Saturday, May 25, 2024

Three-Point Stance: Upcoming Commitments, Key Visits, Top ACC QBs

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Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman has thoughts on big upcoming commitments, key visits by top prospects and the top ACC quarterbacks next season.

BIG-TIME PROSPECTS BEGINNING TO COME OFF THE BOARD

With Rivals250 linebacker Anthony Sacca announcing his commitment to Notre Dame on Saturday, more big-time prospects in the East region are set to come off the board here in the next week. Later today four-star quarterback Matt Zollers is expected to announce his commitment. Georgia got the last visit from him on Tuesday and the Bulldogs are hoping to capitalize on any momentum they may have picked up but Missouri is a very strong contender and could end up with his commitment despite not having hosted him for a couple of weeks.

Zollers has stressed his strong relationships with the coaching staffs at Georgia and Missouri as his decision date neared. Getting to spend time with both programs and observing a practice were very important boxes Zollers wanted to check off during these last visits.

Quarterbacks may get the biggest headlines but Rivals250 defensive lineman Trent Wilson is a potential game-changer at the next level. The Upper Marlboro (Md.) Wise star is prepping for his commitment this coming Wednesday. Wilson’s decision is coming down to Oklahoma, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Penn State.

The Nittany Lions have hosted him more than any other program but in March, Wilson spent time at each of the other three programs. The Sooners are trending right now with multiple FutureCast predictions.

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KEY VISITS FOR MAJOR PROSPECTS

The visits by Matt Zollers this past week were the most important ones to keep an eye on but a few others were just as notable.

Five-star David Sanders Jr., the No. 2 prospect in the nation, made the trip to Ohio State this past weekend to get a closer look at the Buckeyes. Of Sanders’s finalists, Ohio State has hosted him the least so Ryan Day and his staff really tried to make the most of their time with him. Reports of how the trip went have been sparse but it is clear Ohio State believes it closed the gap with perceived top contenders Clemson and Georgia.

Convincing Sanders and his family that the trip to Columbus from their home in Charlotte is not as far as they originally thought was a point of emphasis as well. When Sanders last visited Ohio State for the 2023 spring game, the mother of former Ohio State standout Paris Johnson struck up a friendship with Sanders’s family and she was again present for his visit this past weekend. Gauging the impact of their conversations will be interesting to follow.

Up next for Sanders is an unofficial visit to Tennessee for its spring game on April 13 followed by official visits to South Carolina (April 19), Georgia (June 7), Tennessee (June 14), Alabama (June 18) and Ohio State (June 21).

Top-25 prospect Faheem Delane was also at Ohio State over the weekend. The Buckeyes are the favorite to land the elite safety’s commitment but this race isn’t over. Oregon and LSU are doing everything they can to get his attention and they’re scheduled to get him on campus for official visits in June but Ohio State and Maryland will also. It’s likely that Delane takes an unofficial visit to Colorado for its spring game. The result of that experience should indicate whether or not the Buffs will be a legitimate contender for Delane’s commitment.

Rivals250 quarterback Malik Washington has a few important visits coming up. The first is an unofficial visit to Virginia Tech for its spring game on April 13. Washington has official visits scheduled to UCF (May 31), Syracuse (June 7) and Maryland (June 21) with a potential visit to Colorado in the works.

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PROJECTING THE TOP FIVE QUARTERBACKS IN THE ACC

Cade Klubnik (© Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK)

The ACC will look vastly different this season thanks to the additions of SMU, Stanford and Cal along with dozens of transfers at key positions. It’s likely that more than half of the conference will have a new starting quarterback. Take a look at who the top five ACC quarterbacks are likely to be at the end of the 2024 season.

1. Cam Ward, Miami – If not now, when? Ward very nearly went to the NFL this year and figures to be one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in all of college football. The Hurricanes have a very talented roster and a favorable schedule. Ward should fill up the stat sheet this season and, in the process, set himself up to be one of the top quarterbacks selected in next year’s NFL Draft.

2. Cade Klubnik, Clemson – The 2024 season is huge for Klubnik, Clemson, Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. The 2023 season was a bumpy ride for the Tigers and Klubnik but changes on the coaching staff should help the talented quarterback take the next step. Defenses pressured Klubnik the eighth most in the nation last season so Swinney brought in Matt Luke to coach the offensive line. With less pressure from defenses, look for Klubnik to light teams up this season.

3. D.J. Uiagalelei, Florida StateMike Norvell and Uiagalelei seem like a perfect fit for each other. The Seminoles may have lost a lot of talent from last year’s roster but there are still plenty of difference makers in Tallahassee. Going undefeated for the second year in a row would be shocking but Florida State has a quarterback in Uiagalelei who should allow it to compete with every team on the schedule.

4. Kyron Drones, Virginia Tech – Drones went off in the second half of the 2023 season and many expect him to carry that momentum over to the 2024 season. Virginia Tech has a favorable schedule for the first month of the season and could conceivably be undefeated heading into a late September game at Miami.

5. Grayson McCall, NC State – McCall transferred to NC State from Coastal Carolina, where he was one of the best quarterbacks in Sun Belt Conference history. Brennan Armstrong, who McCall is replacing, showed the country that NC State has some big-time playmakers on offense. Dave Doeren and staff are hoping McCall can do the same thing this season.

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