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Weekend recruiting wrap ACC: Clemson reels in five-star, Richt off to strong start

The weekend that was in ACC saw the conference champion reel in one of the nation’s top-10 prospects, while down in Coral Gables, Mark Richt’s first official visit weekend was a tremendous success, resulting in a pair of commitments.

Biggest commitment: When a five-star prospect commits, there is not a bigger commitment, and that is certainly the case with Dexter Lawrence. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound defensive tackle committed to Clemson Monday afternoon over NC State in what is another huge victory on the trail for Dabo Swinney and staff. Not only is Lawrence a five-star and potential impact player, but he is from neighboring North Carolina, which has been a key state in the building of the top ranked Tigers.

Mark Richt’s first official visit weekend a roaring success: ESPN 300 linebacker Zachary McCloud and defensive end Patrick Bethel were among the official visitors last weekend in Coral Gables, and both have now committed. McCloud decommitted shortly after Al Golden was fired, and committed back the Canes Saturday while on his official visit, while Bethel committed Monday night.

The duo will move the Hurricanes back inside the top 15 of RecruitingNation’s class rankings, and provide Richt with some needed momentum headed into January, with ESPN 300 receiver Ahmmon Richards being a “must get” target out of Palm Beach County.

Duke adds ESPN 300 DE: Duke continues to add key pieces, as the Blue Devils inch closer to securing a top-30 class. ESPN 300 defensive end and former Tennessee verbal Chidi Okonya committed to Duke over the weekend, becoming the fourth ESPN 300 pledge for David Cutcliffe and staff. The state of Georgia continues to be huge for the Blue Devils with Okonya being the third ESPN 300 commitment from the Peach State, and fourth four-star overall. Six of Duke’s 21 commitments hail from Georgia.

The Dexter Lawrence impact: The state of North Carolina really needed Lawrence to stay home. With Lawrence now off the board, none of the Top 11 prospects in the Tar Heel state are currently committed to in state programs. Following the Tar Heels and Wolfpack inking five of the top 10 in the 2015 class, there were high hopes for the 2016 class but that has not come to fruition. The 2017 class could bring good news in state, however, due in large part to the Tar Heels’ 11-2 season. There are currently six prospects in the ESPN Junior 300, and the only one committed is a verbal to North Carolina.