Top ACC Football Newcomers for 2016 : #15-11

By Dave Lackford

Top Newcomers 20-16

15.) Dezmond Fitzpatrick – Louisville, WR, MI, 6’2” 195–Pounds


Fitzpatrick was a consensus 4 star. He earned Detroit News Free Press Dream Team All State 1st team honors as a split end (WR) and 2nd team honors as a corner back, Detroit News 1st Team All Metro North, MLive Detroit Area Player of the Year, MLive Dream Team homors, 1st Team All League (KLAA), MiPrep Zone Division 1 & 2 All State Honors, was one of four finalist for State Champs Mr. Football, and was nominated for Michigan’s Gatorade “Player of the Year.”

All of these honors were based on his ridiculous Senior year production. Dez finished with 60 catches for 1,317 yards, and 23 receiving touchdowns. From the CB position, he snagged 7 picks, housing two of them, one from 90 yards out and the other from 99 yards, while swatting 12 passes, and compiling 50 tackles.

Louisville is a trendy sleeper pick in the ACC Atlantic this season and while they are stacked with talent at the WR position, they don’t have a player that can bring to the table what Fitzpatrick offers. He is one of the most complete route runners in this class so new offensive coordinator Lonnie Galloway doesn’t have to worry about teaching him the nuances of the Cards’ route tree. Also, Desmond brings that Detroit toughness to the field, something that the Cards will need, if they are going to compete against tough defensive backs the likes of which FSU, Houston, Boston College, and Clemson put on the field.

The bottom line is that Fitzpatrick is a physically imposing 6’2” 195 pound football player, lining up at WR, who brings a complete skill set to the Z position. As the season progresses, look for Des to take over the Z position, James Quick to slide to slot (W), and Jamari Staples to man the other flanker (X) position. On second thought, knowing Des and his pedigree, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that as the opening week WR situation week one against Charlotte. You heard it here first.

14.) Thadeous Moss – NC State, TE, NC, 6’3” 240–pounds

Moss was a composite 3 star and the #18 TE overall.
Rivals: 4 – Star; ESPN: 4 – Star; Scout: 3 – Star; 24/7 Sports: 3 – Star

Yes, Thadeous is the son of Randy Moss. He’s also a versatile TE that can line up wide as a flanker.
His versatility fits well with what the Wolf Pack offense likes to do. NC State loves hybrid skill position players, like H-Back Jaylen Samuels in Dave Dorean’s tempo based offense. Moss is one of the most athletically gifted players on NC State’s roster, and last season’s starting TE David Grinnage surprisingly declared for the 2016 NFL draft after amassing a mere 25 catches for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns. Enter Moss, a big physical TE that can line up wide, motion in and out of the slot, block on the interior line as well as destroy destroy defensive backs down field.

The only knock on Moss is that he sometimes seemed disinterested at times during games. I don’t think that is the general case for Moss’s focus or tenacity, just a product of Mallard Creek getting up big on lesser opponents. Another knock, which I find unfair, comes from lazy analyst who have labeled Moss as a “receiving TE” that doesn’t like to get his hat on defenders which I find to be patently false. Moss is a complete tight end that will see early playing time in an offense that puts a premium on the position. Look for Moss to see plenty of burn this season and emerge as one of the more productive players from the 2016 ACC recruiting class.

13.) Dylan Singleton – Duke, FS, GA, 5’11” 184-pounds

Singleton was a Composite 4 star: #190 by 24/7, ESPN #282, Scout #186, & Rivals 5.7 3-star.

When you evaluate a safety, the first thing you want to jump out at you is sound decision making. Singleton checks that box. He doesn’t take false steps in pass or run defense. Against the run he is very decisive and diagnoses things quickly. Diagnosing plays however, is only half the battle. An elite safety will read run, engage up field, take correct angles, shed blocks, and lay the wood. Singleton does all of these things well in addition to playing center field against the pass. He has fluid hip movement, and exceptional ball skills, the only thing lacking may be break away speed, but as Joe Paterno once said, “I’d rather have a slow kid running in the wrong direction than a fast one.” Well, Singleton isn’t exactly slow and he doesn’t fall victim to misdirection. Dylan is a relatively fast kid that usually moves in the right direction.

A versatile athlete and heady player, Singleton can play both free safety and corner. This is a plus for Duke because they need help at both positions.

​Duke’s defense was porous last season, and that’s me finding the nicest positive adjective I can to describe them. The Devils gave up 3132 yards through the air last season (241 YPG) and 23 touchdowns. They 241 YPG was good for 88th in the nation and third worst in the ACC. All the safeties from last year’s unit return but Singleton is one of the most heralded recruits Duke has landed and they need an instant talent infusion if they are going to do better than third-to-last in the ACC this season.

Look for Singleton to see the field early for the Blue Devils in 2016.

12.) Landon Dickerson, Florida State, NC, G/T, 6’5” 300–pounds

Landon Dickerson was a composite 4 star. He was a 5 star according to 24/7 Sports. He was also considered the #1 Guard in the nation by Rivals and Scout and the #5 OT by 24/7 and #4 OT by ESPN. The Eagle Scout chose FSU over Alabama, Tennessee, and had offers from just about every school in the country. He participated in the Under Armour All-American game and graded out well, receiving rave reviews from all observers in attendance.

Dickerson figures to push for early playing time as a Freshman.

He has the size to step on the field immediately, FSU line coach Rick Trickett has praised his conscientiousness as a study of the system, and he has the versatility to play anywhere on the offensive line. These three factors, combined with the disappointing play of the offensive line suggests that no 2015 starter (other than Roderick Johnson) is guaranteed a spot this season. If Dickerson can come to Tallahassee focused and in shape this summer, some current linemen better step their games up if they want to hold their starting spots. Make no mistake about it, Dickerson has the ability to step on the field as a freshman verse Ole Miss in week 1.

11.) Shaquille Quarterman, Early Enrollee, Miami, FL, ILB, 6’1” 235-pounds

Quarterman was a consensus 4- star recruit in 2015. He shined in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl where he racked up 6 tackles. Shaquille is also an early enrollee (along with two other freshman linebackers that will appear on this list later) that has been making a splash. All reports from Miami’s spring practices suggest that he will open the season as the starting middle linebacker for head coach Mark Richt’s new look, “more straight forward” Hurricanes’ defense. Teammates have raved about the level of focus that the young linebacker from Oakleaf High has brought to Coral GableS. Richt and the rest of the staff glow when discussing Quarterman, praising the young line backer for seeming far more advanced than an incoming true freshman. Not bad for a kid that has yet to take a college final exam.

If you watch Quarterman’s film, you will understand what all the hype is about. The first thing that jumps out at the viewer is how he envelops ball carriers, rarely do they gain any positive yardage once contact is made. Second, while he is a thumper, he plays the pass adequately and has good. I’m not saying he has good hands, he doesn’t, but he covers well and plays the ball in the air at an advanced level for a middle linebacker. While he certainly excels at playing downhill, his coverage skills make him a complete player. The excitement he has generated among the Miami coaching staff, players, and fans is for good reason. Look for Quarterman to be a staple in the middle of Miami’s defense for the next three to four years.

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  1. Matt Porter says:


    You don’t have permission to use the photo of Shaq Quarterman, which is ours.
    We ask that you take the photo down.

    Matt Porter
    The Palm Beach Post

    1. Jfann says:

      It has been taken down. Please contact me, if there is any other problem.

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