Impact Players: ACC

April 19, 2006

By Tom Lemming

Special to



Tom is CSTV's college football recruiting analyst, and writes for regularly. E-mail here!

·          QB Justin Burke, North Carolina State


The graduation of Jay Davis opens the door for Burke, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound signal-caller out of the Kentucky. The athletic Lexington Catholic grad is the kind of guy that's ready-made and poised to make an immediate impact -- he's perhaps the biggest sleeper of all the quarterbacks in the country this past year. I think he's smart enough and has a good enough arm -- if he gets the chance, he could perform very well as a true freshman.


Burke shows good pocket presence, excellent scrambling ability and exceptional footwork for a quarterback. He's deadly while throwing the ball on the rollout, and has a great feel for the game. Look for Pack coach Chuck Amato to turn to Burke from Day One in Raleigh.


·          DE Ricky Sapp, Clemson


Sapp is a freak athlete at defensive end who runs a 10.7 time in the 100-meters. His phenomenal pass rushing ability starts with his explosive quickness off the ball and an ability to use his hands effectively. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound native of South Carolina shows very good spin and rip moves and possesses great body control and burst. He needs to put on more weight -- once he fills out to 260 pounds, look out! -- but don't be surprised if Clemson coach Tommy Bowden chooses to use him for his athletic ability right away.


Don't expect Sapp to return punts like he did as a prepster at Bamberg-Ehrhardt, but do expect to see a player that could make an impact as a first-year player on the strength of his athleticism alone.


·          S Toddrick Verdell, Florida State


Verdell is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound safety from Butler Community College that's headed to Florida State. An instinctive athlete, Verdell made second-team juco All-America after recording 73 tackles, three picks and two forced fumbles.


The Hartwell, Ga., native has three full years of eligibility remaining, and will join the Seminoles for spring practice after enrolling in January. Look for the four-star prospect to make a splash for Bobby Bowden during the course of the season.     


·          ILB Marcus Ball, Florida State


Thanks to the premature departure of Ernie Sims from the Tallahassee school, Florida State has an opening at inside linebacker -- and Ball would appear the prime candidate to fill the vacancy. The Georgia product has drawn comparisons to Derrick Brooks for his devastating tackling ability, superior speed, agility and instincts despite a lack of height. After all, Brooks was 6-feet and 200 pounds as a high school senior -- Ball is 6-feet and 205 pounds.


Ball is a coachable ballplayer that simply makes play after play, exploding into ball carriers. He sheds well, plays the game on his feet and runs faster than most backs (as a 4.48 time in the 40-yard dash would indicate). Ball should play right away for the `Noles.


·          RB Javarris James, Miami


This 6-foot, 205-pound prospect out of the Sunshine State mirrors the running style of his cousin -- Arizona Cardinals' running back Edgerrin James -- and is a guy that could play at Miami right away.  James can do it all: run, catch and block. He breaks tackles easily and shows great power complemented by deceptive speed. This kid is also a winner, having led his Immokalee High School team to the Florida State Championship.


This was a veritable prep superstar who should start for the Hurricanes as a true freshman. He's the model player who does everything that's asked of him.



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