Over the next couple of weeks SFN will have some entries focusing on the tough summer that Chuck Amato is having in the national media. But, we are first going to turn your attention to The Sporting News’ Mike Farrell who blogged a big entry on Coach Amato at the end of last week that was so ridiculous that it will hurt any thinking person to read.
This link will take you to Farrell’s blog entry titled “Can N.C. State’s Amato recruit in his own backyard?”
When I first read Farrell’s blog I actually thought that it was acceptable work. It seemed that Farrell had decent knowledge of CTC and NC State football and he wanted to dump all of this knowledge into a critical article. I guess that he did as good of a job as possible of tying the topic of “recruiting the State of North Carolina” with the topic of “being on the hotseat”.
Then I started getting into the composition of my entry and realized how whacked out this guy really was. When you take a more discerning look at Farrell’s entry, you quickly see that you could easily rebuttal about everything in the piece.
If you can believe this, Farrell criticizes Chuck Amato for not LANDING certain in-state high school talent in recent years. The criticism is NOT that Amato didn’t TRY to RECRUIT the top talent (which would be the basis for criticism of “ignoring the state of North Carolina”), but the criticism is that Amato should have landed these names despite his record of landing a huge share of North Carolina’s most coveted players in the last six years – AJ Davis, TA McLendon, Mario Williams, DeMario Pressley, Tank Tyler, Curtis Crouch, Andre Brown and Toney Baker.
Farrell’s criticism of Amato is quite a slap in the face to the University of North Carolina. Farrell’s comments equate to an explicit belief that NC State should land every single recruit in the state of North Carolina in every year. Considering that UNC-Chapel Hill has long been considered the #1 school in the state with a history of ALWAYS out-recruiting the Wolfpack within the state’s borders, Farrell’s omission of Carolina from the conversation as a viable option for players represents quite a change of thinking for the media. Farrell ignores the Tarheel program SO MUICH in the conversation regarding in-state football talent that you can’t help but realize how much Amato has elevated NC State’s recruiting profile during his tenure.
Some many of Farrell’s comments and conclusions in his entry are so off-base that I could not simply ignore this guy’s “work”. A few quick comments and clarifications:
Now it’s the 2007 recruiting year and the light has dawned on Chuck’s head. This is the strongest year in the state of North Carolina since Amato came back to Raleigh and the sudden focus of the staff is on in-state players.
Chicken or egg?
On second look….this is an extraordinarily stupid thing to say. Of course, he REALLY can’t think that it has just dawned on Amato to recruit the state in 2007 when the state (uncoincidentally) is the strongest it has been? I guess Farrell was trying to be facecious…but the ‘funny’ really misses the mark.
For a little historical perspective – Chuck offered approximately 66% of the Top 30 kids from the State of North Carolina last year – a year that was known to be very thin on depth of talent. How is that ignoring the state? To explicitly state that Chuck has been ignoring NC ignores facts and is nothing more than a regurgitation of dated criticism trumped up by UNC and ECU during in-state recruiting battles.
Chuck Amato has recruited North Carolina better than any NC State coach in history. Before Amato, State rarely beat UNC (or any of the big out-of-state schools) for top prospects. Mike O’Cain, Monte Kiffin, Tom Reed and even Dick Sheridan found good in-state players — but they were rarely were top rated prospects.
Chuck Amato has changed the landscape so much that Farrell completely ignores the historical 2nd fiddle that NC State playes to Carolina as a destination for talent. Yet Amato gets criticized for not doing more? In Farrell’s mind (and piece), Chuck Amato should be criticized for somehow not MAKING kids attend NC State?!
Considering that UNC-Chapel Hill is traditionally the dominant recruiter in the state, why not criticize the Tarheels? Since when did NC State become the state’s flagship institution? According to Scout.com, forty recruits have been rated with a 4 star or 5 star ranking since Chuck Amato arrived in Raleigh. During that time, UNC-CH has landed eleven players and NC State has landed eight. Never in the history of the rivalry can anyone remember a time when State was so close to Carolina in recruiting in-state talent. This is worthy of criticism?
Farrell’s broad criticism quickly becomes even more specific as his piece evolves…and this is where the guy really shows the stupidity expected of journalists who have never seen the real world –
Amato lost in-state linebacker A.J. Nicholson (ironically to Florida State) in 2002 and also lost two top prospects to Tennessee in Brandon Jeffries and Aaron Kirkland.
AJ Nicholson was recruited by NC State and made at least one unofficial visit. Considering that Nicholson’s father played football at UNC-Chapel Hill, how the hell does NC State get criticized for not landing the kid that John Bunting should have signed due to his legacy status at Carolina?
Brandon Jeffries? You mean the one that tried to transfer to NC State last year after not playing at Tennessee?
CTC’s staff identified tight end Aaron Kirkland as an over-rated prospect and chose not to recruit him. Instead, State recruited three other tight ends in that class: Manny Lawson from Goldsboro, NC who was just drafted in the first round of the NFL draft, TJ Williams from Tarboro, North Carolina who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April, and Roddy Long of Hickory, NC. Aaron Kirkland bombed at Tennessee and has never been heard from again.
Wow! Basically, EVERY one of Farrell’s criticisms on this topic were just proven so baseless that you wonder what this guy was doing?
In 2003, he watched Chris Leak bid adieu to his home state to head off to be a Florida Gator. Chuck was still getting his share of top players at the time, including an astonishing 12 from Florida in 2003, but there began whispers that he was ignoring his home state too much and turning off some high school coaches. In 2003, for the first time since he took over, Amato signed more from Florida than he did from North Carolina (8). It began to catch up with him in 2004.
2003? The year that Amato landed 6 of North Carolina’s top 10 players – Derek Morris, Mario Willias, Ernest Jones, Tank Tyler, Chad Green, Chris Hawkins. Again, where is the merit for the criticism?
Of the top 10 players in the state of North Carolina in 2004, NC State signed only two. Coveted players like Jamaal Edwards, Marque Hall, Dannell Ellerbe and George Bell all went out of state that year.
In 2004, Chuck Amato landed the #1 Defensive Tackle in America – Demario Pressley from Greensboro, North Carolina. Could that explain why Marque Hall opted for South Carolina? Or maybe it was because Hall’s best friend had been signed by South Carolina the previous year?
State lost George Bell to Virginia Tech in 2004 despite the fact that Amato recruited Bell extensively since his sophmore year in high school. In fact, Bell was State’s top RB choice despite the fact that most schools backed off Bell after he blew out his knee his junior season. Bell often made public comments of appreciation about Amato’s loyalty during his injury and recovery. Thank goodness State ended up signing one of the top 10 running backs in America that year — Andre Brown from Greenville, North Carolina.
In 2005 Amato signed six players from Florida, the same amount that he signed from North Carolina. And, once again, studs like Mohamed Massaquoi, Derek Nicholson, Jonathan Crompton, Jonathan Hannah and Montario Hardesty all decided that their best opportunity for stardom lay outside the border of the Tar Heel state.
Why is NC State taking the brunt of criticism for players leaving the state of North Carolina when the almighty allure of Heaven’s Gate (Chapel Hill) exists just down the street? It isn’t aware that Farrell isn’t aware of Carolina football. He is the one that in May was blogging about how Carolina was on the verge of breaking through as a national contender. (Perhaps now some of this guy’s pre-conceived biases are starting to come to light.)
Jonathon Crompton , from Western NC, opted for Tennesse like every other big star from the western part of the sate. All NC State could do was manage 5 star RB Toney Baker from North Carolina instead. After signing Baker, we had no need for Montario Hardesty, whom we had recruited extensively. Instead, we ended up signing hardesty’s teammate from his New Bern Bears squad, offensive lineman, Julian Williams.
As a poster on an NC State message board stated, “We recruited Everette Brown extensively, but he decided on FSU. Another lifelong Tarheel fan that Bunting couldn’t keep. And you can throw Derek Nicholson, AJ’s brother and legacy unc recruit, on that pile. We did manage 4 star OL Curtis Crouch from Fayetteville, NC.”
Farrell even goes so far as to criticize Amato for not landing players that Amato actually has landed!!! Farrell cites 4-star thight end, Jonathan Hannah who originally opted for South Carolina. Hannah has transferred to NC State and will be on the Wolfpack’s roster in 2006. You really can’t make up incompetence like this.
Even Farrell’s summary was full of inaccuracies:
Can Chuck get it done this year? It’s possible now that he’s discovered where his bread is buttered, but it won’t be easy. A big season on the field is needed and some serious in-state ground must be made up for N.C. State to rebound and take advantage of the depth of talent in North Carolina this year. If Chuck is successful in both areas, N.C. State could re-emerge as a contender in the ACC. If not, Amato might be leaving the state he didn’t show enough love to when he arrived.
In reality, it doesn’t look like State is going to have a big year on the girdiron at all for Chuck to “rebound and take advantage of the depth of talent in North Carolina.” The 2006 season has yet to begin and ALL of NC State’s SEVEN verbal commitments for next year are from kids from North Carolina High Schools
OL Henry Lawson (Charlotte Catholic HS) Charlotte, NC
OL Justin Whaley (James Hunt HS) Wilson, NC
DE Sam Jones (Fuquay-Varina HS) Fuquay Varina, NC
DE Linwan Euwell (Southwest Edgecombe HS) Pinetops, NC
WR Steven Howard (Olympic HS) Charlotte, NC
TE George Bryan (New Hanover HS) Wilmington, NC
DB Chris Culliver (Garner HS) Garner, NC
Just another in a long list of items where reality doesn’t fit with Mike Farrell’s view of the world.
Updated on July 23rd
The N&O ran an article that was highly correllated to this entry and that we used as a follow-up to this. Our comments are included in this link and include the following:
“The following info is the biggest hit to Farrell, whose entry curiously crticized CTC’s inability to sign – not try to recruit, but to actually to sign – certain players from North Carolina High Schools in the past.
During the past five years, 22 of the 40 players in the state who were rated four or five stars by scout.com signed with out-of-state schools.
(During the past five years) there have been 10 five-star players since 2002 and only three — N.C. State recruits Toney Baker (2005), Demario Pressley (2004), and A.J. Davis (2002) — signed with in-state schools.
So…NC State has signed 30% of the 5-star players from North Carolina in the last five years, representing 100% of the signees by NC-based colleges. Yet, Mike Farrell chose to criticize Chuck Amato for not landing top high school players instead of the guy who coaches at the “flagship’ university that is the traditional preference for such talent?”