2016 ACC Football Recruiting: FSU, Clemson, UNC and Miami receive highest grades

As members of the 2016 recruiting class make the transition from high school to college, many prospects are looking to put themselves in a position to compete as true freshmen this fall. Several players tried to get an early jump by enrolling in school in January, while others are hoping to make positive impressions when they arrive on their respective campuses this summer.

Florida State welcomes one of the nation’s top overall classes, but it’s not the only ACC program that had a successful 2016 cycle. Clemson, North Carolina and Miami received high marks for their efforts as well. Here’s how the programs graded out:


Florida State: A+

Jimbo Fisher and his staff get top billing from us for putting together the best all-around signing class in the entire ACC. It began fast for the Seminoles, as FSU picked up a pair of 4-star commitments from local defensive tackle Cedric Wood of Tallahassee and defensive end Janarius Robinson of Panama City, Florida, as well as North Carolina defensive end/linebacker Josh Brown and California quarterback Malik Henry, back in 2014.

From there, FSU picked up a pledge from 5-star defensive back Levonta Taylor, who many feel is the top cornerback prospect in the country, and then added another top Virginian — offensive lineman Josh Ball — in early June.

After losing highly touted tight end pledge Isaac Nauta, who wound up signing with in-state Georgia after being committed for a time to the Seminoles, FSU made up for it by landing Naseir Upshur, another top-flight tight end target out out of Pennsylvania. The Seminoles also added two kickers to this class during the summer months, including Ricky Aguayo — the younger brother of former FSU star kicker Roberto Aguayo.

Florida State has long been known for finishing strong on the recruiting trail, going back to the days of Bobby Bowden. The Seminole coaches put in overtime to make sure this year’s cycle went in similar fashion.

Much of the class came together at the last minute for the Seminoles, as FSU picked up six commitments on signing day. The list includes defensive end Brian Burns of Plantation, Florida, athlete Carlos Becker of Kissimmee, Florida, offensive lineman Jauan Williams of Washington, D.C., linebacker Dontavious Jackson of Houston, defensive lineman Shavar Manuel of Bradenton, Florida, and offensive lineman Landon Dickerson of Hudson, North Carolina. It was arguably the best recruiting finish in America this winter.

Florida State finished no lower than third in the national team rankings of the three major recruiting services — Rivals (No. 2), 247Sports (No. 2), and Scout (No. 3) —  and was a consensus No. 1 choice among ACC schools. For those reasons, it’s easy to give the Seminoles a perfect mark for another outstanding signing class that should have FSU right back in the mix for ACC championships, and perhaps even more, in the coming years.