TSN Blogs Big on Amato…and Bombs

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?”

Chuck Amato Football Recruiting General NCS Football

20 Responses to TSN Blogs Big on Amato…and Bombs

  1. class of 74 07/03/2006 at 4:00 PM #

    Another case of don’t let the facts get in the way of a good tale by the national media.

    Although Chuck has done a better job of instate recruiting than our neighbors, it just seems this year maybe that trend is beginning to reverse itself. It is still early but the biggest stars seem to be leaning the other way more than in recent years.

  2. wolfman89 07/03/2006 at 4:02 PM #

    SFN, this is an absolutely great article. I ,like you, have noticed that the last couple of years the media has trashed State for things that they have “NO” information about. Such as when Mario went number 1 overall and Steve Irvin criticized State’s football team. He said our record was 6-5 when it was actually 7-5, and he obviosuly didnt know we have had a number 1 defense the last 2 years, that without them, we wouldnt have won two games. SO i say to the press, learn the info before you go cranking on us.

    Jeff: Thanks for the compliment.

  3. wolfman89 07/03/2006 at 4:04 PM #

    The critics need to learn the info, before they start talking junk.

  4. choppack1 07/03/2006 at 4:05 PM #

    This is the problem w/ folks in the media today. They operate from a template. You’d think this dolt would have noticed that the No. 1 draft pick in the NFL was an Amato recruit from NC – another first rounder was an Amato recruit from NC.

    It’s hilarious to hear the whining from journalists about how the internet has made the sports discussion worse for wear. You see, in the past, an idiot like this could write a column and his employer could completely control any response to it.

    If the internet has proven one thing – it’s that “ordinary folks” are just as intuitive and have as much info as these folks who write for a living. They have perhaps proven Bobby Knight’s famous quip about journalists:

    “Almost everyone can write, but most of us move onto something else.”

  5. wolfman89 07/03/2006 at 4:08 PM #

    I agree with you choppack1, he obviusuly didnt watch the nfl draft.

  6. BJD95 07/03/2006 at 5:10 PM #

    There are plenty of legitimate things to criticize Chuck Amato about. But the “doesn’t show enough love to NC recruits” argument is remarkably stupid, on so very many levels.

    Jeff: I swear to you that this was going to be my final comments in the entry, but I got so busy with other stuff that I just had to finish it up.

  7. whitefang 07/03/2006 at 6:42 PM #

    Good piece. No big deal, but Roddy Long was from HICKORY, NC and played for Hickory High – not High Point. I coached him as a kid.

    Jeff: Thanks for the correction. I’ll fix it.

  8. choppack1 07/03/2006 at 7:13 PM #

    If you want to get really mad, actually read that link.

    I have criticized Amato in the past for not taking enough chances in the state of NC. However, I understand his philosophy – and this writer shows just how misinformed he is. Amato targets the kids who he thinks give him the best chance to win – period. He has gotten the best NC talent of any NC State coach that I can remember.

    This year is important – because if the snickers continue and we once again underachieve the kids won’t be looking at NC State becaues there’s a strong likelihood Amato won’t be around.

  9. bTHEredterror 07/03/2006 at 8:07 PM #

    Awestruck with the stupidity on display. Seems like this guy read an article somewhere and based his whole story on one piece of information. A majority of reliable sources would tell you Chuck’s issues are not with recruiting (though he’s struggled the last couple of years), he gets more than enough talent most of the time, he just doesn’t gameplan/adjust well enough to post the type of W/L records that State’s talent level would have you expect.

    He’s also not the only coach who recruits Florida. Ohio State, Penn State, all SEC schools go Sunshine for speedy skill players, who can hone their skills all year in the beautiful weather (similar to Cali, and Texas). Notre Dame, granted more of a national school, also mines Florida heavily. The only blame you can lay on Chuck for losing SOME of the higher profile NC players is this. He hasn’t elevated the program quite enough.You also can’t blame him for geographical challenges. Massoquoi went to Georgia cuz it’s only an extra hour’s drive farther away, and they compete year-in year-out for a Nat’l title. To a kid in the Appalachains, Tennessee is closer than NC State and gets more local pub.

    If ignorance is bliss, this guy lives in Shangri-La.

  10. tl 07/03/2006 at 10:44 PM #

    I love that this dude is the head honcho, national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You’d think he’d have the resources to come up with something a little better than this.

  11. 4NCSU 07/04/2006 at 11:29 AM #

    I support Coach Amato, but I’m starting to get a little concerned with where the team is headed over the next three to four years. I bought my Lindy’s ACC mag yesterday (I’m sure many on here already have it.) and in the recruiting for last year, we’re rated no. 54 in the country. UNC is no. 30. Are the Heels starting to distance themselves from us or is this just one subpar year for us?

  12. StateFans 07/04/2006 at 11:52 AM #

    ^ There is no arguing that last year’s recruiting left a little to be desired. But, programs can generally weather one bad class every five years. This year’s recruiting seems to be going exceptionally well to this point.

  13. GoldenChain 07/04/2006 at 6:11 PM #

    The article is also stupid on another level: there are programs that stake their success on getting every good instate recruit (Texas) and then there are those who chose to get the best talent they can from where ever (USC, ND). Both approaches can work, both can fail.
    The best thing Chuck can do is over-achieve expectations.
    That would bring a quick end to the hatchet pieces.

  14. sf59 07/04/2006 at 10:09 PM #

    And I think last years recruiting struggles can be directly related to the previous 2 years of coaching turn over… I beleive we are begining to see the fruits of an intact coaching staff paying dividends early this year. Dixon, Trest, Meyer and Stroud get mentioned a lot by prospects

  15. choppack1 07/05/2006 at 8:34 AM #

    “The only blame you can lay on Chuck for losing SOME of the higher profile NC players is this: He hasn’t elevated the program quite enough.”

    Excellent point that may have been missed in a long point. I’d add something about assistant coaching turnover contributing to this as well.

  16. RickJ 07/05/2006 at 9:40 AM #

    Great entry – I really enjoyed this one.

    “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.�

    This is very true with one small caveat. Earle Edwards may have recruited NC better for a few years before Bill Dooley got to UNC-Chapel Hill. Obviously, this was in a very different time.

    After Amato was hired, two of the top in-state players (linebacker Clarence Gaddy & a defensive end type from Millbrook?) switched their commitments from NC State to UNC-Chapel Hill. This news was met with a great hue and cry and referred to for about six months as clear evidence that the firing of O’Cain was a mistake. Fortunately for us, both players made a combined total of about six tackles in their careers. The A. J. Davis switcheroo the following year really signaled a new day for our in-state recruiting.

    I wish I could remember some names but I distinctly remember ECU beating us for recruits every year before Amato arrived. Has Chuck ever lost a recruit to ECU?

    Farrell could have added one piece of information to his article that would have given it a lot more credibility. There are a slue of in-state players that were signed in February by UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Duke & ECU that Amato choose not to offer. He could have listed the five best from this group of players that he believes will be terrific Division 1 players. Without saying exactly who we should have pursued, his opinion lacks punch.

    Coach Amato’s personality was a big help to us during his first years of success. Unfortunately, we are now seeing the other side of that equation. Farrell’s article and the one naming him the worst coach in America (in my view – this is much crazier) are examples of people taking their shots at someone they don’t like. There is only one answer for this – win more games but this is always the answer to most questions at the highest level of any athletic competition.

  17. Mr O 07/05/2006 at 10:57 AM #

    Generally speaking, the media doesn’t like Amato. Part of that blame probably falls Amato’s way, but one would expect the media to at least hold up their end of the bargain and do the basic responsibilities of their job.

    Nice article, hopefully Farrell gets to read it. He essentially trashed Amato for the sole purpose of trashing Amato. That is very popular among members of the media right now.

    Al Groh is another coach the media doesn’t like and has been highly critical of lately.

  18. Wulfpack 07/06/2006 at 8:12 PM #

    ^ I completely disagree. The media doesn’t choose who to like and who not to like. The knock on Amato all along was the drop in the program after the “big bang” i.e. the Rivers era. Amato made a big splash. He has a flamboyant personailty. It’s just when media members see State bobble along for the past 3 years, they begin to wonder if this guy really is all show. When you have Mario Williams and Manny Lawson, and you’re defense can’t stop Wake Forest from piling up 200 yards on the ground, and people begin to wonder. That’s it.

  19. RAWFS 07/12/2006 at 12:38 PM #

    If they wonder why NC State “bobbles along” then they do not know football. Even the 12 year kid sitting next to us at games knows our O line is awful.

    Out of all the media types out there, only Adam Gold seems to get that.

    Mr. O pretty much nailed it. The media doesn’t like Chuck because Chuck has belittled more than one of them when they ask questions that are perfectly obvious. What Chuck doesn’t seem to understand is that the writer already knows the answer, he just wants a fresh quote from Amato to fill out his article. Instead, Amato has a propensity to be sarcastic and demeaning, which is no way to endear yourself to anyone…especially self-important writers.

    On top of that, you have lazy journalists who essentially recycle each other prolifically. Very few of them do anything original, and even fewer do much investigation and research into their pieces. Witness the never-ending red shoe and red sneaker chops – even though Chuck dropped them roughly after the Clemson game last year, the press still writes as though he wears the garb to games. In fact, he hasn’t for five or six games running.

    If they cannot get simple details correct, I refuse to listen to their big picture ideas, because their ability to mesh small facts into a big picture is beyond suspect.

  20. StateFans 09/01/2006 at 1:32 PM #

    From the News & Observer:

    State is believed to have 11 commitments, including nine from North Carolina high schools.

    High school coaches throughout the state say they sense a change in the Wolfpack’s in-state recruiting.

    “The State coaches are doing a great job with the North Carolina kids,” said Jeff Simpson, the coach of Charlotte Vance cornerback Justin Byers, who also recently committed to the Pack.

    “State seems to have made a commitment to getting the kids here,” Simpson said. “You sure see State’s guys a lot more.”

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