry Fedora, McKinney took a super-secret visit to Norman this past weekend when former ND DB coach Kerry Cooks joined Bob Stoops Oklahoma staff. Sometimes when it looks like a kid isn’t being loyal or flaky, it turns out they were true to their heart all along. The coach obviously forged a bond.

South Oak Cliff has turned out three four-star FBS talents this season, and three three-stars. The school alumni boasts some serious athletic pedigree including NBA-er Dennis Rodman and former Dallas Cowboy all-pro Harvey Martin.

Chuck Workman

10:03 AM  4-star receiver Antonio Calloway spurns Canes for the Gators

Four-star wide receiver Antonio Calloway surprised many this morning when he spurned the Miami Hurricanes to sign with the Florida Gators. This comes less than a week after Canes coach Al Golden and several other staff members went for an in-home visit with the Miami-native. Just three days later he went on an official visit to Gainesville and apparently he liked what new coach Jim McElwain was selling.

Justin Cates

9:10 AM  ESPN300 #1 Byron Cowart to Auburn

After deciding against taking an official visit to Florida State on the weekend of January 27th, eliminating the Seminoles, it came down to Florida and their new regime or Auburn this morning. Both FSU and Auburn are two years removed from the national title game, and the top prospect and DE in the country would have been a nice add for the ‘Noles in the wake of Mario Edwards early declaration for the NFL. But FSU has Josh Sweat in the fold, and that should serve as a nice consolation prize.

Chuck Workman

7:30 AM  And it had already begun….FLIPFLIPFLIPADELPHIA

Monday night Kai Locksley, the #17 dual-threat QB out of Baltimore (Gilman) spurned Jimbo Fisher and the ‘Noles in favor of Charlie Strong and the Texas Longhorns. Locksley, son of MD Offensive Coordinator Mike Locksley is looking at strong as having developed standout QB Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville, and it appears that Locksley places a lot of value in this year’s Texas recruiting crop. At 6’3, 188 lbs, he might need to add a little muscle, but the four-star runs a 4.6 and might still be growing height-wise.

Though he says he wants to play QB in college, the faster way to get him on the field for the Longhorns might be to play him at WR which he featured at in the UnderArmour game. He’s an explosive athlete either way, and has a pedigree to be able to thrive under discipline-first Strong. It’s probably not even that killer of a loss for FSU though, as they have an embarrassment of riches coming in this year. Interesting though, that for a player that wants to play QB in college, that Locksley would opt out of the ‘Noles program with Jameis Winston having just declared for the NFL draft. From the outside looking in, both programs are awash in cash, both programs have had recent problems with discipline. But Florida State has recognized success while Strong must contend with TCU and Baylor now. Can Locksley put up 50+ points four to five times a year as a QB for the Longhorns? Why wouldn’t he want to feast on the ACC and take an easier route to the playoff? Some people don’t want the easy way, but the path seemed paved for him in Tallahassee.

Either way, he’s a Gilman man, and if you wiki that school you’ll see nothing short of a who’s who, Governors, CEOS, important folks. For a media guy though, you have to appreciate any HS that produced Frank Deford, where would we be without him? The print Frank Deford anyhow, not the leering pastel creature who looks more like Vincent Price than Price himself. Anyhow, Locksley will factor in Austin, its just a matter of how soon. If he fulfills aspirations, he can expect to join fellow Gilman alum Victor Abiamari in the NFL. The school has produced a few football stars, including former all-ACCer Jamal Cox (GT). So, the young man has been groomed for this moment, its just an interesting decision to make in light of the recent fortunes of both programs. The amount of talent at FSU is daunting in terms of competition to earn a spot and star, to be sure. But the competition in the Big 12 right now involves an uphill climb for UT.

We’ll be here all day with updates on the ACC signings and snubbings. Best of luck to your team today if they are going head-to-head for some final pieces.

Chuck Workman

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