ACC team recruiting needs for the Class of 2009
Defensive tackle: No ACC team gave up fewer yards per carry than Boston College last year, but the Eagles have to address the defensive tackle position if they are going to continue to field one of the stingiest run defenses in the conference. While they did well to sign Bryan Murray out of Good Counsel High School in Maryland and Kaleb Ramsey out of Laurel Highlands High School in Pennsylvania last year, the undersized Ramsey may be a better fit at defensive end. That should raise a red flag for Boston College fans considering Ron Brace, B.J. Raji and Jerry Willette are all seniors.
Wide receiver: The Eagles have started to address this need; they signed Clyde Lee out of Hightower High School in Texas and Colin Larmond Jr. out of Morristown Beard High School in New Jersey last year. However, look for them to continue to target receivers; Brandon Robinson is a senor and Clarence Megwa, Rich Gunnell and Justin Jarvis are all juniors.
Defensive end: Boston College did well to land true freshman Max Holloway out of Thomas Jefferson High School (Lutz, Fla.), and he has been impressive thus far. And of course, this becomes less of a need if Ramsey lines up at defensive end rather than defensive tackle, but expect the Eagles to target defensive ends regardless of where Ramsey plays. The reason is Alex Albright, Jim Ramella and Austin Giles are all juniors.
Tight end: Clemson just added one of the top tight end prospects in the nation in Dwayne Allen, out of Terry Sanford High School in North Carolina, and sophomore Brian Linthicum has shown promise. However, Michael Palmer and Durrell Barry are both juniors, and Akeem Robinson is a senior. So, continuing to add depth and youth at the position makes sense.
Safety: The Tigers did an excellent job of addressing this position last year signing Spencer Adams (Matthews, N.C./Butler), Carlton Lewis (Saint Augustine, Fla.), Rashard Hall (Saint Augustine, Fla.) and Daniel Andrews (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy). However, look for the Tigers to add at least one more safety; they may not hit on all four prospects, and the top four safeties on the depth chart this year are seniors. The good news for Clemson fans is the school has already secured verbal commitments from two of the top safety prospects in the country (Craig Loston (Aldine, Texas/Dwight Eisenhower) and Devonte Holloman (Rockhill, S.C./South Pointe).
Defensive tackle: Brandon Thompson out of Thomasville High School in Georgia was one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the nation last year, so Clemson did well to land him. That said, look for the Tigers to continue to target defensive tackles; Dorell Scott is a senior and Jamie Cumbie is a junior. And remember, the Tigers' run defense was average at best last year.
Linebacker: One of the stronger points of the Blue Devil defense this season will be a linebacker corps that returns all three starters. That's great for this year but the landscape here is about to change because Michael Tauiliili, Marcus Jones and Charles Robinson are all seniors. In addition, Vincent Rey, who led the team with 111 stops last season, is a junior, and Duke failed to sign any true freshman linebackers of note last year.
Offensive tackle: Duke heads into the season with Fred Roland and Cameron Goldberg protecting the edges. Both are seniors and there isn't an heir apparent behind them, which is why it was somewhat perplexing to see the Blue Devils sign just one tackle in last year's class.
Quarterback: Duke just signed Sean Renfree out of Notre Dame High School in Arizona, but don't be surprised to see new head coach David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils going after quarterbacks again. Cutcliffe is one of the most respected quarterback coaches in the nation and he should always be in the market for talent at this position as a result. It's also worth pointing out that starter Thaddeus Lewis and backup Zack Asack are both juniors.
Tight end: Florida State just added true freshmen Ja'Baris Little out of Lincoln High School in Florida and Bo Reliford out of Chaminade-Madonna Prep High School in Florida. However, Caz Piurowski is a junior and Josh Dobbie is a senior. In addition, juniors Charlie Graham and Matt Dunham are no longer on the roster because of academic issues.
Defensive end: The situation here is similar to the one at tight end. The Seminoles just added true freshmen Everett Dawkins out of James Byrnes High School in South Carolina and Toshmon Stevens out of Crescent City High School in Florida. However, they still have more work to do here; Everette Brown, Markus White and Kevin McNeil are all juniors. Additionally, Ben Lampkin and Neefy Moffett are both seniors.
Defensive tackle: Starters Vance Walker and Darryl Richard are both seniors and behind them is senior Elris Anyaibe and sophomore Ben Anderson, whom coaches are very high on. Further complicating matters, Duke failed to sign any defensive tackle prospects of note last year. As a result, the Yellow Jackets should aggressively recruit the defensive tackle position in an effort to find a complement for Anderson.
Interior offensive lineman: New head coach Paul Johnson comes over from Navy and is installing his version of the spread offense, which features the option. Georgia Tech's skills players will certainly have to adjust to the system, but so will the offensive linemen; they will do far more cut blocking in Johnson's scheme. With two seniors and four juniors manning spots along the interior offensive line, adding quicker, more athletic offensive linemen who fit the scheme makes sense.
Running back: Johnson's system requires discipline and backs who can read the defense while on the fly to be truly effective. And he's already started to bring in players he feels fit well, signing three running backs including Richard Watson out of Florida A&M University High School in Florida. With that said, don't be surprised to see Tech continue to recruit backs who have the skill set to excel in this scheme.
Quarterback: Maryland's failure to address this position last year was a shocker considering Jordan Steffy is a senior and the next two players on the depth chart are juniors. Even if the Terrapins feel that redshirt freshman Jamarr Robinson is the long-term answer here, they have to add depth. They would be wise to add at least one quarterback capable of competing for the starting job in the near future.
Defensive end: Maryland could and may have to move one or more of the three defensive tackle prospects it signed last year to help fill this need. If the Terrapins take that approach, it will make defensive tackle more of a need but they will still need to address the defensive end position even if they move all three. Mack Frost, Trey Covington and Rick Costa are seniors, and Deege Galt and Jared Harrell are both juniors.
Outside linebacker: Maryland added true freshman Demetrius Hartsfield out of Southeast Raleigh High School in North Carolina last year, but it still has plenty of work to do here. After all, Moise Fokou, Dave Philistin, Aaron Ball and Chase Bullock are seniors, and Hakeem Sule and Femi Akinwande are both juniors.
Offensive tackle: Junior OT Jason Fox and senior Reggie Youngblood will man the bookends for Miami this year while seniors Tyrone Byrd and Chris Rutledge. The question is who is going to step up when the three seniors move at the end of the year? Considering Ben Jones out of Northwestern High School in Miami is the only true freshman offensive tackle of note on the roster look for the Hurricanes to recruit offensive tackles heavily this year.
Tight end: Chris Zellner is a senior, Dedrick Epps is a junior and Richard Gordon is a junior. Further complicating matters, Miami failed to sign a tight end of note last year. With that in mind, the Hurricanes would be wise to add some fresh blood to the position.
Cornerback: Sophomore DeMarcus Van Dyke has shown promise at times, and Miami did well to sign highly touted Brandon Harris from Booker T. Washington High School in Florida. However there is still a need to add young depth to the position with three seniors and a junior manning four out of the top five spots on the depth chart.
Wide receiver: Junior Hakeem Nicks along and senior Brandon Tate are the starters with senior Brooks Foster, senior Cooter Arnold and junior Kenton Thornton providing depth behind them. As you can see, the Tar Heels clearly need to get younger here, and to their credit they signed Todd Harrelson from Oscar Frommel Smith High School in Virginia last year. Still North Carolina needs plenty more depth and youth here.
Center: Aaron Stahl is slated to start with fellow junior Lowell Dyer backing him up. And while the Heels signed interior offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper out of John T. Hoggard High, in North Carolina last year he's probably a better fit at guard.
Defensive tackle: Head coach Butch Davis made the defensive tackle position a recruiting emphasis and now he stands with four pro prospects at the position. Problem is two of them will be juniors, including 330-pound Cam Thomas who has been dubbed the run stuffer on the group. The Heels added depth to the position by signing junior college transfer Joseph Townsend, but look for them to continue to target the defensive tackle position.
Running back: N.C. State signed Brandon Barnes out of Bunn High School in North Carolina last year but it still needs to make running back a recruiting priority this year. Why? Andre Brown is a senior and Jamelle Eugene and Toney Baker are both juniors.
Defensive tackle: It should be looking to improve a run defense that was mediocre last year, and there's about to be room on the roster to add depth as well as talent at defensive tackle. Antoine Holmes and Keith Willis are seniors and Alan Cash is a junior. So even though the Wolfpack added Kyle Linney out of Alexander Central High School in North Carolina, it still needs help at defensive tackle.
Quarterback: Yes, we know it signed one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation in Mike Glennon out of Westfield High School in Virginia last year. And yes, we know that redshirt freshman Russell Wilson performed well during the spring. However, starter Daniel Evans is a senior and Harrison Beck is a junior, so adding at least one more quarterback to the mix makes sense.
Linebacker: The success of defensive coordinator Bob Pruett's 3-4 scheme in large part depends on the play of the linebackers to be successful. That should raise a red flag for Cavalier fans, because four seniors and two juniors man six of the top eight spots on the depth chart. Virginia admittedly has some promising talent waiting in the wings, including true freshman Bill Schautz out of Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey. However it's in the Cavaliers' interest to continue to add fresh blood to this unit.
Wide receiver: Virginia did well to add Javaris Brown out of Northeast High School in Georgia last year, but fellow true freshman Rodney McLeod out of DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland is expected to line up on defense. That should be somewhat unsettling for Virginia fans because Maurice Covington and Casey Koch are both seniors and Kevin Ogletree is a junior.
Defensive end: With a senior and two juniors on the roster, it's somewhat surprising that Tory Allen out of Lovejoy High School in Georgia is the only true freshman defensive end of note on the roster. Look for the Cavaliers to make up for lost time and aggressively recruit at defensive end as a result.
Middle linebacker: Virginia Tech did well to sign Allen Stephens out of Halifax County High School in Virginia last year but fellow true freshman Bruce Taylor out of Myrtle Beach High School in Virginia is expected to line up at end at this point. With starter Purnell Sturdivant and backup Jonas Houseright both juniors, expect the Hokies to continue to target this position during the recruiting process.
Outside linebacker: Two juniors and one senior man three of the top four spots here. Though Virginia Tech signed true freshman Lyndell Gibson out of Salem High School in Virginia last year, they failed to add any other outside linebacker prospects of note. Keeping that in mind, the Hokies should look to get younger and deeper here.
Defensive tackle: Cordarrow Thompson appears poised for a breakout season but he is a junior as is reserve Demetrius Taylor and Virginia Tech failed to sign any defensive tackle prospects of note last year. While there is admittedly some young talent waiting in the wings look for the Hokies to inject some youth and depth into this position.
Defensive end: The good news is Wake Forest added true freshmen Derricus Ellis out of Darlington High School in Georgia and Kevin Smith out of Plano East Senior High School in Texas last year. The bad news is Matt Robinson, Anthony Davis and Antonio Wilson are seniors so the Demon Deacons still have some work to do here.
Cornerback: Wake Forest brought in true freshman DC Kenny Okoro out of Dudley High School in North Carolina last year. But considering Alphonso Smith and Kerry Major are seniors and Brandon Ghee is a junior that should only be the beginning here.
Defensive tackle: Massive true freshman Ramon Booi out of Nease High School in Florida has the potential to develop into an excellent interior run stuffer. However, three of the top four defensive tackle on the roster are juniors so the Demons Deacons still need some help here. Look for them to target defensive tackles that have the quickness and athletic ability to complement Booi's brute strength.
Steve Muench played four years of Division I-AA football before joining Scouts Inc. in 2002. He has evaluated both NFL and college players for Scouts Inc., but his current focus is on the NFL draft.