National Signing Day And The Key Takeways For The ACC

Gators Dominate ‘Canes In Florida Recruiting

The decommit of coveted running back Jordan Scarlett from Miami culminated on National Signing Day when he announced he would play in college years in Gainesville with the rival Florida Gators. While the flip of Scarlett may have been the most painful for the Hurricanes it wasn’t the only recruiting loss they suffered to Florida. Four-star recruit Jordan Cronkite also flipped from Miami to Florida, and they lost out on three-star offensive lineman Fredrick Johnson. Johnson picked the Gators after expressing concern about his ability to get early playing time with the ‘Canes.

Along with the disparity between Miami and Florida’s success on NSD, the Hurricanes also lost out on several recruits who played the school in their final five. The troubles on signing day emphasize the changing of the guard in the Sunshine State that has plagued Miami for years. The Hurricanes used to own in state recruiting, however they have taken a backseat to the Gators and the Florida State Seminoles in recent years, with the trend continuing on Wednesday.

Clemson Cleans Up On National Signing Day

Miami’s struggles in locking up top talent on National Signing Day was a microcosm of the ACC Atlantic division’s recruiting domination over the Coastal, and Clemson continued the trend. Florida State had it’s usual success Wednesday, but Clemson was not far behind. The Tigers recruiting success was a bit under-the-radar as many of their top talents were locked up and enrolled long before the drama that is NSD unfolded. Clemson was able to largely avoid the nervous time waiting for recruits to fax in their letters of intent, and still walked away with one of the nations top classes.

The Tigers were able to land three five-star recruits, including the coveted Deon Cain, a Florida native wide receiver. They also locked up a slew of four-star recruits and above average three-star’s to round out a top five 2015 class. The quietly successful recruiting season for Clemson speaks to the way head coach Dabo Swinney has turned the Tiger program around. The sky appears to be the limit for the up-and-coming Clemson.

Closing Time Rough On Seminoles

Florida State put together a top-three 2015 recruiting class, headlined by 14 players of four-star or better quality. Still, when the dust settled on Wednesday, something felt a miss for Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles. Florida State lost out on several high profile recruits who chose to stay closer to home. The Seminoles were also denied a signing week visit by five-star defensive end Byron Cowart, who waved on Wednesday before finally signing on with Auburn.

The Seminoles still had a class that would be the envy of most other programs, but what prevented them from closing the deal with several five-stars that could have made the 2015 class one of the best ever? The trouble that has followed the Seminoles on their stellar two year run, namely the face of the program Jameis Winston, made the Seminoles a polarizing destination. No team has been as hated outside of their home stomping grounds since perhaps the late 80’s version of the Miami Hurricanes.

Could some recruits simply rather remain close to home, or feel that a better opportunity presented itself outside of Tallahassee? Possibly. Could the backlash against the talented, yet troubled Seminoles have kept a handful of potential signee’s away? Probably.

Surprises From Coastal Division On National Signing Day

The Coastal division of the ACC couldn’t keep pace with the superior Atlantic and its power house programs on Wednesday, but still had a measure of success. What was surprising to some is the Coastal schools that performed well on NSD. The division’s top two schools from 2014 Georgia Tech and Duke both finished outside the top 40 and had only one four-star recruit between them (Duke). Along with the aforementioned Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, schools that both hovered around .500 a season ago both had top 30 classes.

Both schools brought in a bevy of four-star recruits, headlined by Tim Settle and Austin Clark for the Hokies and Jalen Dalton for the Tar Heels. In 2014 Virginia Tech had an unusually tough go under 28 year head coach Frank Beamer, and North Carolina fielded one of the worst defensive units in the nation. However, on Wednesday both schools proved that they are capable of still breathing some much needed life into the ACC Coastal division’s recruiting efforts.

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