What things stood out on National Signing Day in the Atlantic Coast Conference? 247Sports gives our take in this breakdown of ACC Superlatives.
Kendall Fuller was a major pickup for the Hokies.
Best class at filling needs
Clemson, for its work in the secondary. In 2012 that was an obvious area of weakness (the team was a mediocre 71st in pass defense) and the Tigers worked hard on the recruiting trail to improve it. On Wednesday, Clemson came up extremely large, landing five-star cornerback MacKensie Alexander from Florida and safety Korrin Wiggins, who had been committed to North Carolina for more than nine months. All told, the Tigers are bringing in seven players that could end up in the secondary. It's an athletic and skilled group, and a few of those in it should fight for playing time this coming season.
Biggest surprise class
Virginia Tech. The Hokies produced their best class in recent memory even though they're coming off their worst season in more than a decade. Additionally, they had some staff changes. Despite that, Virginia Tech did quite well for itself. The group of 20 signees includes five-star cornerback Kendall Fuller, touted four-star safety Holland Fisher and four-star defensive tackle Wyatt Teller. Each of those players has difference-maker potential.This class was pretty much complete even before the 2012 season began, and Virginia Tech was able to keep it intact despite the un-Hokie-like results on the field and coaching turnover.
Best recruiting battle won
MacKensie Alexander by Clemson. The five-star cornerback from Florida chose the Tigers over Auburn and Mississippi State after a difficult recruitment that had even many close to Alexander guessing until the very end. After a recent visit to Auburn, it seemed as though that program had momentum. When his brother -- safety Mackenro Alexander -- visited there the following week, things looked even more ominous for Clemson. But on Wednesday, Alexander inked with Dabo Swinney's team, and became the jewel of the Tigers' 2013 class. It wouldn't be a shock if he's a first-year starter at some point.
Most significant flip:
Jalen Ramsey from Southern California to Florida State. The five-star cornerback committed to the Trojans back in the summer and had a close relationship with USC assistant Tee Martin. But new FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt didn't given up. In the end, the Seminoles not only outdueled USC but fought off arch-rival Florida. For FSU, Ramsey is one of the most talented and highest-ranked members of the class. His length at the cornerback position is excellent, as are his ball skills.
Best down the stretch
Florida State. The Seminoles didn't get everyone they wanted. And yes, they lost a couple commits late in the game. However, look what they added Wednesday -- Ramsey (see above), five-star outside linebacker Matthew Thomas and four-star defensive tackle Keith Bryant. That's impressive, as those three each have the potential to be multi-year starters in Tallahassee. With these pickups, the Seminoles found themselves in a familiar spot Wednesday -- inside the top 10 of the team rankings and No. 1 in the ACC.
Biggest obstacle overcome
Virginia. This isn't a class a lot of people are talking about. On the surface, Virginia's sixth-place position in the ACC team standings might not seem all that impressive. But consider these two factors … 1. The Cavaliers went only 4-8 in 2012 with two ACC victories. 2. The coaching staff had a high amount of turnover recently. Despite that, Virginia's class is ranked No. 29 overall and includes two four-star prospects, to go along with 19 that have three-star ratings. The headliners are all-purpose back Taquan Mizzell and safety Tim Harris, two talented prospects with extremely high upsides.
Top impact recruit
We're going to go with a tie here between Alexander at Clemson, Fuller at Virginia Tech and defensive end DeMarcus Walker at Florida State. Alexander not only is a terrific talent, but Clemson is hoping to improve its secondary so hitting the field early is likely. Fuller , like Alexander, is someone that should transition smoothly to the college game. Walker, a late flip from Alabama, is an early enrollee in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles have a big need at the strong side spot. Pittsburgh offensive tackle commit Dorian Johnson is another player to watch. Because of his size, athletic ability and advanced technique, it's a certainty he will get playing time in 2013. We also like receiver Deon Long at Maryland, a JUCO signee that should help the Terrapins right away.
Top impact sleeper
Sunny Odogwu, Miami. Because he played at Hargrave Military in 2012, Odogwu hasn't gotten much publicity. But he is someone that certainly passes the eye test. Odogwu is listed at 6-feet-8, 307 pounds, and he is someone that doesn't carry much bad weight. Make no mistake, Odogwu needs a lot of seasoning. He's still reasonably raw at this point. But with that frame, which includes a great reach, there definitely is a lot for the Miami coaching staff to work with in the coming years.
Dorian Johnson is headed to Pitt.
Georgia Tech. The Jackets never end up ranked all that high, yet still have won a lot of games so clearly they're doing something right on the coaching end of things. That said, coming off an ACC Championship Game appearance and bowl win over Southern Cal, it's a little surprising Georgia Tech isn't even in the Top 75 of the national rankings. It certainly didn't help that a few commits flipped to other programs down the stretch.
Class that could surprise
North Carolina. The Tar Heels signed only 17 players or otherwise their ranking would have been a good bit better. But while the quantity isn't high, the quality is. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky, defensive end Dajaun Drennon and all-purpose back T.J. Logan are high-ability prospects. Cornerbacks Desmond Lawrence and Brian Walker are two other nice finds. And don't forget about diminutive -- but dynamic -- athlete Ryan Switzer, who is capable of doing big things with the football in his hands.