The level of football played in the ACC has increased considerably in recent years. That all starts with the lifeblood of any program, recruiting. The conference is loaded with talented coaches who can also recruit successfully against anyone in the country.
For this article, we’ll utilize the 247Sports recruiting rankings to put into perspective the coaches having the most success with the current recruiting class. The 247Sports rankings utilize a metric that takes into account the number of recruits signed by each coach. That’s combined with the overall rating of each of those recruits.
It’s essentially the same metric that’s applied to team rankings.
With that here is part two of the top recruiters in the ACC for the 2018 class.
1. Ephraim Banda – Safeties Coach, Miami
— Ephraim Banda (@CoachBanda) July 3, 2017
The Hurricanes have recruited well for a long time, that’s nothing new. Still, they’re truly dominating on the recruiting trail under second-year head coach Mark Richt. Miami currently sits No. 1 in the rankings for the 2018 class with both Rivals.com and 247Sports. Ephraim Banda leads the way so far with credit for seven commitments including five four-star prospects and one five-star. Banda has one of the most incredible stories in college coaching, one which is absolutely worth reading about. He’s quickly risen from a kid bartending his way through playing football at a startup program, to being an indispensable part of the top-recruiting staff in college football.
2. Ron Dugans – Wide Receivers Coach/Passing Game Coordinator, Miami
Dugans took a much different route to the University of Miami. The Tallahassee native was an important part of Florida State’s 1999 national championship team as a wide receiver, and was selected in the third round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. After playing three seasons in the NFL, he served as a graduate assistant at Florida State before one season as an assistant with the Bengals. That led to stints at Georgia Southern, Louisville, and South Florida before Miami came calling. This season he has just three players committed, but they’re all four-star wide receivers. His ranking could increase based on the quality of talent he’s still reportedly associated with.
3. Thomas Brown – Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Coach, Miami
Is it any secret why Miami has the top class in the land right now? These coaches work together, so it’s no surprise that Miami’s largely young, and energetic staff is getting major results. Brown has four commitments so far with three four-stars and one five-star. The big catch is five-star running back Lorenzo Lingard who is rated the No. 2 running back in the country by 247Sports. Brown himself played running back for Mark Richt at Georgia before being picked in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. After a brief stint in the pros, the 31-year-old coached at Chattanooga, Marshall, and Wisconsin before returning to Georgia under his former coach. He followed Richt to Miami and has hit the ground running on the recruiting trail.
4. Charley Wiles – Defensive Line Coach, Virginia Tech
— OXVT (@OX_VT) July 3, 2017
One of the holdovers from the Frank Beamer era, Wiles has been in Blacksburg since 1996. He actually began his career as a graduate assistant on Beamer’s first Tech staff in 1987 before coaching at East Tennessee and Murray State. He’s long been regarded as a strong recruiter for Virginia Tech with roles in landing players including Darren Evans, Luther Maddy, and Isaiah Ford according to the 247Sports database. In this class, Wiles currently has credit for eight commitments including four-star talent Tre Turner. Wiles has been a big part of the Hokies’ success in North Carolina so far this class, and a major factor in a group ranked No. 8 overall by 247Sports and No. 9 by Rivals.com.
5. Keith Heckendorf – Quarterbacks Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, North Carolina
Congrats to @CoachHeck_ for being named to the Athletic Hall of Fame at St. Cloud State!
— Carolina Football (@TarHeelFootball) July 7, 2017
Heckendorff starred as a quarterback at St. Cloud State from 2000-03. He was a two-time finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy which is given to the top player in Division II. After one season coaching high school ball, he handled quality control for a season at Nebraska and then became a graduate assistant with the Cornhuskers. Heckendorf then served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for three seasons at Western Carolina, and joined the Tar Heels in player development from 2011-13. One season as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator set him up to coach the QB’s and handle recruiting for Larry Fedora. Heckendorf has one three-star commitment and two four-stars including quarterback Tyler Shough. The Tar Heel class is currently ranked No. 22 by 247Sports.