The merits of recruiting rankings are debated in every sports bar and around every water cooler in the nation. Athlon continues its look at how each all-conference team ranked as high school recruits with the first-team All-ACC team.
2012 Offensive All-ACC Team as Recruits
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (2009) AC100
The ACC Offensive Player of the Year was a known commodity coming out of Hampton (Va.) Phoebus in 2009. Athlon ranked him as the No. 7-rated quarterback, the No. 5-rated player in the state and was the No. 77-rated overall prospect nationally in the Athlon Consensus 100. Boyd had offers from any school he wanted to and had been committed to Tennessee before Lane Kiffin left for USC. Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Kansas State, to name a few, also offered Boyd scholarships.
Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson (2008) National Recruit
The all-purpose back from Moncks Corner (S.C.) Berkeley was rated behind fellow Clemson running back signee Jamie Harper in 2008. Ellington, who was also a highly touted four-star prospect, finished with the better career. Rivals rated him as the No. 5 all-purpose back in the nation, the No. 4-rated player in the state and the No. 172-rated player nationally. South Carolina, Maryland and Kentucky were his other finalists.
Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina (2010) AC100
The star tailback from famed Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas barely made it into the 2010 AC100. He was the No. 100-rated prospect in the nation by Athlon Sports. Bernard was the No. 15-rated player in The Sunshine State and was the No. 12-rated running back in the nation. He had offers from all over the nation, including Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Tennessee. Amazingly, he played in the same backfield as Wisconsin’s James White.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (2010) National Recruit
Much like Ellington, Hopkins wasn’t the highest-rated wideout in this Clemson class. Martavis Bryant was the AC100 prospect, but Hopkins turned in an All-American season this fall. He signed with the Tigers from Central (S.C.) D.W. Daniel over Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Rivals rated the four-star recruit as the No. 12 wide receiver in the nation, the No. 8-rated player in the state and the No. 148-rated overall player in the nation.
Conner Vernon, WR, Duke (2009)
Hailing from Miami (Fla.) Gulliver Prep, Vernon was an undersized recruit who wasn’t rated nationally or within the state of Florida. He was a three-star prospect by Rivals who had offers from Ole Miss, Troy, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest to go with the Duke Blue Devils. It’s a good thing he changed the prep hairstyle.
Alex Amidon, WR, Boston College (2010)
The Lakeville (Conn.) Hotchkiss School prospect was just a two-star recruit by Rivals. He held only three FBS offers — Boston College, Syracuse and Tulane — to go with some smaller scholarships from New Hampshire and Villanova. Because the state generally produces very little top-flight talent, the two-star was the No. 8-rated player in Connecticut.
Brandon Ford, TE, Clemson (2008) National Recruit
The Hanahan (S.C.) High School product was a four-star wide receiver listed at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. He is now a 6-foot-3, 240-pound All-ACC tight end. He had one offer coming out of high school, mostly because there was little doubt as to where he was going to sign. He was the No. 46-rated wideout in the nation and the No. 11-rated player in the Palmetto State.
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina (2008)
The Tar Heels blocker was a three-star recruit from Wilmington (N.C.) Hoggard. Rivals gave him a three-star ranking and named him the No. 21 offensive guard in the nation and the No. 8-rated player in the state. He picked North Carolina over offers from Duke, East Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and Wake Forest. He was a three-star prospect.
Dalton Freeman, OL, Clemson (2008) National Recruit
The big blocker was listed as a four-star offensive guard coming out of Pelion (S.C.) High School. He had an elite offer sheet with Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee joining Clemson in pursuit of the talented prospect. He was the No. 13-rated guard in the nation and the No. 9-rated player in the state.
Omoregie Uzzi, OL, Georgia Tech (2008) National Recruit
One of the highest-rated lineman to ever sign with the Yellow Jackets, most every Southern power wanted Uzzi. From Chamblee (Ga.) High, he held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia. Rivals rated him a four-star recruit and as the No. 19 guard in the nation as well as the No. 19 player in the state.
James Hurst, OL, North Carolina (2010) AC100
The massive Indianapolis (Ind.) Plainfield blocker could have played anywhere he wanted to with offers from Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Tennessee as well as North Carolina (just to name a few). He was an AC100 prospect and finished as the No. 2-rated player in the state and the No. 5-rated offensive lineman in the nation by Athlon Sports. He was the No. 36-rated player in the nation and was a four-star prospect by Rivals.
Oday Aboushi, OL, Virginia (2009) National Recruit
The offensive line tradition at Virginia continued with this big-time prospect from Brooklyn (N.Y.) Xaverian. He was a four-star recruit who was rated as the No. 3-best player in the state and the No. 23-best offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals. He picked the Wahoos over offers from Northeastern powers Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Boston College as well as Iowa.
Duke Johnson, AP, Miami (2012) AC100
Randy “Duke” Johnson was a big-time playmaker at Miami (Fla.) Norland. The ACC’s Freshman of the Year was an AC100 member who was rated as the No. 36-overall prospect in the nation. He was the No. 6-rated running back and the No. 6-rated player in the state of Florida. Miami landed the star tailback over Florida, Texas, Louisville and West Virginia. Rivals rated the five-star prospect as the No. 1 all-purpose back.
Related: The Athlon Consensus 100
Star ranking breakdown of the first-team All-ACC (by Rivals.com):
No. of Players
2012 Defensive All-ACC Team as Recruits
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State (2010)
There are plenty of other star recruits on the Florida State defense, but the Salisbury (Conn.) High prospect was the best this year. The three-star recruit was the No. 65-rated defensive tackle and the No. 5-rated player in the state by Rivals. His offer sheet wasn’t long but had some intriguing names: Oregon, Rutgers, Missouri, Cal, UConn and Boston College to name a few. The Noles were lucky to get this underrated prospect.
Tank Carradine, DL, Florida State (2009)
Cornelius “Tank” Carradine was an undersized weakside defensive end prospect who was listed at 6-foot-5 and just 205 pounds. Hailing from the storied Cincinnati (Ohio) Taft program, Carradine, who is listed at 250 pounds now, was a three-star prospect by Rivals. He was the No. 18-rated weakside end and was the No. 18-rated player in the state. Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pitt, Illinois and Cincinnati also offered the smallish end.
Sylvester Williams, DL, North Carolina (2011)
Williams took an interesting path to Chapel Hill. He played one year of football before going to work for Modine Manufacturing Company before enrolling at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College shortly after high school. He is from Jefferson City, Mo., originally and took one more shot at making it on the football field. After excelling at Coffeyville, Williams became a three-star JUCO prospect who got offers from Georgia, USC, West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas State, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech among others. Rivals rated him the No. 23 JUCO prospect in the nation.
Kareem Martin, DL, North Carolina (2010)
The in-state defensive lineman from Roanoke Rapids (N.C.) High was a three-star recruit by Rivals. He was the No. 14-rated player in the state and the No. 28-rated weakside defensive end in the nation. He picked the Tar Heels over offers from nearly every other ACC school in the league.
Kevin Reddick, LB, North Carolina (2008)
Yet another three-star Tar Heel defensive prospect, Reddick hails from New Bern (N.C.) High. He was the No. 9-rated player in the state and the No. 33-rated outside linebacker in the nation. He had offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and more before picking North Carolina.
Nick Clancy, LB, Boston College (2008)
Boston College has produced some elite linebackers in the last decade and Clancy is the latest. He was a three-star prospect from Joliet (Ill.) Catholic back in 2008 by Rivals and ranked as the No. 40 outside linebacker and the No. 8 player in the state. Clancy picked the Eagles over BCS offers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa State, Northwestern, Purdue and Vanderbilt.
Jack Tyler, LB, Virginia Tech (2009)
Rivals totally whiffed on the talented Hokies linebacker. He is not listed as a member of the signing class and had no star ranking of any kind. The website shows he had no offers despite winning State Defensive Player of the Year honors at Oakton (Va.) High. The walk-on tackler redshirted and became an All-ACC performer as a junior.
Demetrius Martsfield, LB, Maryland (2008)
From Raleigh (N.C.) Southeast, Hartsfield was a three-star inside linebacker prospect by Rivals. He was the No. 30-rated middle backer and the No. 18-rated player in the state. He got two BCS offers from Duke and Maryland to go with smaller offers from East Carolina and Buffalo.
Xavier Rhodes, DB, Florida State (2009)
Rhodes played his prep ball at Miami (Fla.) Norland — the same high school as Duke Johnson. He was actually evaluated as a wide receiver, ranking as the No. 75 player at his position nationally by Rivals. He was the No. 91-rated player in the state and earned three-stars from the website. He held four offers out of high school: Florida State, Auburn, West Virginia and FIU.
Ross Cockrell, DB, Duke (2009)
Duke and Virginia were the only FBS programs to offer the cornerback prospect from Charlotte (N.C.) Latin. He was the No. 76-rated coverman in the nation by Rivals and was a three-star recruit.
David Amerson, DB, NC State (2010) National Recruit
The first-team All-ACC offense features 10 four- and five-star recruits. Amerson is the only defensive player on the ACC’s first-team to land at least four stars. The four-star from Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley was ranked as a safety — the No. 16-rated safety in the nation. He was the No. 206-rated player in the entire nation and the No. 6-rated player in the state. He had an elite offer sheet with LSU, Clemson, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, South Carolina to go with his NC State scholarship.
Antone Exum, DB, Virginia Tech (2009)
Exum was ranked as a three-star “athlete” by Rivals back in 2009. He was the No. 38-rated player nationally at his position and the No. 14-rated player in the state of Virginia. Hailing from Glen Allen (Va.) Deep Run, Exum also got offers from big-time programs like Louisville, Penn State, Oregon, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.
The 2012 All-America Team as Recruits
Athlon Consensus 100: The Top 100 Recruits in the Nation
The 2012 All-Big 12 Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-Pac-12 Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-ACC Team as Recruits
The 2012 All-Big Ten Team as Recruits