State Signs 20 in Football Class

Football signing day was this week and NC State signed a class of 20 players, choosing not to waste scholarships just to reach the maximum number of 25. State’s class was ranked #41 in the country by This ranking did NOT include the impact of the transfer of highly touted Tight End, Jonathan Hannah from South Carolina, which would easily elevate the class into “Top 40” stateus.

Most Wolfpackers recognize this class for what it is — not great, but certainly not bad. Before Chuck Amato arrived in Raleigh, a “Top 40 Class” was close to the peak of what the program could achieve; after 5 years of elevated recruiting, today many fans paint #41 as disappointing.

But, we all know that the game is played on the field and not in the recruiting rankings. I could care less where our recruiting ranks as long as we win football/basketball games. Unfortunately for Chuck Amato, the “great” recruiting rankings of the past 5 years have NOT translated into proportionally similar results on the field. Conversely, Amato’s best years were produced with large portions of players recruited in generally accepted ‘weaker’ recruiting classes than Amato’s big ones.

For the record, the following represents State’s recruiting rankings as assessed by in recent years:
2006: #41
2005: #23
2004: #20
2003: #9
2002: #38

Unfortunately for State, does not paint as rosy of a picture for this recruiting class because 3-star defensive back Darin Baldwin has not signed his Letter of Intent as of yet. Scout gives State credit for Baldwin while Rivals does not. Rivals ranks the Wolfpack’s recruiting haul currently #54 in the country.

For the record, the following represents State’s recruiting rankings as assessed by in recent years:
2006: #54
2005: #27
2004: #28
2003: #7
2002: #34

IMHO, the true key in recruiting is insuring that your specific needs are addressed. Many teams can boost their recruiting rankings by hording too many players at a single position, usually skill position players that tend to carry higher rankings, that can’t all play (see Bobby Washington). With this in mind, I give the class an equally tepid passing grade as I give the overall class.

* Although we hopefully got a quarterback of the future in Justin Burke, we did not get a quarterback to make an immediate impact in the 2006 season.

* After signing a number of linemen last year (which rarely makes large impacts on recruiting rankings), State only signed three high school linemen and two linebackers, instead stocking up on skilled players and defensive backs this year.

* According to ESPN’s rankings, State’s three highest rated recruits this year were wide receiver Carlos Everett, LaMarcus Bond, and Owen Spencer (followed by Justin Burke).

* The Pack landed two kickers to backfill needed depth at the position.

In the end, this class will not kill NC State’s program; but the odds are that it won’t elevate us out of the “almost .500 funk” that we are currently experiencing. Dave Glenn provides this piece of advice in a longer entry:

“If your goal is simply for Hometown U. to become or remain competitive, you probably won’t have to sweat the details on Wednesday. Historically speaking, it’s still a better sign to be ranked near the top of the ACC than near the bottom, but as long as your team signed mostly prospects who also were offered scholarships by several other BCS-conference programs, it probably will maintain an adequate talent level that will allow it to compete on the field.”

In football, a single class can be compensated for by solid classes before and after. Some players may ultimately surprise and become stars…but, every school has those sleepers. If every school has an equal proportion of ‘sleepers’ who emerge as great players, then the general recruiting rankings of teams isn’t necessarily impacted greatly by the sleepers.

A Look Around
As important as the focus State’s recruiting is a focus on how State’s recruiting compares to our competitors.

* has the Wolfpack’s class at #8 in the ACC

* has the class clicking here.

* gave the Wolfpack a grade of C+ grade that translated to a #7 ranking in the ACC.

* Dave Glenn & ACC Sports Journal listed the Wolfpack’s class as #9 in the ACC.

* I liked “10 surprising classes” that included discussions of Clemson and Carolina’s recruiting classes.

* DaveSez comments on the conference’s down recruiting.

Football Recruiting General NCS Football

27 Responses to State Signs 20 in Football Class

  1. class of '74 02/04/2006 at 11:29 AM #

    I have no idea if this class is will be good or not but I do think it reflects the trendline our program seems to be headed. Chuck desperately needs a good season next year and with our lack of offensive production I don’t see a good season in the cards. A season with anywhere from as little as three wins to as many as six wins seems likely to me. Can Trestman turn Stone or Greco into a QB? That is basically what the seasons success depends on.

  2. choppack 02/04/2006 at 11:35 AM #

    Thanks – I was wondering where comments were on signing day. We’ve learned the hard way that big smiles on signing day, don’t necessarily lead to big smiles on Saturday’s in the fall.

    One of my biggest gripes w/ our current recruiting is that after 6 years, Amato still remains focused on Florida. Don’t get me wrong, I think – especially given Amato’s background – that it makes a lot of sense to make to recruit hard in that area. However, IMHO, he needs to put more focus in NC. Unlike Amato, I believe that a very strong program can be built by recruiting our state hard. UGa, Clemson, VaTech and Florida all saw fit to get players from our state. Primarily on in-state talent, UNC-Ch’s class was rated in the Top30.

    If Amato continues to neglect our state, I’m more than a little concerned w/how it will impact our program long term.

  3. class of '74 02/04/2006 at 11:46 AM #

    ^our coaching turnover has a lot to do with this. Also, UNC has such a huge advantage due to Kenny Browning’s many years at Northern Durham and his knowledge of so many coaches in this state.

  4. VaWolf82 02/04/2006 at 12:20 PM #

    However, IMHO, he needs to put more focus in NC.

    Last season, State had more NC kids on scholarship than UNC. I want the best kids that we can entice to come to State….not just the best NC kids. 0-2 over the last two seasons to UNC and 1-2 to Wake over the last three seasons hasn’t helped in-state recruiting.

  5. VaWolf82 02/04/2006 at 12:32 PM #

    Along with needing a QB, State has alot of holes to fill on defense. State’s defense appears to require a dominating defensive line to thrive. With Amato’s insistence on man-to-man coverages…pass rush is essential. I’m also concerned about LB’s….are there enough real players to tell.

    One word about the spring game…If the offense shows significant improvement relative to the defense, then be afraid…..very afraid. It’s more likely a sign of the defense dropping significantly than a sign of sudden offensive improvement.

  6. RickJ 02/04/2006 at 12:37 PM #

    Nice perspective with this entry & good comments. It is my understanding that early on, our staff felt that this was a down year for talent in NC. We ended up signing 5 kids from NC and probably offered another 10 or so. I suppose time will tell if their evaluation of NC talent was accurate. Chuck’s connection to Florida is what it is. It is just staggering the number of players this state produces every year. I am good with signing 4 or 5 kids a year that almost got an offer from FSU, Florida or Miami.

    Remember the former coach at Colorado named Bill McCartney. He said something like this about football recruiting – “It’s not the great player you don’t sign that kills you; it’s the player you do sign that can’t play that does.â€? I have always thought this made a lot of sense.

    If I understand the Scout & Rivals rankings, they are based on cumulative points, therefore the more players you sign, the higher the ranking. We only signed 19 players (doesn’t count Hannah or Baldwin).

    When I evaluate our football program, recruiting is way down the list of my concerns.

  7. Jeff 02/04/2006 at 12:41 PM #

    AJ Davis, Demario Pressley, TA McClendon, Mario Williams, Manny Lawson, Toney Baker, Andre Brown were all big wins in the State of NC.

    It feels to me that Chuck has been successful in winning the big recruiting battles here that he has wanted to win….and then chosen to fill-in more of the “bulk” of the classes from Florida than NC.

    Based on the volume of available talent in FL and his staff’s ties in that area — I’m not sure that is that bad of a strategy. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have closer ties in-state.

    Lastly, the importance of the following statement cannot be over-estimated, If I understand the Scout & Rivals rankings, they are based on cumulative points, therefore the more players you sign, the higher the ranking. We only signed 19 players (doesn’t count Hannah or Baldwin).

  8. class of '74 02/04/2006 at 12:43 PM #

    I’m very critical of Chuck as a head coach in general but I do defend his ability to put together a decent defense. Something tells me Willie Young, Tank Tyler, D. Pressley and Ray Brooks along with Littleton Wright will be better than people expect on the d-side.

    Our defense in general has been decent to very good under Chuck as compared to the MOC years.

  9. Sam '92 02/04/2006 at 1:10 PM #

    Good post. The class is disappointing — because Chuck seemed to haul in such good talent the last few years.

    Bottom line is how they do on the field, and it’s the team’s performance the last two seasons that gives cause for concern there.

    Here’s hopin’ for a turnaround in ’06.

  10. Jeff 02/04/2006 at 1:11 PM #

    Class of ’74 makes a great point about the DLine. That defensive line could be the 2nd or 3rd best in the history of NC State football. It is all about perspective, I guess.

    “Bottom line is how they do on the field, and it’s the team’s performance the last two seasons that gives cause for concern there.”

    I think a case could be made that the last three seasons gives cause for concern. In greater hindsight, the 6-5 regular season with Philip Rivers & Jericho Cotchery as seniors was a huge disappointment.

  11. class of '74 02/04/2006 at 1:27 PM #

    ^absolutely agree on the 6-5 PR senior season. But you know, and this goes back to Chuck’s defensive abilities I believe, rarely have Chuck’s teams been blown out. Clemson this past year and BC to some extent but we really have been in most all the games we lost.

  12. BJD95 02/04/2006 at 2:42 PM #

    I’m less concerned about the recruiting than I am about whether the players we have can be coached into winners. I don’t really see that happening.

  13. Slader4881 02/04/2006 at 3:12 PM #

    I feel the whole rankings system by all parties involved is pretty hit or miss (rivals, scout, and espn) There was an article on I think looking at top classes and who was #1 and who should’ve been #1 in hindsight since 1999. The only team that won a title was Texas’s 2003 class w/ Vince Young and co.

    In our situation I am fine with a near top 50 class if we get what we need. This year I think we really addressed WR and DB, but fell short on OL. If we struggle next year Amato’s ability to steal kids from Fla. will take a huge hit. It seems to be a struggle every year to fight off the loss of coaches upon coaches. If Amato’s ship does indeed turn into a sinking one I think the loss of Doc Holiday to UF could be the biggest reason.

  14. choppack 02/04/2006 at 11:07 PM #

    “Something tells me Willie Young, Tank Tyler, D. Pressley and Ray Brooks along with Littleton Wright will be better than people expect on the d-side.”

    I’ll be thrilled if Raymond Brooks plays for us next year. He’s a fantastic talent and has a great motor.

  15. blpack 02/05/2006 at 4:34 PM #

    This is the year where our mediocre win/loss record the last two years and not beating UNC-Ch head to head catches up with us. We got killed in the state, but let’s see who makes the grades and shows up in August. An 8-4 record, at least, and we’re right back as the dominant team in the state on the field and that should help in recruiting. We have to beat the NC teams this fall. Period.

  16. Mr. O 02/06/2006 at 10:43 AM #

    We went 7-5 in the regular season in River’s senior year.

    Ohio St – triple overtime
    FSU – doulble overtime
    Maryland – Allowed two scores in the 4th quarter

    We beat Kansas in the Tangerine Bowl.

    Football teams are about much more than one or two guys. Our problem that year was that lost our entire defensive line from the year prior from a defense that was 13th nationally. This was Chuck Amato’s one bad defense he has had in the last 4 years. The next season we had the #1 defense in the country in yardage and this last season we were obviously good again defensively.

    Losing McCargo, Lawson, and Williams is going to be tough to overcome.

  17. Mr. O 02/06/2006 at 10:44 AM #

    We also lost to Wake and GT, but I didn’t include those because the other three games were heartbreaking losses. The GT loss was a close game though(29-21).

  18. choppack 02/06/2006 at 11:16 AM #

    blpack – I wish I could share your optimism. Unless we see tremdendous improvements on the offensive side, I think 2006 may be a very frustrating year.

  19. class of '74 02/06/2006 at 12:33 PM #

    ^”Losing McCargo, Lawson and Williams is going to be tough to overcome.”

    You could make a strong case that last year our d-line underperformed for over half of the year! With Chuck I worry twice as much about our offense as I do about the defense. He has built up a decent group of d-line players over the past three years that should get him through the next season.

    Our biggest problems still reside on offense by far.

  20. VaWolf82 02/06/2006 at 1:03 PM #

    You could make a strong case that last year our d-line underperformed for over half of the year!

    I would love to know what changed on the defense after the WF game last year. The UNC loss had far more to do with the defense than with the offense.

  21. Mr. O 02/06/2006 at 1:03 PM #

    I don’t disagree that we don’t have offensive problems. You are right that they may be bigger problems. But then I didn’t even mention the losses of two very good linebackers in Hoyte and Tulloch.

    Next year could be a long, long year on both sides of the ball. The last thing Amato needed was a poor recruiting class when we are in essense going into a rebuilding year.

  22. class of '74 02/06/2006 at 1:13 PM #

    Mostly the first half of the season was the underperforming portion of the season as far as the d-line was concerned. UNC, GT, Clemson, WF, USM and BC all were in my mind poor games for a front with 2 first round picks and one other likely first day NFL pick.

  23. class of '74 02/06/2006 at 1:15 PM #

    Offensively we stunk all season long save a few remarkable runs from A. Brown.

  24. choppack 02/06/2006 at 2:00 PM #

    Regarding WF – I think our DL actually turned the corner that game. The difference there was the INTS for TDs.

  25. Jeff 02/12/2006 at 12:10 PM #

    Great entry from Dave Glenn on In-State football recruiting math can be found here.

    “Here’s the bottom line: Take the average number of Division I-A football signees produced annually by a given state, then divide that by the number of I-A programs the state is trying to support. If the number is high, you’re the gridiron equivalent of the oil tycoon in Saudi Arabia. If the number is low, you’ll always be fighting an uphill battle against the top teams from the states with more healthy ratios.

    One week after signing day, we at have compiled the almost-final numbers from the Class of 2006 for each of the “traditional six” ACC states. (If anyone is looking for an internship and would like that thankless, mind-numbing job next year, we’re taking applications.) As always, the numbers — complete lists are available at — painted North Carolina in an unfortunate light.

    State — I-A Signees — I-A Teams — Ratio
    Georgia — 143 — 2 — 71.5 players/team
    Florida — 341 — 7 — 48.7
    Maryland — 51 — 2 — 25.5
    Virginia — 45 — 2 — 22.5
    South Carolina — 33 — 2 — 16.5
    North Carolina — 56 — 5 — 11.2″

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