By Dave Glenn, ACC Sports Journal
March 1, 2004 In the weeks after national signing day for members of the Class of 2004, North Carolina picked up its first commitment from a high school junior, and Virginia added a third prospect to its Class of 2005. Ashburn (VA) Broad Run TE/DE Alex Field (6-5, 245), rated one of the top 25 juniors in Virginia, picked Virginia over early interest from Marshall and Maryland. As a junior, he was named district defensive player of the year as an end, and he also was first-team all-district as a tight end. Field had 11 sacks last fall for 6-4 Broad Run, which plays in Group 2A. He runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds and benches 310 pounds. His main recruiter with the Cavaliers is defensive line coach Mike London.
(Virginia is) his dream school. He's very excited about the football program, and of course they have outstanding academics there, Broad Run coach Ken Belchik said. Alex loves the game and loves being in the weight room. On the field, he's very aggressive. He's an intelligent, dominating blocker on offense, and nobody can handle him on defense. He has long arms, a huge frame and could easily add another 25 pounds in the next few years.
Robbins (NC) North Moore DT Camaron Thomas (6-4, 300), rated one of the top 25 juniors in North Carolina, chose UNC over early interest from Florida State, Indiana, Miami and others. North Moore, a Class 1A school, had only 13 players in its program three seasons ago. Thomas started at fullback and defensive tackle over the last two years. He rushed for more than 600 yards and six touchdowns as a junior, with 49 tackles on defense. He runs the 40-yard dash in 5.0 seconds and benches 320 pounds. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is offensive line coach Hal Hunter.
We're a small school in a small town, so I knew it was going to take a while for most people to find Cam, North Moore coach Bryan Lee said. Carolina discovered him earlier than everyone else, and when they offered it was an easy decision for him. His family saw Carolina as a perfect combination of football and academics, and as a coach I have a lot of respect for the program John Bunting is building and the way he's going about it.
Previous commitments to ACC schools for the Class of 2005 included Durham (NC) Southern WR Maurice Covington (Virginia), Gretna (VA) High QB Vic Hall (Virginia), Jones County (MS) Junior College LB/DE Anthony Kelly (Florida State) and Ashburn (VA) Stone Bridge TE Ed Wang (Virginia Tech).
Kelly, a 2003 FSU signee who failed to qualify academically coming out of Daytona Beach (FL) Seabreeze, recently confirmed his plans to re-sign with the Seminoles. A 6-3, 230-pounder, he played defensive end (10 sacks) for Jones County in 2003 but is expected to move to linebacker this fall. He said he is on track to graduate from junior college in December and hopes to enroll in Tallahassee in January 2005. His half-brother, Daytona Beach (FL) Seabreeze prep All-American QB Xavier Lee, signed with FSU in February.
Tigers Make Late 2004 Addition
Opelika (AL) High DT Jacquez McKissic
(6-7, 263), rated one of the top 40 seniors in Alabama, became the ACC's only post-signing day addition to the Class of 2004 when he signed with Clemson over N.C. State (visit) and Southern Miss (visit). Alabama and Auburn also showed interest.
An honorable mention all-state selection, McKissic had 43 tackles and eight sacks as a senior. As a junior, he had 32 tackles and eight sacks. He did not play football as a freshman and missed his sophomore season with a broken leg. He benches 300 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.9 seconds. With a 2.2 GPA and an 18 ACT score, he must slightly improve his academic credentials to qualify. His main recruiter with the Tigers was receivers coach Dabo Swinney.
Two of McKissic's teammates at Opelika earlier signed with ACC schools, including one with Clemson. Safety Adrian Kindred picked the Tigers over Louisville and Southern Miss. Defensive back Jeremy Gray chose N.C. State over Auburn and Louisville. Opelika products on Division I-A rosters in 2003 included WR Jeffery Frazier (Auburn), DB Will Herring (Auburn), DT T.J. Jackson (Auburn), RB Corey Larkins (Tennessee), WR Matthew Motley (Auburn) and DT Melvin Oliver (LSU).
After failing to land a single player from the Alabama high school ranks since 1989, Clemson signed four this year: McKissic, Kindred, Gadsden (AL) Litchfield WR La'Donte Harris and Mountain Brook (AL) High QB Tribble Reese. None of the four was rated among the top 20 seniors in the state this season.