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Early Signing Period: Breaking down the ACC

Mackenzie Mgbako
Mackenzie Mgbako (Rivals.com)

With most of the Early Signing Period action in the books, Rivals continues its conference-by-conference look at how things on the recruiting trail are shaping up. Today, we dive into the ACC, where Duke remains king.

RELATED: ACC team rankings

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Early Signing Period: Roundtable | Programs that still have work to do

2023 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2024 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team

2025 Rankings: Top 40

Transfer Portal: Latest news

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TOP CLASS: Duke

Jon Scheyer
Jon Scheyer (Duke Athletics)

The Blue Devils' haul is not only No. 1 in the ACC for the sixth-straight year, but is also the No. 2 class in the country. The five-member group is made up exclusively of five-star prospects, and while it’s headlined by No. 5 prospect Mackenzie Mgbako, the wealth of depth is what makes it special.

Smooth and versatile T.J. Power joins Mgbako and athletic Sean Stewart in the frontcourt, while guards Caleb Foster and Jared McCain make up the class’ backcourt.

First-year head coach Jon Scheyer has immediately become a monster on the trail, which may say as much about the Duke brand as it does about Scheyer as a recruiter. The program never skipped a single beat after legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced his retirement prior to last season.

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TOP PROSPECT: Duke's Mackenzie Mgbako

Mgbako committed to Duke back in April and followed that up by having a huge summer that saw him earn a bump up in ranking. The 6-foot-8 forward has a blend of size and shooting ability rarely seen in this class and moves with the fluidity of a much smaller prospect.

Mgbako has added significant muscle over the last year and it’s helped his offensive game in the high post as well as his ability to impact games on the glass. He has one-and-done written all over him, and Duke fans should be thrilled that they have him in the fold even if he is yet to sign his letter of intent.

The five-star is still expected to sign in the early period, but there shouldn’t be much concern even if he elects not to.

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SLEEPER: Virginia's Elijah Gertrude

Gertude will probably see a bump in ranking in the next update, but, at least for now, he qualifies as a sleeper. The No. 112 prospect in America, Gertrude chose Virginia over Kansas, Maryland and others.

He brings plenty to the table but his calling card is his athleticism, defense and ability to finish at the rim. How far he can climb in the rankings hinges mostly on how much he develops as a shooter during his senior season, but the 6-foot-3 guard is already a bona fide scoring machine with tools to be an impact player at UVA.

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WORK LEFT TO DO: Miami

The Hurricanes finished fifth in the ACC a year ago with a four-member class that included a pair of four-star prospects. This year, Miami ranks 12th in the league and has just one player in the fold in the form of center Michael Nwoko.

There’s probably no reason to get too panicky in Coral Gables, however, because Jim Larrañaga and company have shown the ability to find success in the transfer portal, which they will likely utilize again in 2023. That said, UM is still in play for prospects such as Tyler Bey, but doesn’t seem particularly close to landing a new commitment any time soon.

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