Where Are They Now? The Top 10 ACC Football Recruits From 2012

We're closing in on the end of the 2016 college football recruiting cycle -- an exciting time for ACC Football programs as they piece together the dynasties of the future. Before we look ahead to the incoming freshmen, we thought it'd be fun to take a look back at one of the most interesting recruiting classes from the conference's recent history. Let's get started with our Where Are They Now? The Top 10 ACC Football Recruits From 2012.

(Overall 247Sports national recruiting ranking in parentheses next to team name)

10. DT Carlos Watkins -- Clemson Tigers (#54)

Carlos Watkins' story is one of perseverance. After witnessing a friend die and another screaming while trapped for two hours in the wreckage of a car crash back in September of 2013. Bearing mental and physical scars from the crash, it's taken awhile for Watkins to come to grips with what he experienced. 

However, he's back and in the swing of things at Clemson -- even making a game-saving tackle of DeShone Kizer on a two-point conversion that would have tied things for Notre Dame in Clemson's two-point home win on October 3rd. He will return to Clemson for his senior season in 2016.

9. WDE Chris Casher -- Florida State Seminoles (#49)

Casher's career in Tallahassee is overshadowed by his alleged role in a 2012 rape case brought to court by Erica Kinsmen which accused Jameis Winston of sexual assault. The court documents identify Casher as operating a camera which filmed the incident, while also saying that he wanted to join in. FSU settled with Cashman for $950,000, but she still has an active lawsuit against Winston.

Winston has filed a countersuit for defamation.

8. RB Mario Pender -- Florida State Seminoles (#41)

Pender suffered a collapsed lung in September of this past season, missing the rest of the 2015 campaign. Pender didn't play in another game, he was cleared in November. Florida State opted to hold him out to try to get him a redshirt season, and he should be ready to go with an extended role during the 2016 season.

7. ILB Kwontie Moore -- Virginia Cavaliers (#37)

Moore's first three years at UVA were overshadowed by personal tragedy and grieving after his brother was shot and killed back on February 2nd of 2014. Initially seeking revenge before going through counseling, Moore returned to Charlottesville and ultimately emerged as a leader for the Cavs during the 2015 campaign.

6. RB Duke Johnson -- Miami Hurricanes (#29)

Johnson finished his college career with 3,519 yards on 526 carries and 26 touchdowns, becoming one of the most beloved Canes of the recent generation in the process. He was selected 77th by the Browns in the 2015 NFL Draft, rushing for 379 on 104 carries in his rookie season.

5. QB Jameis Winston -- Florida State Seminoles (#26)

If you don't know the controversy and elation that's been the story of Winston's career, you haven't been paying attention to the sporting world for very long. Winston's list of reported transgressions as changed some critics' perception of him, but his on-field accomplishments are still massively impressive -- a perfect season and national championship in 2013, a Heisman Trophy that same year, a 26-1 overall record as a starter at FSU (with the only loss coming to Oregon in the 2015 College Football Playoff semifinal round), and a spot as just the third rookie in NFL history to pass for 4,000 yards after being drafted by the Tampa Bay Bucs #1 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Loved by some and reviled by others, Winston has been a lightning rod and a media powerhouse for the past few years.

4. WDE Eli Harold -- Virginia Cavaliers (#22)

Harold parlayed a second-team all-ACC selection in the 2014 season into a third-round selection (#77 overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2015 NFL Draft. He had a limited impact in his rookie season, posting 14 tackles.

3. CB Ronald Darby -- Florida State Seminoles (#16)

Darby was a member of Florida State's 2014 BCS Championship squad and an honorable mention for All-ACC honors after the 2014 season. Drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, Darby took home the Pepsi NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month in September of 2015. He led the teams in tackles by a cornerback, deflected 21 passes and posted two interception in a banner first professional season.

2. DT Eddie Goldman -- Florida State Seminoles (#14)

Goldman posted 62 tackles and six sacks at Florida State, garnering a first-team All-ACC selection in 2014. Drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, and he made a splash -- recording 16 tackles and 4.5 sacks en route to Pro Football Writers Of America 2015 NFL All-Rookie Honors.

1. DT Mario Edwards -- Florida State Seminoles (#1)

Edwards was simply a FORCE during his time at Florida State, picking up third-team (2013) and first-team (2014) all-ACC honors while generally flustering and dominating opposing offenses.

Drafted in the early second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, Edwards posted 42 tackles, two sacks and three forced fumbles in 14 games played (10 starts). His season ended abruptly in Week 15 with a neck injury, but he appears healthy and on track for work in spring practice.

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Related Topics: ACC Football, Duke Johnson, Mario Pender, Eli Harold, Mario Edwards, Ronald Darby, Jameis Winston