Recruits Who Will Make An Immediate Impact In The ACC
By Matt Phifer
ACC teams recruited a number of very talented players in 2014, but some should be looked to as players who will make an immediate impact.
Dalvin Cook is a talented running back who will have a big job replacing players like Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. at Florida State. Cook, who was a five-star recruit according to some recruiting services, will be looked to immediately to help fill that void. There will not be as much pressure on him with Jameis Winston still at the quarterback position.
Clemson (Bashaud Breeland) and Pittsburgh (Adonis Jennings) will both be looking to talented wide receivers to fill some holes in 2014. Breeland, a player with good hands, height and speed, will help fill the void left by Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant.
Jennings, at 6-foot-3, will be a great target for the new quarterback at Pittsburgh and help replace Devin Street. With Tyler Boyd still on the roster, Jennings will be able to begin in the number two or three role, but should make a noticeable impact as a player with good speed and a strong vertical leap. Head coach Paul Chryst says he expects him to contribute sooner rather than later.
Virginia Tech has a talented defensive lineman enrolling in defensive tackle Ricky Walker. Walker has 24 tackles for a loss and six-and-a-half sacks in his senior year of high school. With a number of talented linemen leaving Virginia Tech, don't be surprised if you see Walker in the rotation as a freshman.
Quarterback Tyler Murphy is not a recruit, but a talented transfer from Florida who will be important to Boston College. In 2013, Murphy threw for more than 1,200 yards and six touchdowns, but also threw five interceptions. Still, Murphy will be relied on as the key of the Boston College offense with Heisman Trophy candidate running back Andre Williams graduating.
Any quarterback with SEC experience should be respected and Murphy should be able to be a positive addition to the Eagles' offense. He can also be a positive influence on the development of quarterback recruit Darius Wade, who will get a year to learn under Murphy.
Finally, Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson did something unique in recruiting an entire football team, or at least one person per position, including a long snapper and a punter/place kicker. Clawson told ESPN that he did it because he was burned in his first year at Bowling Green trusting coaches who said they had already recruited good offensive linemen prior to his first year, leading to him avoid the position while recruiting to his detriment.
No coach recruits an "entire team" unless they expect some to play. Clawson knows these recruits better than the returning players, which makes it more likely some will see the field. Considering Wake Forest's issues in the passing game in 2013, expect to see wide receiver recruits Kameron Uter and Jaylan Barbour in their first year. Quarterbacks Travis Smith and John Wolford will also be competing for the starting job. This recruiting class is not highly rated by any recruiting service, but they will contribute as a group early at Wake Forest. Although the wins may not come immediately, they should make the Demon Deacons more competitive.
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