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Head-to-Head Recruiting Battles: ACC

Plus Notre Dame...

Miami Hurricanes football training camp Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

On Monday I published the first in a series that will look at the Huskies’ biggest recruiting rivals in each of the major conferences starting with the Big 10. If you want more information about the metrics I use please see the beginning of that article.

I debated whether to do an independent section to include Notre Dame and BYU but since the ACC is pretty light and the Irish are members in basketball, this seemed like the most natural fit.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Washington commits- 25, average rating 0.9260, H2H 60.9%, Overall 9.8%

Notable Recruits: Kyler Gordon, Julius Irvin, Jalen McMillan, Asa Turner, Salvon Ahmed

Commits Outside West Region: 0/70

Notre Dame commits- 16, average rating 0.9256, H2H 39.1%, Overall 6.3%

Notable Recruits: Jordan Botelho, Isaiah Foskey

Commits Inside West Region: 11/185

This is a fun one. No team outside of the Pac-12 has had as many true head to head recruiting battles against Washington recently as Notre Dame. And more often than not the Huskies have come out ahead. If we divide that 25-16 record into 2014-17 and 2018-20 then things look a whole lot different. Notre Dame held an 11-6 edge over the first 4 years and it’s been a lopsided 19-5 butt whooping for UW since. Nowhere has that been more pronounced than with defensive back recruiting. It may look like he’s shouting Kahn but actually here’s footage of Brian Kelly cursing Jimmy Lake’s name.

Notre Dame and Washington were the final 2 for a trio of very talented DBs over the past 3 classes with Julius Irvin, Kyler Gordon, and Asa Turner. All 3 ended up signing with Washington. Notre Dame thought they were in a good spot with Jalen McMillan before he committed to Washington and also thought they could flip him after Coach Petersen’s resignation. Wrong. They thought they would be able to land Salvon Ahmed. Wrong. Or Dylan Morris. Wrong.

There have been a few wins for Notre Dame. Isaiah Foskey chose to head to South Bend last year on the defensive line when the Huskies were primarily looking at him as a tight end. LB Jordan Botelho was viewed as a big Husky lean this time last year and then committed to Notre Dame on his first trip to the mainland and refused to give any other school a second look although surely the Washington coaching staff tried.

If you choose to go to a Notre Dame recruiting site and announce yourself as a Husky fan, be prepared. They are very bitter and they are very convinced that Jimmy Lake knows how to prepare a cup of coffee like they do in the SEC.

Feature Battle: S Asa Turner- 4 stars, 0.9007 composite rating. Sacramento, California

Chris Petersen’s style of recruiting meant that the Huskies have had very few sources of true drama in the last half decade but Turner was one of the few exceptions. He verbally committed to the Huskies over Notre Dame despite some rumors that he did so to avoid losing a spot while still mulling things over. Washington wanted Turner as a safety while the Notre Dame coaching staff viewed him as a linebacker and tried to insist that the Huskies would convert him once he got on campus.

The Notre Dame coaches continued to whisper to Turner and insisted that he initiated the contact with them. Whatever the case, early signing day came and went and Turner decided he needed more time to think things over. He later admitted that had he signed in December it probably would’ve been with Notre Dame. A month later however he reaffirmed his pledge to the Huskies and started several games with Washington as a true freshman this past safety.

Miami Hurricanes

Washington commits- 10, average rating 0.9102, H2H 62.5%, Overall 6.0%

Commits Outside West Region: 2/67

Miami commits- 6, average rating 0.9298, H2H 37.5%, Overall 3.6%

Notable Recruits: D.J Johnson, Brevin Jordan, Bar Milo

Commits Inside West Region: 3/101

No team in the ACC has been more dedicated to recruiting out West over the past decade than the Hurricanes who may no longer have the mystique of their relatively recent dynasty but still have national reach (Clemson has now eclipsed Miami in both regards over the last 4 years however). The Hurricanes have averaged about 15 offers per year in the West region with an average composite rating of 0.935 so they only come out this way for the cream of the crop. Although Washington has landed a pair of lower rated guys during that time who the Hurricanes offered in Jaylen Johnson and Brayden Dickey.

Feature Battle: DE D.J Johnson- 4 stars, 0.9648 composite rating. Sacramento, California

Johnson committed to the Hurricanes in the summer before his senior year but still went on to take all of his visits. Washington kept after Johnson however and there were rumors that the Huskies had a chance to flip him as we got closer to signing day. After Marlon flipped from Washington to USC the Huskies were desperate for another body on the defensive line and tried their best to get him in the boat. He stayed with his Miami commitment however Johnson opted to transfer after a year in South Beach and headed to Oregon where he was moved to tight end due to depth concerns there.

Florida State Seminoles

Washington commits- 4, average rating 0.9505, H2H 44.5%, Overall 3.3%

Notable Recruits: Sav’ell Smalls

Commits Outside West Region: 0/56

Florida State commits- 5, average rating 0.9322, H2H 55.5%, Overall 4.1%

Notable Recruits: Tre’shaun Harrison

Commits Inside West Region: 3/65

The dynamics of this battle obviously changed greatly when Willie Taggart left Oregon for Florida State. Taggart continued to recruit a number of kids on the West Coast when he got to Tallahassee and 6/9 of the matchups have happened since he made the switch. The biggest win for FSU was getting Tre’shaun Harrison out of Garfield High as an Oregon commit who decided to follow Taggart to Florida. That worked out less well for him ultimately as he decided to transfer when Taggart was let go this year and has since enrolled at Oregon State.

Feature Battle: OLB Sav’ell Smalls- 5 stars, 0.9845 composite rating. Seattle, WA

What a wild ride the Sav’ell Smalls recruitment was. This time last year it appeared that Washington was in the drivers’ seat but then he cut down his list and eliminated the Dawgs and it appeared to be a Florida State, Alabama, and Oregon battle. The aforementioned Harrison was teammates with Smalls at Garfield and had a lot of influence in his decision.

Then Smalls transferred back to Kennedy Catholic and some of the anti-UW influences present in the Garfield football community faded into the distance which let Smalls’ initial support for the Huskies shine back through. Florida State ultimately finished in 2nd place although given what occurred there during/after the season you’d have to think that Smalls would’ve backed out by signing even if he had committed to Florida State back in October instead of Washington.

Other Programs

Louisville Cardinals: Washington- 10, Louisville- 1

Husky fans deride Oregon for the number of offers they give out but even the Ducks can’t compete with Louisville. Despite a combined 11 commitments for mutual offers there’s never been a recruitment that truly came down to these two schools.

Clemson Tigers: Washington- 3, Clemson- 2

We’ll get a monumental fight between these two for local stud receiver Emeka Egbuka in the 2021 class. The Huskies thought they’d be able to beat out the Tigers for another WR with Joe Ngata since his brother Ariel was at Washington but Clemson made a push and landed him with their recent history at the position. That was part of the first class where Clemson asserted themselves on the West Coast. Luckily the Huskies held them off for 3 DL recruits who are among the highest rated in school history: Jacob Bandes, Faatui Tuitele, and Sav’ell Smalls.

North Carolina Tar Heels: Washington- 3, North Carolina- 1

Virginia Cavaliers: Washington- 4, Virginia- 0

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Washington- 2, Georgia Tech- 0

NC State Wolfpack: Washington- 2, NC State- 0

Syracuse Orange: Washington- 2, Syracuse- 0

Pittsburgh Panthers: Washington- 1, Pittsburgh- 0

Virginia Tech Hokies: Washington- 0, Virginia Tech- 0

Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Washington- 0, Wake Forest- 0