Football Signing Day – State Talent

It is signing day! So, why not run an in-depth piece on talent and recruiting (as a follow-up to this entry with some great links in it)

Whether it was reality or mis-perception, Chuck Amato had a reputation for preferring high school players from talent-rich states like Florida over those from North Carolina high schools. Ironically, the recruiting class that Amato was creating this season was almost exclusively NC-based. (If you are genuinely interested in more on this topic, this entry is a must read.) As Tom O’Brien heads into his (quasi) first recruiting class, then we thought it would be a good time to touch on the topic of talent again.

WRAL’s David Glenn recently blogged an interesting entry discussing the talent in the state of North Carolina High Schools that can be read by clicking here. The premise is summarized as:

Former East Carolina head coach Steve Logan, now the offensive coordinator at Boston College, recently said on his radio show (620 The Bull in Durham) that he would recommend Davis or O’Brien using all 25 scholarships in a given year on in-state prospects. Logan offered only anecdotal evidence to support the wisdom of such a decision, and that seems to be the case with everyone in the “North Carolina Talent Is Wonderful” camp. It’s easy to throw compliments, on a case-by-case basis, in every direction. It’s a lot more difficult to find hard evidence to support the broader claim.

Glenn goes on to reference some previous research that was done by the ACC Area Sports Journal regarding recruiting in the state.

Research by the ACC Sports Journal and repeatedly has shown that North Carolina has the worst “football demographics” of any state in the ACC region. The state’s average of about 60 Division I-A signees per year isn’t bad — that ranks among the top dozen in the nation — but the presence of five I-A programs in the state, along with numerous others within a reasonable driving distance, offers a significant complication. Georgia, in contrast, has two I-A teams and produces about 150 I-A signees per year. As Amato said, to the chagrin of many locals, there’s no denying that the simple math — I-A signees/I-A teams — isn’t pretty in North Carolina.

^This information is pretty captivating. We actually highlighted it and discussed it in this key entry back when the original entry was posted.

Here’s the breakdown of how many Division I-A signees the traditional ACC states produce on an annual basis, relative to the number of I-A programs in the state:

Georgia 75 (150 signees, two teams) prospects per school,

Florida 50 (350/7),
Virginia 25 (50/2),
Maryland 20 (40/2),
South Carolina 20 (40/2),
North Carolina 12 (60/5).

Here’s the breakdown when you limit the same numbers to only BCS-conference teams:
Florida 87 (350/4) per school,
Georgia 75 (150/2),
Maryland 40 (40/1),

Virginia 25 (50/2),

South Carolina 20 (40/2),
North Carolina 15 (60/4).

I don’t think that the issue is that there is not enough talent in North Carolina to succeed. The problem is that there are too many teams splitting the talent for our schools to succeed.

Of course those schools that ARE local need to do a better job of keeping talent in the state when we have the opportunity. Dave Glenn proves my point in this fantastic exercise of creating a hypothetical “All North Carolina” team

What if there was only one Division I-A football team in North Carolina, instead of five? What if its coaches were smart enough to identify, without exception, the best high school prospects in the state every single year? What if the team then was able to sign every one of those top targets, rather than losing many of them to out-of-state programs? What would that hypothetical All-North Carolina team look like, based on what actual North Carolina products did at schools throughout Division I-A football during the 2006 season?

The good news is, there definitely would be enough proven players to field a team. The bad news is, out of the 300-plus North Carolina high school football players who signed with Division I-A teams over the past five years, only eight (see below) earned first- or second-team all-conference honors this fall.

As Trout pointed out in a comments section of a previous entry – the number of D1 signees is correlated to the population of that state:

Florida: 17.7 million, 350 signees
Georgia: 9.1 million, 150 signees
North Carolina: 8.6 million, 60 signees
Virginia: 7.6 million, 50 signees
Maryland: 5.6 million, 40 signees
South Carolina: 4.3 million, 40 signees

Again – the issue isn’t the gross amount of talent in the state of North Carolina. The issue is the disproportionately large number of local programs that the local talent must support. Add to this mix the fact that UNC-Charlotte is now considering the addition of a Division One football program and you wonder if local schools will soon be starting two-hundred point linemen. (The UNC Board of Governors would do well to squash this ‘dream’ right now!)

GeorgiaSportsBlog produced a similar, and even more detailed look at football talent by state One of their data points was number of NFL players produced by states.

1. California – 199
2. Florida – 179
3. Texas – 176
4. Georgia – 90
5. Ohio – 78
6. Louisiana – 76
7. Pennsylvania – 58
8. Michigan – 50
9. Virginia – 49
10. South Carolina – 48

When you look at the location of all of this talent…is it any wonder that the SEC is expected to produce SIX TOP TEN classes today?

Percent of NFL players by conference in ’05

SEC states — 31.66%
ACC states — 26.95%
Big East states – 24.35%
Big 10 states — 20.46%
Big 12 states — 17.04%
Pac 10 states — 16.33%

Note: Please don’t use this entry to dive too deep into individual names that NC State is recruiting this year. We will have an entry for everyone to go “On the Record” with their thoughts, etc.

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73 Responses to Football Signing Day – State Talent

  1. BoKnowsNCS71 02/07/2007 at 10:25 AM #

    Do you think Chuck was reacting to the media criticism saying he couldn’t recruit in-state or do you think our Florida connections were just getting weaker? Could he have been trying to establish relationships with the NC High School coaches in hopes that would bring better dividends (players) in future years? Do you think that Butch might burn some NC HS bridges by going outside NC more than within? While he may be sucessful short term, if he’s gone in a few years — will this haunt UNX?

  2. cornellpackfan 02/07/2007 at 10:46 AM #

    I think it begs to mention that all year the pundits and various recruiting sources have been calling this year a banner year for North Carolina talent. We have been cross recruiting with various national programs this year for our in-state talent. I think that Chuck’s intentions might have been that he saw a trend towards better talent within North Carolina, or that this was an exceptional year within the state. I think that if someone were to break down the scope of the programs we went head to head with for in-state talent this year I think that you would find a greater geographical area of the programs we were competing with. I don’t think that it was a secret that the state of North Carolina contained more talent than normal this year.

  3. packbackr04 02/07/2007 at 10:53 AM #

    we can only hope so bo

  4. noah 02/07/2007 at 11:05 AM #

    It was an enormous mistake for Amato to completely ignore the states of Virginia and Georgia.

    Including Jay Smith and Russell Wilson, I believe we brought in a grand total of four Virginia kids (Wilson, Smith, Rashard Phillips and Phillip Holloman). And I don’t think we’ve had a Georgia recruit since Mike O’Cain was here.

    How many South Carolina recruits have we had? JC Neal…

    Seems like we had one kid from Maryland in Amato’s first class (a lineman who never saw the field, I think?).

    The “State doesn’t recruit NC” stuff was a load of crap. The REAL issue was, “State only recruits about four areas: Tampa, the Miami metro area, Hargrave Military Academy, and the state of North Carolina between NC-17 and Charlotte.”

  5. TNCSU 02/07/2007 at 11:11 AM #

    The other issue is letting that talent “leave” the state ala Chris Leak. You need to be able to recruit the “top” talent in your State to be identified as a “top” team. I think Amato was starting to realize that. This is not to say you shouldn’t pursue “top” talent in other states as well, which is what I think TOB will continue to do.

  6. noah 02/07/2007 at 11:11 AM #

    BTW, it’s an absurd idea to suggest that NC State has some obligation to sign a kid if he’s from North Carolina.

    Do NC kids get a head start off the line of scrimmage? Do touchdowns count for more points when scored by NC kids?

    Economically, it’s better for us to recruit a North Carolina kid. It’s cheaper to visit him, to host him on his visits and in-state tuition is half the cost of out-of-state tuition.

    But ultimately, we have to have players that can compete with the best programs in the nation. We’re not doing anyone a disservice by NOT recruiting a kid whose a step too slow or too small to play in the ACC.

    If a guy has talent, he’ll get an offer.

    Furthermore, if NC state has some unwritten obligation to recruit in-state kids, why do the top players in North Carolina have the same obligation to commit to in-state schools? Why aren’t these high school coaches telling recruiters from Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee to go back home….their kids have to go in-state so the linebacker whose only 5-10 and 195 pounds and runs a 4.8-40 can ALSO get a ride from NC State or UNC.

  7. primacyone 02/07/2007 at 11:19 AM #

    I believe Logan’s best teams were comprised primarly of North Caorolina players and primarily players from Eastern NC for that matter. That was not necesarily by design initially but from his persnal situation looking back, it worked out better.

    He felt that those teams had the best team dynamic and the most heart and enough of both of those to make up some of the talent short falls. Some similar reason could apply to why we were able to beat Florida Sate so much, but could never beat UNC.

  8. highonlowe 02/07/2007 at 11:27 AM #

    For the record, NC’s five I-A football schools are NCSU, UNC, WFU, Duke, and ECU. That said, I don’t think NCSU and UNC are in direct competition with the other 3 due to WFU’s and Duke’s elevated academic restrictions and Duke and ECU’s lack of football prestige. Wake’s ACC championship eliminates them from the ‘lack of football prestige’ category until Grobe leaves.
    Using these assumptions, it was critical that we remove Amato and hire a respected name this year (check and check) to limit our continued downward spiral to hell and salvage the ‘football prestige’ that Lee and Chuck had worked so hard to build. TOB must, at the very least, beat the 4 other NC teams to establish us as the premier NC football school.

  9. noah 02/07/2007 at 11:31 AM #

    I can’t remember the last time we went head to head with Dook for a football recruit. But Josh Adams and Josh Gattis were both NC State recruits.

  10. RedTerror29 02/07/2007 at 11:35 AM #

    I think Amato had a pretty good recruiting strategy: land the top in-state talent (Mario Williams, Andre Brown), pull in some other serious talent from a couple recruiting hotspots (W. PA, S. FL), and fill in the rest with in-state talent. It was all the other problems that eventually trickled down to hurt our recruiting.

  11. primacyone 02/07/2007 at 11:37 AM #

    Chicken or Egg?

    “TOB must, at the very least, beat the 4 other NC teams to establish us as the premier NC football school”

    You can say that again. How does he do that? Does he need NC players to beat NC schools or can he do that with players from everywhere? If he beats them with players from everywhere, do we then get our pick of the top NC talent or do they still get devided up amonst all five shcools. If we beat all of the other NC shools, does that prevent the top talent from leaving the state or is it more important to beat and focus on other top teams in the country to keep local talent here?

  12. noah 02/07/2007 at 11:39 AM #

    Amato completely whiffed in landing the off. linemen he needed and he came up short in every class except his second one (Pat Thomas, FAL, Lowery, Tulloch) in landing the linebackers he needed.

    We were successful in getting top notch RBs, WRs, DBs, DL, TEs, and QBs (even if all of those guys didn’t pan out) to sign with us.

    But when you can’t pass block and you can’t run block, it really doesn’t matter what play you call.

    We lost a lot of really good coaches as well. For whatever reason. Norm Chow, Dan Canales, Buddy Green, Joe Pate, the DB coach who went to Rutgers…they all represented NC State very well and were a credit to their profession.

  13. RedTerror29 02/07/2007 at 11:43 AM #

    We lost out when Spurrier didn’t leave USC for Bama or Miami. He pulled three four stars and a five star from NC this year.

  14. TNCSU 02/07/2007 at 11:56 AM #

    In addition, there may be good reason NOT to recruit a four-star In-State prospect, but I believe TOB is a good judge of character and talent, and in 2-3 years, he’ll have this program where he wants it – with a nice combination of in-state and out-of-state players.

  15. highonlowe 02/07/2007 at 12:02 PM #

    I was just stating the climate and goals really, not suggesting a recruiting strategy. Also, I don’t think the addition of UNCC football will have a significant effect on us. If anything, they eventually take over ECU’s spot in the pecking order, which wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all. Feel free to disagree

  16. RedTerror29 02/07/2007 at 12:10 PM #

    I think you’re on target about the schools in state. I think there is room for a top-flight program in NC if the other four programs struggle. Or two good programs if the other three struggle. There’s not much room for anything else (although all five programs can suck, as we have seen).

    Ultimately, it’s not as bad as it looks, but our real in-state competition is from UNC. We have to worry more about from Clemson/USC/UT/VT/UVA than WF/Duke/ECU/UNCC.

  17. primacyone 02/07/2007 at 12:15 PM #

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    To beat the tar out of the tar holes.

    I think TOB understands this! I think TOB has bigger dreams than some of us. I think TOB is very talented and he’ll get the people he thinks can accomplish both task regardless of where they come from and that may not be NC, but it would be nice to have the very top of the talant pool stay in NC.

  18. gumbydammit 02/07/2007 at 12:16 PM #

    Anybody know the story as to why Euwell switched from NCSU to UNC? Evidently, it was decided during a TO’B in-house visit. Just curious…

  19. McPete 02/07/2007 at 12:24 PM #

    One problem with DG’s work on in-state talent is that he assumes that the in-state D1A schools have an advantage in recruiting the in-state kids, but in North Carolina year after year we see +50% of the top talent (the 4 and 5 star talent) leave for Tenn., USC, Florida St., Notre Dame – the prestigious football schools. So while we may not compete with Dook or ECU for big-time players, we are losing often with the top programs regionally (e.g. Culliver to Va Tech).

  20. highonlowe 02/07/2007 at 12:29 PM #

    I was limiting the scope of my comments to goal #1. Goal 1 is to be the best in the state of NC, goal 2 is to be the best in the ACC, then we can focus on national championships.

  21. packbackr04 02/07/2007 at 12:46 PM #

    if we are going by stars, UNC is getting the best of us right now.

    noah^^ you can add reggie herring to that list of good coaches who left us.

  22. gannon 02/07/2007 at 12:51 PM #

    Has anyone else seen this? It’s from the charlotte observer….

    Greg Little, the Observer’s No. 1 player in North Carolina who had committed to Notre Dame, is expected to sign a letter of intent instead to play college football for new North Carolina coach Butch Davis.

  23. BoKnowsNCS71 02/07/2007 at 1:08 PM #

    All of our recruits have signed but for Ruiz – the Ca. kicker. UNX still has 10 pending.

  24. MadWolf92 02/07/2007 at 1:19 PM #

    John Hannah has signed?

  25. branjawn 02/07/2007 at 1:24 PM #

    who is John Hannah??

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