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ACC Football: Ranking the Rosters for 2022

Mack Brown, North Carolina Tar Heels Football

North Carolina head coach Mack Brown has put together three straight top-15 so is this the year it pays off on the field?

The 2022 season will tell us a lot about where the ACC is going as a football conference. Clemson, despite winning 10 games, was not its usual self this past fall, and with no other programs truly stepping forward, the conference was out of the College Football Playoff hunt very early.

The question becomes, is that where the ACC is as a new world of college football develops? Is it a situation where, if Clemson does not challenge on the national stage, the conference has no shot at the playoff? Or will another player or two develop as a true title contender?

Related: Early ACC Football Predictions for 2022

The first order of business is to secure talent. With the 2022 signing periods a thing of the past, the major aspect of player procurement is behind us. The transfer portal will continue to hum, but now seems like a good time to analyze ACC rosters going into next season.

Below are the national recruiting ranking averages for ACC schools over the last five (2018-22) classes, according to 247Sports' Composite Team Rankings, and each team's record over the last five (2017-21) seasons. Obviously, this doesn't take into account attrition, but, over time, this should be considered relatively even across the conference.

Roster Rankings by Power 5 Conference: ACC I Big 12 I Big Ten I SEC

Ranking the ACC's College Football's Rosters in 2022

RkTeam'22'21'20'19'18AvgW/LConf

1

Clemson

10

5

3

10

7

7.0

61-8

37-4

2

Miami

15

11

16

27

8

15.4

38-24

27-14

3

North Carolina

11

14

13

30

20

17.6

26-35

16-26

4

Florida State

20

23

22

18

11

18.8

26-33

16-24

5

NC State

63

36

43

32

26

40.0

39-23

25-17

6

Virginia Tech

34

44

76

26

24

40.8

34-29

23-19

7

Georgia Tech

53

48

27

50

44

44.4

21-37

16-25

8

Louisville

54

40

42

70

30

47.2

28-34

16-26

9

Virginia

67

33

49

39

59

49.4

34-28

21-20

10

Pittsburgh

71

29

45

55

48

49.6

37-27

25-17

11

Boston College

40

37

62

64

71

54.8

32-29

19-23

12

Duke

51

57

63

49

63

56.6

25-36

10-32

13

Syracuse

70

60

58

57

51

59.2

25-35

13-29

14

Wake Forest

77

66

60

59

64

65.2

38-24

21-18

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Clemson is still the cream of the crop

The Tigers made a late push to land the highest-ranked recruiting class in the conference, further adding to their stockpile of talent. Included in this year's impressive haul is Cade Klubnik, the No. 1 quarterback in this cycle according to 247Sports. Last season may not have been what Tiger fans were looking for, but Clemson will remain the team to beat going forward.

The time is now for North Carolina

It is Year 4 for Mack Brown in Chapel Hill, and he has just finished off his third consecutive top-15 recruiting class, with his 2022 crop missing out on the top 10 overall and right behind Clemson for top billing in the ACC, according to the 247Sports Composite. Now it's time to win some games. The 8-4 Orange Bowl season was nice, but following that up with a 6-7 finish this past fall — with Sam Howell at quarterback — fell far short of August expectations. Winning recruiting battles are great as long as the results translate to the field.

Wake Forest punches way above its weight class

Over the past five years, Wake Forest has had the worst average recruiting ranking in the ACC. During that time, the Demon Deacons have gone 30-18, 17-15 in the ACC, and have played in a bowl each and every season. Head coach Dave Clawson has a plan and it works. He gets the players that fit his system and develops them as well as anyone in the league.

Mario Cristobal will not be devoid of talent

The new Miami head coach has more than just Tyler Van Dyke, who will be one of the ACC's signature stars of 2022. While this class didn't feature a top-50 prospect, the Hurricanes did land seven that are considered Top 200 recruits by 247Sports. Throw in five potential impact transfers, and the Hurricanes could be ready to roll in Cristobal's first season.

The championship season didn't help Pittsburgh on the recruiting trail

In reality, the hay was mostly in the barn by the time Pittsburgh claimed the league title in Charlotte in early December. But its No. 71 recruiting class is eye-catching. This class had both a quality and quantity issue as the Panthers signed only 12 recruits, with only two considered top-500 prospects. However, head coach Pat Narduzzi was successful in the transfer portal, grabbing four players including former USC quarterback Kedon Slovis.

Overall, it was not a great year for ACC recruiting

Of the 14 teams in the ACC, only North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Duke fared better in the 2022 recruiting rankings as compared to '21. Moreover, the average rise among those four teams was six spots. The schools that dropped did so at an average of more than 15 places. The falls of Pittsburgh, NC State, and Virginia were especially noteworthy and for a conference that needs the bottom to rise up and be competitive, 2022 recruiting was a step in the wrong direction.

Podcast: Roster Rankings, Recapping NSD, Overachievers/Underachievers in Recruiting and Jim Harbaugh's Return to Michigan