By Scott Vogelsberg
December 26, 2004 Any successful college football coach will tell you that recruiting a school's home state is a top priority in the recruiting game. Not only does developing strong relationships with the state's high schools ensure that future crops will look your way, but it's also vital in keeping the state's top talent from going to neighboring schools or conference foes.
We'll take a look at the top five players in each state in the Atlantic Coast Conference and where they are either committed or which schools they are considering. All prospects ranked by ACC Area Sports Journal except for the state of Massachusetts, for which we used Scout.com ratings. The school lists for each prospect are the most recent provided by Scout.com.
|Antone Smith||1||RB||5-8/185||Pahokee||AUB, FSU, GA, LSU, MIA, OSU|
|Maurice Wells||2||RB||5-9/185||Jacksonville||GT, OSU, FSU, MD, UNC, ND, USC|
|Fred Rouse||3||WR||6-3/187||Tallahassee||ALA, FSU, MIA, OKLA, TEXAS|
|Kenneth Phillips||4||S||6-2/195||Miami||FLA, FSU, MIA, TENN, NCSU|
|Matt Hardrick||5||OL||6-5/342||Orlando||FSU, FLA, OKLA, MIA, MISS, GA, LSU, NEB|
State Notes: In what looks to be yet another loaded year in the Sunshine State, the best players in the state are sticking true to the recent trend of not having decided on a college destination. Most of the finest players in Florida prefer to wait until the days leading up to Signing Day. The "Big Three" of Miami, Florida State and Florida usually have their pick of those prospects. Among ACC schools, N.C. State has the best ties to the Sunshine State due to Amato's 18-year tenure at Florida State, but the Pack's prospects took a hit when lead recruiter and associate head coach Doc Holliday left to join the Gators staff under new coach Urban Meyer. One interesting development to watch is the fact that Miami is in a scholarship crunch and will likely only take five or six more commitments
|Justin Mincey||1||DE||6-6/240||Folkston||Florida State commitment|
|Trey Blackmon||2||LB||6-0/192||LaGrange||Auburn commitment|
|Kyle Moore||3||DT||6-6/249||Warner Robins||GA, MIA, OKLA, TENN, USC, MICH|
|Matt Dunham||4||LB||6-2/220||Columbus||Florida State commitment|
|Marcus Washington||5||LB||6-1/216||Waynesboro||Georgia commitment|
State Notes: Georgia Tech appears to be having a rough time in-state, landing commitments from only two of the top 40 players in the state thus far. Coach Chan Gailey and his staff have some work to do here, but the Yellow Jackets only have nine commits thus far, so Gailey & Co. do have grants to work with.
|Derrick Williams||1||WR||6-0/193||Greenbelt||FLA, OKLA, PSU, TENN, TEXAS, FSU, LOU, MIA|
|Melvin Alaeze||2||DT||6-2/276||Randallstown||MD, VT, MIA, USC, FLA, FSU, OSU|
|Morgan Green||3||RB||6-0/190||Indian Head||Maryland commitment|
|Ike Whitaker||4||QB||6-4/205||Germantown||Virginia Tech commitment|
|Anthony Wiseman||5||DB||5-9/173||Hyattsville||Maryland commitment|
State Notes: The Terrapins have secured commitments from five of the top 11 players in the state. The top two prospects in Maryland are not likely headed to College Park, but the rest of the top five are going to ACC schools -- two to Maryland and one to Virginia Tech. This year has marked another strong effort by the Terps, securing commitments early and often. Maryland has 20 commits already, so it is closing in on its limit.
|Jarred Harrell||1||TE||6-6/240||Marion||Maryland commitment|
|James McGillicuddy||2||DT||6-3/300||Shrewsbury||HARVARD, DUKE, STAN, B.C., ND, TENN, VANDY|
|Mike McLaughlin||3||LB||6-2/245||Woburn||Boston College commitment|
|Zack Asack||4||QB||6-4/185||Westwood||Duke commitment|
|Austin Giles||5||OL||6-3/275||Marshfield||Boston College commitment|
State Notes: Four of the top five prospects in Massachusetts have already committed to ACC schools. Boston College has just a dozen verbal commitments, so the Eagles have the room to reel in plenty more.
|Derek Nicholson||1||LB||6-0/228||Winston-Salem||FSU, MIA, UNC, VT, TENN, CLEM, GA|
|Toney Baker||2||RB||5-10/218||Jamestown||UNC, NCSU, TENN, VA, VT|
|Mohamed Massaquoi||3||WR||6-2/195||Charlotte||Georgia commitment|
|Jonathan Crompton||4||QB||6-4/216||Waynesville||Tennessee commitment|
|Jonathan Hannah||5||TE||6-5/255||Hope Mills||FSU, GA, UNC, NCSU, SC, VT|
State Notes: Three of the top five players in North Carolina have not committed, and the two that have are going out of state, to Tennessee and Georgia. The four ACC schools within the state - N.C. State, UNC, Wake Forest and Duke - continue to struggle with keeping the top North Carolina talents within the borders. Looking further down the list, only one of the top 10 players has committed to an ACC school thus far, with quarterback Cameron Sexton pledging to the Tar Heels.
|C.J. Byrd||1||S||6-3/184||North Augusta||Georgia commitment|
|Rendrick Taylor||2||WR||6-2/207||Bennettsville||CLEM, ALA, FSU, SC, GA, GT, UNC|
|Mike Davis||3||RB||5-10/210||Columbia||ALA, AUB, CLEM, KY, UNC, SC|
|Eric Huggins||4||WR||6-3/190||Conway||Oklahoma commitment|
|Josh Miller||5||LB||6-1/210||Manning||Clemson commitment|
State Notes: National powers Georgia and Oklahoma plucked two of the top five players out of South Carolina in the early going, but Clemson prevented the shutout by landing Miller. The Tigers have 22 commitments, so coach Tommy Bowden doesn't have many more grants to work with. The job of securing the best players in South Carolina won't get any easier with coach Steve Spurrier taking over the Gamecocks program
|Victor Harris||1||CB||6-0/186||Highland Sprrings||MIA, MICH, USC, VA, VT|
|Elan Lewis||2||RB||5-8/214||Hampton||Virginia Tech commitment|
|Vicqual Hall||3||QB||5-11/170||Gretna||Virginia commitment|
|Patrick Sheil||4||OL||6-6/275||Clifton||Boston College commitment|
|Deveon Simmons||5||LB||6-1/210||Virginia Beach||Virginia Tech commitment|
State Notes: Four of the top five players in the state are going to the ACC, with Boston College stealing highly regarded lineman Sheil. The Wahoos and Hokies have traditionally had a stranglehold on the state since they are the only two Division 1-A schools in Virginia, but the state is fiercely recruited from all sides now. Virginia is just about done, with 24 commitments, but Virginia Tech has only 16 in the stable and now has the ammunition of using a conference championship on the recruiting trails.
LINKS FOR MORE RECRUITING INFORMATION:
ACC Football Commitments, December 26, 2004:
State-By-State Football Fall Recruiting Rankings, August 23, 2004:
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