Football in the Atlantic Coast Conference gets started on Thursday evening when the North Carolina Tar Heels host the No. 10 Miami Hurricanes in a nationally televised match-up on ESPN. While it is a Thursday game, which complicates travel for some prospects, the Tar Heels are still expected to have dozens of top-tier prospects in attendance.
Top247 DE Lorenzo Featherston is among the prospects expected in for UNC's game vs. Miami.
In addition to numerous commitments from around the North Carolina area, senior targets such as Greensboro (N.C.) Page four-star defensive end Lorenzo Featherston, Durham (N.C.) Hillside four-star wide receiver Trevion Thompson, and Havelock (N.C.) four-star running back Derrell Scott are expected to attend.
A large group of underclassmen are also expected to make it. The headliner of the group is the top prospect from North Carolina 2015 per 247Sports, Lexington (N.C.) North Davidson five-star defensive tackle Shy Tuttle. Aiken (S.C.) South four-star weak-side defensive end Rasool Clemons is also expected in Chapel Hill.
From the 2016 class, a pair of teammates from Havelock (N.C.) are expected in linebacker Keion Joyner and athlete Kyran Bowman. Joyner is already one of the most pursued prospects in his class.
A complete look at the expected visitors can be seen here.
Showdown in Death Valley
The biggest game on the ACC schedule for this weekend involves No. 3 Clemson hosting No. 5 Florida State in Death Valley. The match-up with has major implications on the ACC race as well as the National Championship race is a desired destination for numerous recruits.
Clemson is hosting one official visitor for the game, Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County five-star inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan will be in attendance. McMillan is considered the nation’s No. 1 inside linebacker. He is considered a lean to Ohio State per the Crystal Ball.
A Clemson lean expected in Death Valley on Saturday is Marietta (Ga.) Walton four-star cornerback D.J. Smith. Smith is very high on the Tigers at this point in the process. Smith should help Clemson continue their recent trend of success in the Peach State.
Five-star LB Raekwon McMillan will be at Clemson on an official visit for the big FSU matchup.
Another pair of 2014 prospects attending are teammates – Durham (N.C.) Hillside four-star wide receiver Trevion Thompson and three-star running back Donte Thomas-Williams. Clemson is considered the favorite for Thompson while Thomas-Williams is likely to end up elsewhere.
The 2015 group of visitors expected at Clemson is very deep and extremely talented. Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett five-star offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt, who is considered the No. 1 player in his class per the 247Composite, plans to attend. Clemson is considered an early favorite for the standout lineman.
Other 2015 prospects expected include Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern five-star all-purpose back Taj Griffin and Columbus (Ga.) Carver four-star strong-side defensive end Mekhi Brown. Brown is an Alabama commitment.
The 2016 class will also be represented by prospects such as Columbus (Ga.) Carver dual-threat quarterback Jawon Pass, Spartanburg (S.C.) running back Tavien Feaster, and Buford (Ga.) tight end Isaac Nauta, all top targets for the Tigers.
Wolfpack looking to add Fla. flavor
N.C. State sits at 22 commitments and has only a few spots remaining. Multiple prospects from Florida have a chance to help Dave Doeren fill out his first full-time Wolfpack class.
Boone officially visited N.C. State on Sept. 6. The Wolfpack made a good impression. Boone has also been to Arkansas. He has plans to see Maryland, Ole Miss, and Penn State before making a decision.
N.C. State target Shawn Boone has more visits planned before making a final decision.
Louis is a commitment to Western Michigan, but if the Wolfpack makes a major push with him and secures an official, the probability of them being able to flip his commitment is high.
They are also involved with other Sunshine State prospects such as Jensen Beach (Fla.) three-star outside linebacker Xavier Preston and New Smyrna Beach (Fla.) three-star safety D’Cota Dixon. Both are longshots at this point in the process though.
N.C. State’s class is currently ranked No. 32 in the nation by 247Sports.com.
Pittsburgh running back board
Junior Isaac Bennett and freshman James Conner have carried the load for Pittsburgh at running back this season, but the Panthers hope to upgrade the position through the 2014 recruiting cycle.
The top target on the board is Washington (Pa.) four-star running back Shai McKenzie. The in-state prospect is considered high on Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. He most recently named the Hokies his public leader, but the Crystal Ball is split evenly for him to end up with the Paul Chryst’s team or Frank Beamer’s team.
Another target on the board at the position is Alpharetta (Ga.) North Gwinnett three-star running back C.J. Leggett. Leggett had previously named Pitt and UCLA as his top two, but the Panthers are considered the favorite for his services.
Niles (Ill.) Notre Dame three-star running back Chris James is also on the board, but considered a heavy lean to Wisconsin.
Four-star DT Adam McLean is at top local target for the Terps in 2015.
Local flavor in 2015
Maryland has found success locally in the 2014 class and is considered the favorite for local standouts such as District Heights (Md.) Bishop McNamara five-star offensive tackle Damian Prince and Washington (D.C.) Friendship Academy four-star cornerback Jalen Tabor.
That trend should continue in 2015.
Some early targets that the Terps are in heavy contention for include Baltimore (Md.) Gilman four-star dual-threat quarterback Kai Locksley, Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard four-star Adam McLean, and Washington (D.C.) Friendship Academy three-star Quarvez Boulware.
Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley has helped to spearhead the efforts locally for Maryland.
Hokies closing out
Virginia Tech is another ACC team that is putting the finishing touches on their 2014 class.
The Hokies are considered heavy favorites for Richmond (Va.) Benedictine four-star athlete Raymon Minor, Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes four-star defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi and Baltimore (Md.) Gilman weak-side defensive end Melvin Keihn.
They are in a heated battle with Pittsburgh for Washington (Pa.) four-star running back Shai McKenzie. McKenzie has previously named the Hokies as his favorite.
A couple of other prospects on the radar for Virginia Tech include Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central four-star outside linebacker Brandon Lee and Winter Haven (Fla.) three-star wide receiver Kendrick Holland. Holland has already visited the Hokies while Lee is expected to come in next weekend for an official. Current Crystal Ball projections have both heading elsewhere.
- A new prospect emerging with Boston College is New Castle (Pa.) athlete Julian Cox. He can play on either side of the ball.
- Duke three-star wide receiver commitment Chris Taylor of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School recently added an offer from Vanderbilt. The Commodores will make a strong effort to try to flip Taylor.
- One visitor expected at Georgia Tech this weekend is fast-rising four-star safety/athlete Mike Rogers from Smyrna (Ga.) Campbell. Rogers, who is committed to UCF, is expected to check out Georgia Tech for their game against Syracuse. The Jackets like him on offense. Rogers also recently added an offer from Ohio State.
- Syracuse has made a move with Hialeah (Fla.) three-star dual-threat quarterback Alin Edouard. The former Miami commitment has locked the Orange in for his first official visit, in early January. He is also looking at Cincinnati as well as others.
- Virginia has been the long-time leader for Virginia Beach (Va.) Bishop Sullivan four-star wide receiver Jamil Kamara, but a weekend official visit to Wisconsin allowed the Badgers to take the lead for his services. Kamara is also scheduled to officially visit Michigan State, Pitt, and Virginia. The Cavaliers are likely going to get his last official on Nov. 30th.
Recent commitments in the ACC