Friedlander: Taking stock of Early Signing Day in the ACC
Random observations from around the ACC on a busy opening day of college football’s early signing period:
Odds and ends
Clemson and Duke tied for the honor of having the largest class with 26 signees each. Miami and Virginia Tech were close behind with 25. North Carolina was the only other program to sign as many as 20 players. …
The smallest class, predictably because of its recent coaching change, belongs to Louisville. Syracuse, which finished at the bottom of 247Sports’ ACC rankings, had the next fewest at 15, followed by Florida State (16), NC State (17), Boston College (17), Virginia (18), Wake Forest (19) and Georgia Tech (19). …
There are 4 5-star recruits in the ACC’s early 2023 class. The Hurricanes picked up 2 of them with Clemson and Florida State 1 each. Dabo Swinney’s Tigers picked up the most 4-star prospects with 18. …
The tallest player signed by an ACC team is offensive tackle Lucas Simmons of Florida State at 6-8. The 2 shortest are Duke wide receiver Que’Sean Brown and Miami wide receiver Nathaniel Joseph, both of whom are foot smaller at 5-8. …
Brown and Louisville wide receiver Cataurus Hicks are the lightest players in the class at 160 pounds. Clemson offensive tackle Zechariah Owens is the heaviest at a stout 365. …
Miami punter Dylan Joyce traveled the farthest to get to the ACC, coming all the way from Australia. …
Florida produced the most new ACC players with 54, followed closely by Georgia with 50. Virginia is next with 34.
Going strictly by the rankings, Miami gets top honors with a class of 23 signed newcomers. It’s a group highlighted by 5-star offensive tackles Francis Mauigoa and Samson Okulola, along with 13 4-star prospects.
The Hurricanes’ class is currently ranked No. 3 nationally behind only SEC powers Alabama and Georgia. But that is still subject to change thanks to a development that has coach Mario Cristobal and his team’s fans holding their collective breath.
Miami’s highest-rated recruit, 5-star defensive back Cormani McClain, didn’t show up for his signing ceremony at Lakeland High School on Wednesday. It has been reported by Yahoo!Sports that McClain missed because he was working on a video to go along with his signing. But his no-show also raises concerns that he might be thinking about an 11th-hour flip, perhaps to rival Florida.
How surprising was Cormani McClain’s decision not to sign today?
His own school didn’t know 😬
— Rivals (@Rivals) December 21, 2022
Under the radar class
Wake Forest’s class might only rank 7th in the ACC and 45th nationally, but that’s still up slightly from pre-signing day projections of 10th and 51st. It’s also the highest-rated group of coach Dave Clawson’s 9-season tenure with the Deacons.
It’s a group led by 4-star wide receiver Micah Mays, a 6-2, 175-pound Florida native who projects to be the next in a long line of prolific offensive weapons in Wake’s slow mesh RPO offense. All 19 of the Deacons’ committed recruits were signed by 8:30 a.m., with no surprises
While Clawson said he was unaware of the fact that this is his highest-rated class to date until told by a reporter on Wednesday’s Signing Day Zoom, it’s a revelation that doesn’t surprise him.
“Since we’ve been winning and since we got the new facilities, it seems like we can win a lot more battles and we hold onto more guys late,” he said. “We don’t win every battle. But when we put our recruiting board together, we’re getting more guys at the top of that board than ever before.”
New Louisville coach Jeff Brohm had just over a week to pull together his first class at his alma mater, so it’s no surprise that the Cardinals experienced the most volatile Signing Day among the ACC’s 14 programs.
The former Louisville quarterback managed to ink 12 recruits Monday. It’s a solid group that includes 4 4-star prospects, including quarterback Pierce Clarkson, and 3-star defensive lineman Micah Carter, who originally committed to Brohm when he was at Purdue.
There’s still plenty of fluidity to the class.
Brohm is still waiting to hear from 4-star wide receiver DeAndre Moore, a teammate of Clarkson at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif. Moore pledged to former Cardinals coach Scott Satterfield in May, but recently visited and is also being pursued by Georgia. A commit from California, 4-star tight end Jamari Johnson, has also delayed his signing and could be in the process of flipping to Oregon.
Cornerback Rayquan Adkins, who committed to the Cardinals, decided to follow Satterfield to Cincinnati.
Not all the news is bad, though. The Cardinals held off ACC rival Miami for linebacker Stanquan Clark and got an 11th-hour pickup in 3-star running back Keyjuan Brown from Atlanta.
The top ACC classes ✍️🏈
📺 ACC Huddle Signing Day Special (3 PM ET) pic.twitter.com/BNrLSOH3sP
— ACC Network (@accnetwork) December 21, 2022
NC State lost a pledged recruit Monday when 3-star wide receiver Tamarcus Cooley decided to sign with Maryland.
Wolfpack Dave Doeren made up for the loss by flipping 3-star defensive back Rohan Davy from Cincinnati. Davy is small at 5-10, 190 pounds, but he makes up for it with a versatility and quickness that allow him to play either safety or nickel in defensive coordinator Tony Gibson’s 3-3-5 scheme.
“There are a lot of moving targets still with the way things have changed in the recruiting world,” Doeren said. “… It’s a long, tedious, detailed experience when you’re showing a young man and his family everything you can about your program and why it’s the right fit.”
Davy is 1 of 21 players to sign with State on Monday, a group that includes quarterback Lex Thomas – the third member of his family to play for the Wolfpack. He is the brother of wide receiver Thayer Thomas and linebacker Drake Thomas.
If the surname of UNC offensive line signee DJ Geth sounds familiar to Tar Heels fans, it’s because his father Ed Geth played basketball for coach Dean Smith’s teams from 1992-96.
There are also some colorful names among the ACC’s signees.
Among them is Virginia Tech defensive end Ishmael Findlayter. I’m not sure how his name is pronounced, but it would have been more appropriate if he’d have waited until the February signing period instead of committing sooner than later.
As for Clemson signee Zechariah “Flapjack” Owens, there’s no mystery as to how he got his culinary nickname. He’s a 6-7, 365-pound offensive tackle.
And then there’s Syracuse signee Oluwademilade Omopariola. All I can say is I’m glad I only have to spell it, not pronounce it.