Season 20 ACC Recruiting Recap

LightningDragon · April 8, 2024


By: Cole Mantell (@lightningdragon)

National Signing Day has passed, teams have restructured, and we have a good idea of what each roster will look like in the CFSL heading into Season 20. There’s a lot to talk about with each team revamping in different ways. Some teams are either expansion teams who needed 26 scholarship players, or teams with very few graduations and only need a few scholarship players. Thus, we will not be grading each team on the same scale. Instead, we’ll simply go through each conference, recap each team’s strengths and weaknesses in recruiting, and point out some underrated signings for the talent coming in.

So without further ado, let’s start with the ACC. Florida State and Miami ruled this conference last season, but both had significant work to do in replenishing talent. Notre Dame had to replace almost every position, while the rest of the conference is trying to acquire talent to take one of those three teams down for a playoff spot next season. Teams are listed in alphabetical order, and signings are current as of April 6, 2024. “Total Signings” refer to both transfer and freshman recruits.

Clemson Tigers

Total Signings: 1

Biggest Signing: 4-star WR Max Mills

Underrated Signing: N/A

Clemson is a work in progress. The team had relatively few graduations and thus was not as active in recruiting as many other teams. I still think Clemson has a lot of work to do, and they’ve been active especially on offense in the freshman recruiting market. But for now, we are in the process of waiting and seeing what Clemson does regarding the later recruiting period. Their best (and only) signing so far is Max Mills of Saline, Michigan. Mills makes the long journey south and should be a big piece for the revamped Tigers offense in Season 20.

Florida State Seminoles

Total Signings: 7

Biggest Signing: 5-star DT Tank Monday

Underrated Signing: 5-star FS Elijah Washington

Florida State has one goal this offseason. Build to beat Miami. They’ve gotten to a good start, but something tells me they are not quite done. Their biggest signing so far is DT Tank Monday coming over from Auburn. Monday might not be quite as huge as past Seminoles DT legends, but he was effective last season and is a piece you can build around for a defense. Florida State AD Tom Pence did just that with the underrated signing of Elijah Washington as well. Washington comes over from another SEC school, Georgia. FSU reloaded on offense as well, supporting Zeus Claydon with the signings of two HBs in transfer Christian Davis and freshman Dash Delano.

Miami Hurricanes

Total Signings: 9

Biggest Signing: 5-star WR Jalen Irvin

Underrated Signing: 5-star OLB Aquinas Douglass

Fresh off the best season in program history since their National Championship, Miami only has one thing left to do. Win another Championship. The good news is the Hurricanes have a lot of recruiting momentum from the last few seasons. Their signing class is built around 5-star WR Jalen Irvin, based out of Guess Where, Tallahassee, Florida. Irvin is a fast-rising recruit in the rankings, and along with WR Daniel Brown should make a deadly one-two punch for Miami’s high passing offense. On defense, 5-star OLB Aquinas Douglass of Washington D.C. is the star freshman coming in. Along with fellow linebacker Brad Davis, the two should be huge pieces and are expected to be difference-makers right away for the team.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Total Signings: 5

Biggest Signing: 5-star CB Chili Sierra

Underrated Signing: 5-star OLB Torta Matthews

North Carolina has been close to taking that big next step for a few seasons now. Arguably, this is UNC’s best chance to do so. That third-place spot in the ACC was a mess of competition last season, and it projects to be the same this season. UNC is still a young team with room to grow, and it shows in their signing class. Chili Sierra of Washington D.C. leads the class as maybe the top Man Coverage CB in the country. The younger brother of former CFSL legend Kirby Sierra, Chili has all the makings of a future CFSL star. Also improving the defense will be 5-star OLB Torta Matthews. Coming out of Houston, Texas, Matthews also had food-based nicknames in high school football. Maybe that was UNC AD Daniel Gunn’s strategy? Find the best players with food nicknames. It seems to have paid off so far at least.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Total Signings: 12

Biggest Signing: 5-star OLB Norman Alber

Underrated Signing: 5-star HB Braxton McFadden

I’ve said it a bunch, so I won’t belabor the point. Notre Dame has a lot of work to do, and they’ve done quite a bit already. At the time of writing, we don’t know yet who will be the starting QB, and other positions still need to be filled as well. However, Norman Alber will be a huge piece to build around the revamped Fighting Irish defense. Coming from a family of CFSL stars, Alber should be an impact player on Day 1 and an early pick for a playmaker in this season’s freshman All-Star exhibitions. While we don’t know yet who will play QB, Braxton McFadden has come in via transfer from both Ohio and two seasons at Florida. The HB should be a steadying presence for the offense.

Pittsburgh Panthers

Total Signings: 3

Biggest Signing: 5-star WR Cleveland Edison

Underrated Signing: 4-star WR Windsor Wellington

Pittsburgh has leaned into the transfer market heavily for their small class so far. They aren’t done there either likely. Of all of the teams in the ACC, I think either Notre Dame or Pittsburgh will add the most before Week 1, thus giving us an incomplete picture of their full recruiting cycle. However, Cleveland Edison is the slam dunk pick already for the biggest signing. Edison, a junior transfer from North Carolina, should help stretch out the Panthers offense that historically has been run-heavy. Fellow transfer Windsor Wellington, from Boise State, should also factor in heavily to the Season 20 Pittsburgh offense. Pittsburgh on defense has no signings at the time of writing, so that’ll be the area I’d expect recruiting news next from the team.

Syracuse Orange

Total Signings: 2

Biggest Signing: 5-star DE Wojtek Panzer

Underrated Signing: 4-star MLB Lawrence Lewis

Like Pittsburgh, Syracuse isn’t close to done yet. It’d be unfair to judge their whole class off of two signings, and the team is almost certainly still active in recruiting. Also similar to Pittsburgh, one star already is leading their class. Syracuse went international in their recruiting and landed playmaker Wojtek Panzer via Warsaw, Poland. The explosive Balanced DE is a playmaker ready to start Day 1, and Syracuse will benefit a lot from adding him into the fold. Lawrence Lewis is a sophomore transfer from Northern Illinois. He’s another defensive piece that’ll help lock down a pass-happy ACC for the Orange.


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