Brought to you by State & Liberty
By: Luke Moriarty
I want to be the first to personally thank this year’s 24/7 Sports Top 100 High School football recruiting class, the class of 2021.
Why? ‘cause they are not soft.
Look, I am a big disbeliever in the ACC as a football conference. Personally, I think Clemson faces an extremely easy route throughout their season in order to qualify for the College Football Playoff, something that they have done 5 times since its creation. They play against a conference consisting of consistent bottom feeders like Boston College, Syracuse, Duke, and even schools like NC State, Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech who have bad years every so often.
So now, why do I bring this up? Because for the first time since 2015, except for one other year, do the Tigers not have a recruit in 24/7’s Top 10 recruit list. I believe that this is something great for college football. This year’s Top 10 features players attending the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, and Georgia who most would say are the usual top dogs in recruiting. However, the list even features schools like Washington, USC, Oklahoma and Miami (FL).
This is huge for college football. Please give us more top players grinding it out week by week in the SEC or Big 10. How about a player reviving the USC Trojan program? A team that has been in the dumps since Sam Darnold led them to the Rose Bowl. I am sick of Clemson blowing out teams in the ACC by 30 points, and then suddenly they are in the NFL. How memorable were college players like Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Mark Ingram, or Christian McCaffrey? They all played in competitive conferences that put them to the test each week. The ACC is simply not that.
Leading into the Notre Dame vs. Clemson game, the Tigers had played one other ranked team throughout this season. Following their game against 11th ranked Miami (FL), they played GA Tech, Syracuse, and Boston College. Georgia Tech and Syracuse combine for 3 wins on the season this year, and Boston College hasn’t been above .500 in the conference since 2009. Following the Notre Dame game, they played no ranked squads in Florida State, Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech.
This can’t be a route of excellence in college football.
We need great players to go to great conferences like the SEC or Big 10. Take last year’s National Champion, LSU; a team that may not have Joe Burrow, but still have plenty of top tier talent. This year so far, they have lost 3 conference games, only one being against a ranked opponent. But here’s the catch!
They still have to play (2) Alabama, (7) Texas A&M, and (8) Florida. Talk about a grind of a schedule, you can not afford to take a week off in the SEC and it completely translates over to the NFL. So now, with the Class of 2021, we can hope for some elite players and rebirth of competitive rivalries like Ohio State v. Michigan, Florida v. Georgia, or Oklahoma v. Oklahoma State.
And maybe Dabo will prove me wrong. Yes, he will continue to dominate the ACC until a school like Miami (FL) or Florida State can really challenge him. And yes, that will continue to lead them virtually untouched both record and health wise into the college football playoff. Yet, with the Class of ‘21 on the horizon I believe that they can be the change and expose what Clemson has been dealing with the last 5-6 years.
It’s only a matter of time…
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