Caulton Tudor

ACC on verge of impressive QB harvest

Posted January 24, 2014

Jacoby Brissett (12) drops back to throw a deep ball into the end zone during the NC State Spring Game on April 20, 2013 in Raleigh, NC.

Football’s national signing day (Feb. 5) is more than a week away, but barring late defections, the ACC’s quarterback recruit harvest will be its most promising ever.

Recruit ratings for any and all football positions are well documented for being a hit-big or miss-big equation.

Nonetheless, it’s at least interesting that the usual middling posture of the ACC skill-position signees will ratchet up this signing day simply as a result of the quarterback group.

The recruit ratings services vary their judgments to some degree, but there’s little debate that the ACC has verbal pledges from at least five of the nation’s top 20 or so quarterbacks, and six if you mix in Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer.

The best of the group is expected to be Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, who is being touted as the No. 1 overall all-purpose QB.

A 6-3, 190-pounder from Gainesville, Ga., Watson already has enrolled at Clemson and will compete with senior Cole Stoudt and sophomore Chad Kelly for the starting job being vacated by Tajh Boyd.

Stoudt, the son of former Pittsburgh Steeler standout Cliff Stoudt, played in eight games in 2013 and completed 47 of 59 passes for 415 yards and five touchdowns (no interceptions). Kelly was also effective in his five games.

The odds favor Stoudt, obviously, but Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris reportedly put more time and detail into Watson’s recruiting than any other player since he joined Dabo Swinney’s staff three seasons ago and started to develop Boyd.

Bridgewater, Lee exits add to drain

Whether Watson starts, only plays sporadically or even red shirts, the potential for freshmen quarterbacks to make an impact in the ACC may be the highest ever.

Nine of the 15 primary starters from 2013 have to be replaced, and that’s including UNC’s Marquise Williams as a primary starter even though Bryn Renner probably would have started all 13 games had it not been for injuries.

The quarterback drain increased recently when Teddy Bridgewater left Louisville early for the NFL draft and Georgia Tech starter Vad Lee (Durham Hillside) transferred to James Madison.

N.C. State, Wake Forest, Miami, Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College and Pitt also will be basically starting from scratch.

At State, promising recruit Jalan McClendon (6-4, 200) from Charlotte was not among eight second-semester early enrollees, but still probably will arrive as No. 2 on the depth chart behind transfer Jacoby Brissett, a red-shirt junior who started three games over two seasons at Florida.

Carolina’s Williams was impressive in late season, led the Tar Heels to a bowl win over Cincinnati and is familiar with the offensive system. Even so, new coordinator Seth Littrell will welcome 4-star Caleb Henderson (6-4, 225, Burke, Va.) to a group that already includes former Ohio prep star Mitch Trubisky, a red-shirt freshman.

New Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson will have to replace Tanner Price. Millbrook’s Lemar Harris (6-2, 180) and John Wolford (6-1, 209, Jacksonville, Fla.) will join red-shirt senior Patrick Thompson and red-shirt soph Tyler Cameron in the competition.

Cameron (6-3, 220) and Thompson (6-2, 210) have limited game experience, but Cameron was mildly recruited by a few SEC teams as a prep player in Jupiter, Fla.

Miami, which has to replace Stephen Morris, signed two top-rated prospects – Brad Kaaya (6-4, 213, West Hills, Calif.) and Malik Rosier (6-2, 195, Mobile, Ala.).

Florida State, which needs no quarterback help immediately, will bring in heavily recruited Teron Harris (6-0, 180, Miami) to join the group behind Jameis Winston.

Other than the Seminoles, Duke seems best set at the position with returnees Anthony Boone (likely 2nd-team preseason all-league pick) and Brandon Connette plus Thomas Sink (returning from injury) and Parker Boehme (6-3, 220), who red-shirted in 2013.

Early football enrollments for area schools

The following players signed during the early period and have already enrolled, making them eligible for spring drills participation.

Johnathan Lloyd (ATH, 6-0, 195, Southern Alamance)

Co’Dondrea Purdie (DB, 5-11, 185, New Bern)
Curtis Burston (WR, 6-1, 215, Apex Middle Creek)
Blake Norwood (DB, 6-2, 195, Pensacola, Fla.)
Trevon Brown (WR, 6-3, 190, Wilmington N. Hanover)

Tony Adams (OL, 6-1, 327, Charlotte Independence)
Robert Brunstetter (C, 6-2, 225, Mocksville Davie)
B.J. Hill (DL, 6-3, 250, Oakboro West Stanly)
Bo Hines (WR, 6-1, 190, Charlotte Christian)
Ty Linton (LB, 6-2, 215, Charlotte Christian)
Stephen Louis (WR, 6-1, 190, Palm Beach, Fla. Lakes)
Kalen McCain (DB, 6-1, 175, Durham Hillside)
Terronne Prescod (OL, 6-4, 340, Decatur, Ga. Columbia)

Allen Artis (DB, 6-1, 190, Marietta, Ga. Wheeler)
Brandon Fritts (TE, 6-4, 215, Mentor, Ohio)
Elijah Hood (RB, 6-0, 220, Charlotte Catholic)
Bentley Spain (OL, 6-6, 285, Charlotte Providence)
M.J. Stewart (DB, 5-11, 190, Arlington, Va. Yorktown)


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  • Ken D. Jan 25, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I looked into this, though not in great depth, a year or so ago. For the few years I looked at. about 60% of the 4 and 5 star players were drafted by the NFL. Of the 40% who weren't, some of those were derailed by injury, not talent.

    So they don't miss very often with the top high school talent. Where they miss is overlooking the late bloomers. In any given draft class, probably 40-50% of the players selected were 3 stars or lower in high school.

    Remember, this was NOT a very scientific survey.

  • StunGunn Jan 25, 2014

    View quoted thread

    It's probably a roll of the dice, similar to players making the jump from college to the pros, although the pros have a lot more information on players to go on than colleges do.

  • vt94hokies Jan 24, 2014

    Clemson and FSU have some solid QB's once again. Fisher and Dabo are leading the way in recruitment. Several schools will be working hard in the off season to find the right fit. VT is one of these listed. I hope we can find one to get us back again. We have no experience at the present. Still hoping.

  • sportznutV2.1 Jan 24, 2014

    Is that really a picture of Brandon Mitchell under a title with "impressive QB" in it?

  • neilgus Jan 24, 2014

    Duke's returning backup qb is Sirk not Sink. He is very good.

  • Ken D. Jan 24, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Adding icing to State's cake, that sweet deal could have belonged to the Heels, who need it even more than State because of their scholarship restrictions. State's recruiting coordinator should get a bonus for this one.

  • 35 - 7 ROFL Jan 24, 2014

    View quoted thread

    He never enrolled at UNC so he has all 4 years of eligibility remaining. The only hurdle was being released from his NLI which expires next month. Also, if I remember correctly, the D-backs will be footing the bill for his collegiate career (per his contract) so he won't use up a scholarship.

  • Ken D. Jan 24, 2014

    The NC State roster now shows Linton as a Freshman, so that must mean reports that he had previously enrolled at Carolina are not correct. That gives him the full five years to use four seasons of eligibility, even though he is 22 years old. That has to count as a major coup for State.

  • Ken D. Jan 24, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Thanks. With that as a jumping off point, I was able to find some articles about him being a UNC recruit in the class of 2010. One of the stories referred to him "re-enrolling" at UNC before he changed his commitment to State. If that is accurate (that he had previously enrolled at UNC) his eligibility clock would be winding down fast.

    How many years' eligibility does he have left? And I wonder how much of that $1.25 million signing bonus from the D-backs he has left.

  • 35 - 7 ROFL Jan 24, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Ty Linton and Brunstetter are preferred walk ons with Linton coming back to play college football after trying the pro baseball ordeal (see link). Brandon Pittman is a Senior LB so I'm not quite sure why he's listed.




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