When Florida State took down Auburn in the National Championship, the ACC proved they’re a force to be reckoned with, especially along the recruiting trail. Three of this conference’s teams are currently ranked in Rivals’ top 12 classes of 2014, so you’re bound to see a handful of these guys hitting the gridiron as early as this fall.
Despite the unfortunate ending for the Hurricanes in 2013, Al Golden has done a notable job pulling in recruits for the upcoming season. Five-star defensive end Chad Thomas, coming in at 6-foot-5 and 229 lbs., will be a solid addition to their defensive line. It also doesn’t hurt that they pulled in two four-star offensive linemen, as well as Braxton Berrios from Raleigh, N.C.
The Hokies pulled off a highly-ranked 2014 class, with a majority of commits hailing from in-state. However, a lot of attention is being paid to Pennsylvania native and three-star quarterback Andrew Ford, who could give senior Mark Leal a run for his money.
Despite the Cavaliers coming off of their worst season since 1981, Mike London hit the 2014 recruiting scene hard and has plenty to show for it. Virginia snagged two of the nation’s biggest prospects, Quin Blanding and Andrew Brown. The pair could be immediate contributors to the Cavalier defense.
The Tigers worked hard to replace several holes left by departing players, including quarterback Tajh Boyd. Snagging Deshaun Watson, the country’s top dual-threat prospect, will certainly help. To keep the rest of the offense in tact, four-star athletes Adam Choice and Jae’lon Oglesby will join four-star receivers Demarre Kitt and Artavis Scott.
After defeating Auburn for the national title, the Seminoles are focused on retaining their spot at the top. Their fifth-ranked 2014 class should help cushion the blow of losing several players to the NFL Draft. Florida State is sure to be a force this season with two five-star recruits, Dalvin Cook and Travis Rudolph. Cook should see plenty of playing time with the departures of Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. The Noles also snagged a late commit in Florida native Javon Harrison, a 6-foot-1, 187-lb. wide receiver who had verbally committed to Virginia Tech.
North Carolina State
Under head coach Dave Doeren, the Wolfpack went through several highs and lows in the 2013 season, but more consistency is on the way, especially on the defensive line. The Wolfpack reeled in a pair of top-flight defensive ends in Justin Jones and Kentavius Street. The duo rank among the top 15 at their position and will terrorize opposing quarterbacks for years to come. Jones, at 6-foot-3, 275 lbs., and Street, at 6-foot-2, 267-lbs., pack a powerful punch and are bound to collapse offensive lines.
After David Cuttcliffe led the Blue Devils to their best season in history in 2013, Duke’s heading nowhere but up. They should get there fast with signal caller Nicodem Pierre. At 6-foot-2, 203 lbs., Pierre possesses good size for the renowned quarterback guru Cutcliffe, with plenty of speed and athleticism. Pierre chose the Blue Devils over several schools already rich in football tradition, signifying Duke’s rise to respectability. One of Pierre’s main targets will undoubtedly be wide out Trevon Lee who comes to Duke out of talent-laden Florida.