With the 2017 national signing day upon us, we figured it was a good time to travel back five years to see what became of some of the ACC’s top recruits of 2013.
Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
2013: The No. 4 recruit in the country, according to ESPN, and the No. 2 corner arrived at Clemson with eyes on a starting job from Day 1. An injury in fall camp, however, nullified that plan and forced Alexander to redshirt.
2017: After two stellar years as a starter in Clemson’s backfield and one trip to the national championship game, Alexander departed for the NFL, where he was a second-round pick by the Vikings.
Matthew Thomas, Florida State
2013: The No. 6 overall recruit and top linebacker, Thomas’ recruiting hysteria didn’t end on signing day. After inking with FSU, he suggested he was still considering transferring to Georgia or USC. Ultimately, he stayed put, but his next few seasons were marked by off-field issues that limited his playing time.
2017: Thomas finally turned in a full, healthy season in 2016, leading the Seminoles in tackles, and he’ll return for his redshirt senior season in 2017 as one of the ACC’s top LBs.
Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
2013: The No. 14 overall recruit, Ramsey made an instant impact at safety for FSU, helping the Seminoles win a national championship as a true freshman.
2017: After three years as a starter, Ramsey departed for the NFL and was selected fifth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
2013: Another Fuller brother added to the family’s mythology at Virginia Tech, arriving as the No. 18 recruit and instantly blossoming into a star. Fuller was among the ACC’s top corners as a true freshman.
2017: After an injury plagued junior season, Fuller departed for the NFL as part of a stellar class of defensive backs from the ACC. He was selected in the third round by the Washington Redskins.
Dorian Johnson, Pitt
2013: The No. 29 overall recruit, Johnson became the first true freshman to start for Pitt on the O-line in seven years. By 2014, he was a full-time starter and one of the best blockers in the ACC.
2017: Wrapped up his Pitt career as an All-ACC lineman and is considered to be one of the top guards available in this year’s NFL draft.
Ryan Green, Florida State
2013: Green was the No. 30 overall recruit and one of the most heralded running backs in the nation, but he found a pretty stacked FSU backfield upon arrival.
2017: Dalvin Cook stole the show at Florida State a year later, and Green shuffled between running back and defensive back, never really finding a home.
Derrick Griffin, Miami
2013: The No. 33 overall recruit, Griffin had the makings of a star receiver, choosing Miami after a host of SEC schools. Eligibility issues meant he never played for the Hurricanes.
2017: Griffin finally landed at Texas Southern in 2015 as a two-sport star, playing basketball as well. He was dismissed from the football team there in 2016, however, and left the hoops team last month to prepare for the NFL draft.
DeMarcus Walker, Florida State
2013: Walker arrived at FSU as the No. 40 overall recruit looking to fill a big need as an edge rusher. He blossomed quickly, starting three games and playing a reserve role for the national champs.
2017: By his sophomore season, Walker looked like a star in the making, and in 2016, he dominated offenses to the tune of 16 sacks. He’s expected to be an early round draft choice.
Stacy Coley, Miami
2013: Coley was one of the top receivers to sign in 2013, and he quickly transitioned into a star at Miami, racking up 1,461 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns.
2017: The hot start didn’t translate to much consistency for Coley, who endured an up-and-down career. He still finished with 166 career catches and has a future playing Sundays.
Al-Quadin Muhammad, Miami
2013: The No. 58 player in the class, Muhammad played a reserve role early on, recording two sacks before blossoming into a star edge rusher two years later.
2017: Off-field problems forced Muhammad’s dismissal — along with No. 138 recruit Jermaine Grace — before the 2016 season. Still, his talent could earn him a look in the NFL this year.
Others of note: Miami CB Artie Burns (No. 70 was a first-round pick by the Steelers), Clemson LB Ben Boulware (No. 78, led the Tigers’ defense to a national championship), Miami QB Kevin Olsen (No. 87, dismissed from Hurricanes, now with UNC-Charlotte), Tyler Boyd (No. 165, second round pick by the Bengals), Clemson WR Mike Williams (No. 201, now projected as top WR in 2017 draft), North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky (No. 219, now projected as top QB in 2017 draft), Louisville LB Keith Kelsey (No. 45 ILB, became All-ACC caliber star), Pitt RB James Conner (No. 101 defensive end became record-setting running back), Virginia Tech’s Bucky Hodges (No. 15 dual-threat QB became a top tight end/receiver).