Locker Room: Things heating up in the ACC

The recruiting battles really started heating up over the past two weeks in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Miami continued to lead the way when it signed 4 star defensive back Al Blades. North Carolina launched a counter attack with six commitments, the most prominent being 4 star quarterback Tyler Slough who turned down Alabama to play for the Tar Heels.

Virginia Tech continued to keep pace and signed highly regarded 3 star multi-purpose running back Nadir Thompson from Bailey, North Carolina, and Thompson became the fourth player from Carolina to commit to the Hokies.

Recruiting goes a bit crazy this time of the summer because over the past two weeks and the coming couple weeks, programs are holding on campus camps, and many of the players attending are there with an invitation, and the goal is to get as many commitments as possible. For instance, Texas Tech out of the Big 12 is still not having a banner recruiting season, however, over the past 10 days the Red Raiders have gotten nine commitments, a record since such statistics were kept. But in the case of Texas Tech, the who becomes more prominent that how many.

Miami not only leads the ACC, but the nation in recruiting so far. It’s about to become a traffic jam at the top with Ohio State closing fast, but at this writing the Hurricanes have 18 commitments, one 5 star, and 14, four star recruits. Ohio State’s per recruit rating is higher than Miami, but the Hurricane still has a narrow lead because the Buckeyes have four less commitments, but that’s a positive sign for OSU.

But the ACC is doing better as an overall conference in recent years. Florida State is 5th in the nation with a 5 star recruit and six 4’s. Notre Dame, who is involved with the ACC for five mandatory games each season is 6th rated in the nation with seven 4’s, and five 3’s. Clemson is 12th in the country with two, 5-star recruits and three 4’s so far.

And next comes the Hokies who at one point after a huge week managed to move up in the Rivals ratings all the way to 16th, then fell to 21, but now after getting a pledge from Thompson is back to fourth in the ACC and 19th in the country. And even with a much needed rush by Carolina, the Tar Heels are 5th in the ACC and 25th in the nation.

There’s a Bunch of Transfers Too:

Recruiting is not the only way to stock programs with talent, transfers are an ever increasing aspect of college sport and certainly football is no exception. The most focused upon transfers center around the all-important quarterback position. Lately it seems if a recruited player ends up being second or even third string, the quarterback of today does not wish to wait his turn, and he transfers to a Power Five Conference team that needs a capable QB real bad, or transfers down to insure playing time.

There are some big time quarterback transfers across the country that figure to have an immediate impact on the approaching season, and every conference in the nation will be affected. Who are the top quarterback transfers, mostly proven, highly recruited performers? Here are the major eight in this opinion. All of the listed quarterbacks were five and four star national recruits.

Jarrett Stidham transferred from Baylor to escape the turmoil and they hope he gets rid of the turmoil at Auburn. Will Grier will be the quarterback at West Virginia after transferring from Florida, Kyle Allen left Texas A&M for Houston, Malik Zaire is a graduate transfer from Notre Dame to Florida in the hopes filling the void left by Grier’s leaving for WVU. Max Browne lost the starting job at Southern Cal to Sam Darnell, and he will have no trouble winning the starting job at Pitt, and he should improve the Panthers’ attack.

Blake Barnett left Alabama for Arizona State, Tanner Lee left Tulane for Nebraska, and Brandon Harris left LSU for Carolina. There are others, but these are the highlighted ones that at face value have the opportunity to make the biggest impacts.

And Furthermore:

Louisville’s basketball program has been severely penalized. UL will appeal. I do not understand what sort of case they could present unless they throw themselves on the courtroom floor and beg for forgiveness which would not dull me on the verdict at all. You have strippers and sexual activity on campus in a dorm involving recruits under the supervision of an assistant coach, and the head coach Rick Pitino says he knows nothing, and says the program is being treated unfairly. Heavens to Betsy!

Pinto is being suspended for five ACC games next season, 108 regular season games and 15 NCAA Tournament games are under question, there is already a four-year probation, and how could anybody argue if the penalties had been more severe. This should be an embarrassing episode for Louisville, the ACC, Pitino, everyone involved with Cardinal basketball and the NCAA. I fear standards have been relaxed too far.

And for the direct opposite. Phil Mickelson skipped the United States Open Golf Championship last week so he could attend and be the commencement speaker at his daughter’s high school graduation. A classy decision by a classy guy.

You hear all the time about certain coaches being the best, and because of that places like Kentucky and Duke get all the top college basketball players. For years around hear people thought Carolina had all the talent and at one point under Dean Smith, the Tar Heels were certainly well stocked with outstanding players. No argument there. But that was then. This is now. How do you judge what is a good coach? Basketball fans talk all the time about coach “K” at Duke, and Calipari at Kentucky. I submit a couple pieces of information. Since Roy Williams has been the head coach at Carolina the Tar Heels have not had a single first round draft pick, nor coached a starting player in the NBA All-Star Game.

Recruiting for college basketball for 2017 is 99 percent over. For the 8th consecutive year, Duke and Kentucky have substantially higher rated recruiting classes than Carolina. In fact, Virginia Tech’s class is rated higher than the Tar Heels. That’s eight straight years of having lesser talent according to those in the know. Now, somebody explain to me how the Tar Heels have managed to win four conference titles, quality for four Final Fours, and win two national championships. Seems as if Roy Williams just might be able to coach a little bit too.

By Dan Callahan

The Patriot