Here are the ACC's top 25 true freshmen for the 2022 season
Several top ACC programs signed impressive recruiting classes in 2022, and some of those players will inevitably have an impact on the upcoming season.
Clemson, North Carolina and Miami led the way by each bringing in a top-15 class, according to 247Sports Composite rankings. Florida State, NC State, Boston College, Louisville and other ACC programs also brought in some top talent.
This list considers both a prospect’s composite recruiting ranking and whether or not the player has a reasonable path to playing time as a true freshman.
Without further adieu, here’s a breakdown of the ACC’s top 25 true freshmen for the 2022 season:
25. Blake Miller, OL, Clemson
Clemson went into Ohio and beat out the Buckeyes for Miller, who was a 4-star prospect. He’s been described as a “monster” by teammates this fall and could end up factoring into Clemson’s starting offensive line as a true freshman.
24. Michael Allen, RB, NC State
Allen is a speedy rusher who could force his way into NC State’s running back rotation as a true freshman. The Wolfpack don’t have an obvious replacement for Bam Knight, who is now in the NFL. Jordan Houston and Demie Sumo-Karngbaye are the leading candidate to have an increased role, but neither are established in the Wolfpack’s offense.
23. Khamauri Rogers, CB, Miami
22. Adam Randall, WR, Clemson
Two big-time prospects whose stock has been impacted by injuries. Randall will miss at least a chunk of the 2022 season after suffering a torn ACL in the spring. But prior to that injury, he was going to have a chance to crack Clemson’s receiver rotation. Rogers missed a lot of his senior year to an ACL injury, too. He’s healthy for 2022, but might not be in a position to break into the Canes’ cornerback rotation on Day 1. Either way, he’s one to watch.
21. Malaki Hamrick, LB, North Carolina
20. Sebastian Cheeks, LB, North Carolina
Cheeks and Hamrick are both talented linebackers who could show up on North Carolina’s 2-deep on Day 1. Cheeks is competing with Power Echols at middle linebacker while Hamrick is in the mix to backup Virginia transfer Noah Taylor at the JACK. It wouldn’t be surprising if at least 1 of these freshmen made an impact this season.
19. TreVonte’ Citizen, RB, Miami
18. Jaleel Skinner, TE, Miami
Skinner and Citizen are 2 of the most talented skill players to sign with an ACC program this cycle, but both could be headed for redshirt seasons in 2022. Miami is loaded at tight end (Will Mallory and Elijah Arroyo) and running back (Jaylan Knighton and Henry Parrish III). Still, either player is talented enough to make an impact this season if the Canes need them.
17. AJ Duffy, QB, Florida State
Duffy is somewhat buried on Florida State’s depth chart with Jordan Travis returning. But he’s been impressive so far in fall camp and could put himself in position to be FSU’s backup as a true freshman. He’s the second-highest ranked QB to sign with an ACC program this cycle behind Klubnik.
16. Toriano Pride, CB, Clemson
Like with Jeadyn Lukus, Pride is an interesting prospect for the Tigers because he plays a position with a lot of uncertainty at the top. Pride wasn’t as highly-rated as Lukus was coming out of high school, but he’s still got plenty of pedigree as a top-100 prospect.
15. Julian Armella, OL, Florida State
Armella is one of the best offensive line prospects in this class and he already has tremendous physical traits. Listed at 6-foot-6, 316 pounds, Armella could contribute early if called upon and has already practiced some with FSU’s starters during fall camp.
14. Joseph Griffin Jr., WR, Boston College
Griffin decided to stay close to home to play at Boston College, but he had an offer from Notre Dame and received serious interest from Ohio State. His commitment to the Eagles could pay off with some early playing time. Boston College has one of the best receivers in the conference in Zay Flowers, but there should still be room for Griffin to get some touches of his own. He has a high ceiling both long term and as a true freshman in 2022.
13. Wesley Bissainthe, LB, Miami
Bissainthe was a late addition to Miami’s 2022 recruiting class, but he could turn out to be a pivotal player. He likely won’t begin the year as one of Miami’s starting linebackers, but he could work his way into that rotation before too long. Linebacker is an area with multiple question marks for the Canes entering the 2022 season.
12. Cyrus Moss, EDGE, Miami
Moss is one of the top-10 highest-ranked prospects to sign with an ACC program this season. He drops slightly because he’s not likely to start the season on the two-deep. The Canes brought in multiple transfers to play on their defensive line and Moss’ frame (6-foot-5, 215 pounds) could use a year of development. He still has exceptionally high upside, though.
11. Jeadyn Lukus, CB, Clemson
Lukus strikes an important balance: He’s one of the highest-rated players to pick an ACC school in this cycle and he plays a position with uncertain depth. The Tigers lost both of their starting cornerbacks to the NFL last season, leaving open the possibility that Lukus could contribute early. Sheridan Jones and Nate Wiggins are currently expected to start at corner for Clemson, but he might be next on the depth chart if there’s an injury.
10. George Pettaway, RB, North Carolina
9. Omarion Hampton, RB, North Carolina
Both Hampton and Pettaway are true freshmen running backs who could be in line for big opportunities as true freshmen in Chapel Hill. The ACC Network’s Eric Mac Lain described the duo as “freaky” after seeing them in practice during fall camp. Running back is a big question mark for UNC this season, and this freshman duo just might be the answer.
8. Nyjalik Kelly, DL, Miami
Kelly has a chance to make an immediate impact as part of the Canes’ defensive line rotation. He’s already impressing coaches and teammates with his athleticism and advanced technique. He joins a Miami pass rush that recorded 33 sacks last season — tied for 5th in the ACC.
7. Antonio Williams, WR, Clemson
Clemson’s wide receiver room fell apart due to injuries in 2021. If that happens again this season, someone like Williams could be thrust into a big role. However, with Brannon Spector, Joseph Ngata and Beaux Collins back, he’s likely to be in a reserve role for now.
6. Travis Shaw, DL, North Carolina
Shaw is one of the best prospects to sign with North Carolina in the modern recruiting era. Listed at nearly 6-foot-6, 355 pounds, Shaw has the pedigree and physicality to be an early contributor. Look for him to be a disruptor on UNC’s defensive line in 2022.
5. Sam McCall, DB, Florida State
McCall is Florida State’s lone signee in the top-50 of the composite this cycle. It’s unclear if he’ll have a starting role from Day 1, but McCall has been at FSU since the spring so he could be in line for significant playing time early on.
4. Andre Green Jr., WR, North Carolina
Green has been very impressive in fall camp so far. It also looks like he’s going to benefit from an unfortunate injury situation as Antoine Greene reportedly suffered a collarbone injury last week. Greene was UNC’s second-leading receiver last year behind only Josh Downs. Green was likely going to sneak into UNC’s receiver rotation regardless, but this injury means he could have a big role on Day 1.
3. Azareye’h Thomas, CB, Florida State
Thomas has been the bigger winner of Florida State’s freshman class so far in fall camp. He’s drawn high praise from coach Mike Norvell and is developing a reputation as a playmaker. If either of Florida State’s starting cornerbacks falter at some point, look for Thomas to get a chance.
2. Zach Rice, OL, North Carolina
Rice is one of 3 ACC prospects who finished with a top 20 ranking in this cycle, according to 247Sports Composite rankings. He joins a UNC offensive line that struggled mightily last season and lost multiple starters. He could be a Day 1 starter at right tackle.
1. Cade Klubnik, QB, Clemson
Klubnik is easily the highest-ranked ACC commitment in the class of 2022, coming in at No. 7 overall in the 247Sports Composite. He’s not going to begin the season as Clemson’s starter, but he could finish the year as the Tigers’ quarterback if DJ Uiagalelei struggles again. Regardless, he’s the conference’s most talented recruit in this cycle by a wide margin.