ACC Sports Journal: Wolfpack Failed to Fix Line With 2005 Class

Recently the ACC Sports Journal completed major changes to their website and the layout of their print edition. For anyone interested, they are offering a free 30 day trial to their website. You can register by going here:

Free 30 day Trial

One cool feature non-subscribers can use on their website is the “Daily Links” page. They provide articles from around the ACC market for each team in the conference. Having been on the internet following ACC sports since 1996~, I think this type of “web run” was actually originated by the creators of this blog. We mentioned The Wolfpack Wire recently who also does something similar.

With tomorrow’s game against Duke and the many discussions of our talent level compared to other programs in the conference, we asked the folks from the ACC Sports Journal to offer one of their recent “subscriber only” articles for free to NC State fans. Each year they look back at the football recruiting classes from four years ago to see how well the classes turned out:

RALEIGH — Chuck Amato developed a reputation during his N.C. State tenure for putting on a show during his signing day press conferences, whether it was riding in on a motorcycle, drinking sparkling grape juice or wearing a gold suit. Feb. 2, 2005, was a bit different. Amato was more subdued and at times seemingly annoyed with having
to even do a press conference.

Following his first losing season at N.C. State, Amato for the first time was beginning to feel some heat. The year before, during Philip Rivers’ senior season, the team had a relatively disappointing 8-5 campaign, when it was expected to compete for the ACC championship.

The loud whispers were out there. Can Amato survive the post-Rivers era? Amato heard them. He also felt he answered them when State inked a 24-player class that was ranked on the fringe of the top 25 by most recruiting services.

“It’s not a bad class for a sinking ship, I’ll tell you that,” Amato said that day. “We are really pleased with what we got.”

Ultimately, though, the ship was sinking on Amato. He would never get to see the results of the class, which was supposed to address major needs along both lines. Fourteen linemen were inked, split evenly between the offensive and defensive sides.

Remember that Amato quote?

-Originally, the 2005 recruiting class was ranked tied for 5th in the ACC (B-) by the ACCSJ with a consensus national ranking of 30th. It is important to note that the ACCSJ takes into account academic attrition in the Fall semester which often plagued Chuck Amato recruiting classes while the national rankings do not.

-Duke was also given a B- and had a consensus national ranking of 38th. So for the most part Duke’s class was on par with NC State’s especially when you take into account that Amato’s class lost three players due to academic issues (Doug Palmer, Brandon Jeffries, and Chad Green).

-In measuring how the classes turned out, the ACCSJ gives 10 points per starter, 10 points for each all-ACC player and candidates, and 5 points for each 2nd stringer. Duke’s class ranked 8th in the ACC with NC State placing 9th. Both classes ended up with a C+ grade and averaged 5.6 points per player (as did TOB’s class of 2005 at Boston College).

-Check this link for a listing of the entire class.

-Click this link for an indepth article with Amato quotes and the ACCSJ’s breakdown of the class.

We would like to thank the folks from the ACC Sports Journal for working with us in providing this kind of quality, detailed information to NC State fans.

Chuck Amato Flashback Football Recruiting General Rankings & Lists

36 Responses to ACC Sports Journal: Wolfpack Failed to Fix Line With 2005 Class

  1. b8zs_Wolf 11/07/2008 at 10:24 AM #

    December 17, 2004
    Holliday leaves N.C. State for Florida

    It went downhill from there….

  2. SuperStuff 11/07/2008 at 10:43 AM #

    Assistant coaches leaving on a regular basis was a bad sign period. Those coaches did not have enough loyalty to Chuck to want to stay. I could understand one or two, but it got down right ridiculous.

  3. class of 74 11/07/2008 at 10:44 AM #

    ^THAT was the real dagger to Amato’s heart. And ol’ Doc is doing a number on Amato still, right here in Florida.

  4. Wolf Dog 11/07/2008 at 10:55 AM #

    I have always liked the ACC Sports Journal. Great article. b8zs_Wolf is right our recruiting tailed off after Doc. left. You got to give Amato credit for hiring him though.

    How about MOC? Seems VT fans giving him allot of credit for gettting production out of the QB position at VT. Beamer looking like ACC coach of the year at this point given what he has done in what is suppose to be a rebuilding year for them.

  5. Alpha Wolf 11/07/2008 at 11:01 AM #

    I certainly remember the partisan scoffing at the ranking of our class when Signing Day came and went, with a few knowledgeable folks saying that the OL recruiting was non-existent. People said that we’d just convert failed DL players, which I have always thought was a mistake except in one-off situations.

    Fans tend to overlook the OL, and certainly are unaware of the smarts and technique it takes to be a good player up front. Being an RT or LG is not glamorous, but I don’t care who you have under center or in the backfield they are not going to be as successful as you need if they don’t have holes or time to do their job.

    Thankfully, TOB understands that completely. We’re rebuilding our OL and over the long haul we will have what we need up there to be a consistently dangerous offense. Too bad that Amato never realized that Baker/Brown/Eugene had to have the bulls charging up front.

  6. Classof89 11/07/2008 at 11:08 AM #

    All the OL players in the world won’t turn us into a championship team if we have slow, stone-handed receivers. TOB isn’t going to achieve the success he is hoping for if we continue to miss on blue-chip WRs. If Amato’s recruiting weakness was the lines, TOB’s is the skill position players outside of QB…who do we have coming up at RB behind Jamelle Eugene?

  7. Daily Update 11/07/2008 at 11:15 AM #

    Classof89: I agree with you to an extent, but we are pretty well stocked at WR right now. We return 100% of our catches and TDS next year not to mention add Donald Bowen back to the lineup.

    Players with one year of eligibility left:
    Geron James

    Players with two years of eligibility left:
    Donald Bowens
    Darrell Davis
    Owen Spencer
    Jarvis Williams

    Three years left:
    TJ Grahm
    Jay Smith
    Steven Howard

  8. Alpha Wolf 11/07/2008 at 11:23 AM #

    “All the OL players in the world won’t turn us into a championship team if we have slow, stone-handed receivers.”

    Wow — I wasn’t aware that TJ Graham was slow. Yes, he needs to work on his catching technique, but that’s something that can be taught.

    Bowens and Spencer are pretty good receivers. So is George Bryan at TE.

    And give a solid QB enough time in the pocket, a receiver will almost eventually come open. That’s a football truism that’s pretty much 100% correct.

    I do agree that TOB needs to get some upper level blue chippers in here, but I think that may require a little success first.

  9. McPete 11/07/2008 at 11:34 AM #

    “who do we have coming up at RB behind Jamelle Eugene?”

    ‘blue chip’ prospect named Brandon Barnes. happy?

    plus we already have two WR commits for the ’09 class, one of which (Bryan Underwood) was being heavily recruited by the likes of Mizzouri and is classified by one scout as one of the fastest prospects in the Midwest in 2009.

  10. BJD95 11/07/2008 at 11:36 AM #

    Deep Thought:

    Does TJ Graham = Alvis Whitted?

    For years, I tried to get “Alvis has left the building!” established as a catch phrase. Sadly, it never worked.

    Like George Carlin (RIP) said – I have all these great ideas. Problem is, most of them suck.

  11. Daily Update 11/07/2008 at 11:51 AM #

    One thing we do know is that TJ Grahm gives us one of the most dangerous returners in the conference for three more seasons. Hopefully we can figure out how to use that to our advantage on the short kicks we are likely to see going forward.

  12. tvp1 11/07/2008 at 12:06 PM #

    When they do this breakdown on the 06 class, it will look even worse.

  13. Classof89 11/07/2008 at 12:27 PM #

    Barnes is nice, but if you want a championship program, you have to recruit a highly ranked running back EVERY year, given attrition and injury…

  14. Wolf Dog 11/07/2008 at 12:30 PM #

    tommy bowden can tell you what missing out on OL recruits will get you down the road. Two great backs but no line to open the holes.

    We look good at receiver. in fact we got lots of experienced returning players at many positions for next. And remember Athlon had this years freshman class ranked fifth best recruiting class in the ACC so we should see many of them working their way on the depth charts. I am very excited about our potential next year.

  15. Daily Update 11/07/2008 at 12:54 PM #

    You have to recruit a talented running back every year, not necessarily highly ranked. Remember Tobias Palmer from last year’s class should enroll in the Spring or Summer of 2010 after getting his JUCO degree and we have a commitment in this year’s class from a RB having a great year at the highest level of HS football in Florida.

    Not big time recruits, but neither was Jamelle Eugene. Note I am not trying to make excuses for not landing highly rated players, but at this point it with what is going on in Chapel Hill and how much we have been losing recruiting is becoming increasingly difficult. Let’s hope that TOB can find enough of his kind of players with enough talent and athleticism to move us back up the Atlantic division standings.

  16. Paramarine 11/07/2008 at 1:18 PM #

    Do we know that we’ll have Donald Bowens back next season? I thought his injury was career threatening, if not career ending.

  17. Classof89 11/07/2008 at 1:40 PM #

    Palmer may or may not ever play here…I’d guess of the commits who go off to JUCO after not making the grade, maybe 20% have ever played a down for us? Funny, this sort of rationalizing is EXACTLY what we used to hear about the obvious shortcomings in Amato’s classes… “well, if you stand on one foot, lean your head a certain way, whistle Dixie, and cut the closet light on, then this class is just the thing to meet all our needs….” Let’s face it, Butch Davis is opening up an ENORMOUS talent gap on us, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the late Mack Brown era (which began, if you will recall, a run of seven straight wins by UNC over MOC coached teams), and also reminicent of the talent gap in the early 1980s (another run of seven straight wins by UNC in the series, ended by Sheridan’s upset in 1986). I, for one, do not want this year’s likely loss to UNC to begin another seven years of wandering in the wilderness for the UNC/state rivalry…

  18. Wolf Dog 11/07/2008 at 1:56 PM #

    I don’t see Butch opening a big talent gap over us. Some had our most recent class ranked ahead of his and we beat them last year.
    Plus recruiting rankings are misleading. For example: Two of Butch’s highest rated recruits did not qualify and went to prep school in Va. this year. Both now have recommitted to UNC and show up in UNC’s recruiting rankings again this year. So Butch getting ranked high two years in a row on the same players. I think both are ranked 4 stars. Plus UNC 3 star recruit WR Davis tore his ACL and just had surgery on it.

  19. Daily Update 11/07/2008 at 2:01 PM #

    Classof89: Unfortunately there isn’t much anyone, including TOB, can do about it. The football program was left flapping in the wind for so many years prior to Amato’s dismissal that the rebuilding job became much more difficult. As you point out, Butch Davis(the guy most NC State fans told me can’t coach) is going to make it even harder.

    So essentially we need a coach who does a good job of identifying underrated players and a coach who has the ability to coach these players up to compete with teams recruiting higher star players.

    Fortunately, we just happened to hire a guy who did exactly that for 8 seasons at BC. Unfortunately, our administration hired him two years too late so that any gains made during the Amato era were given right back through the mismanagement of the program.

    As far as Palmer, he sounds like a different kind of kid than the Chad Green’s from the past(at least based on interviews at Pack Pride).

  20. McPete 11/07/2008 at 2:03 PM #

    i just don’t see it that way, classof89. did TOB ever have a top 25 recruiting class at BC? i’ll check again, but i thought the highest rated was like 28th. but he had top 25 football teams from year 5 to year 10. last years class was highly regarded. this year’s probably won’t be, but i will bet money that a.) the class sticks around 4 or 5 years and b.) there will be 5 or 6 pleasant surprises. TOB’s staff has gained a reputation for mining talent, finding sleeper prospects.

    and i’d be less worried about wide receivers and more worried about the defense. we really needed guys like donte moss or devonte holloman or terry shankle. and that’s only because we have to recruit defensive players who are good enough to play right now. a serious talent gap right now. i think we’re pretty much set up on the offensive side of the ball, though.

  21. McPete 11/07/2008 at 2:13 PM #

    TOB at BC had one recruiting class in the Top 30, according to 2003 was rated the 27th best. looking at several years (2002-2006) alot of his classes were in the 40’s.

    going back to running back, though. next year we’ll have Eugene (RSr), Underwood (JR), Barnes (RFr), and maybe toney baker (RSR), depending on his health. plus the guy from florida, james washington (Fr). that’s pretty much a running back in every class.

  22. Alpha Wolf 11/07/2008 at 2:23 PM #

    When TOB took over NC State, it was similar to the first coach of an expansion NFL team: he had some decent talent here and there but by no means a solid team on the field or in red-shirts. Basically, he got an empty pipeline and it takes 2-3 years to get one started up.

    I like our chances to going forward because he’s building a solid team in pretty much every phase of the game. Maybe he’s not getting top 10 classes that are 18 players deep…yet…but if there’s one thing O’Brien is very well known for, it is developing unknown talent and molding them into solid teams.

    Some guy named Grobe does the same thing a hundred-odd miles west down I-40; how’s that worked out?

  23. Lt col packman 11/07/2008 at 2:25 PM #

    First timer here. Like the site, read when I can. We military guys big pack fans. I am class of 85. Appears I am older than most on here. Seems I am like Wolf Dog. Wolf Dog, I love your posts and I know others do to.

    I think our football coach is a take no prisioners kinda guy. I don’t see him letting those other schools in the triangle beating us on any regular basis.

    Keep up the good work guys! Go Pack!
    Lt Col Packman

  24. Classof89 11/07/2008 at 2:41 PM #

    We all used to say that MOC excelled at finding “sleepers” and “diamonds in the rough”…well, we see how his tenure turned out…Nobody builds championship teams on sleepers and diamonds in the rough. Sure Grobe’s 2006 Wake team had a buttload of lightly recruited players, but they were all 5th year seniors on it, and he had to get through four pretty bad seasons to arrive at that point (and he didn’t sniff the ACC championship game last year, and probably won’t this year, either).

    Lets make no bones about it…if UNC finishes 9-3 or (God forbid) 10-2 and goes Gator or Peach, Wake and ECU go to bowls (likely) and Duke does too (possible), we will be odd man out for the top 15 recruits in NC, not just this year, but for some time to come.

    I challenge anyone to show me an NC State football coach in the history of the program who was able to be successful without holding his own in in-state recruiting. Sure Mack Brown outrecruited Sheridan late in his tenure, but Sheridan was continuing to get some good players out of NC. In 30 years of following NC State footabll, I have to go back to the Monte Kiffin/Tom Reed years to see an NC state coach be so decisively outrecruited for the top 30 players in NC as is happening this year. I understand we have none of the top 10 with four uncommitted. Are we on the final five list of any of those four remaining top 10 players? A pig’s a pig, no matter how much lipstick some of ya’ll want to put on it…

    If we are content with a team that goes 6-6, 7-5, with an occasional 9-3 and runner up in the Division, with a team made up of diamonds in the rough and “sleepers”, then we should have just stuck with Mike O’Cain, because that is an accurate description of his tenure. I, for one, don’t think that is what we sunk one-eighth of a billion dollars into stadium improvements for.

  25. b 11/07/2008 at 2:52 PM #

    Curtis underwood is a solid RB, Barnes is a gamebreaker. Eugene will likely be back, and if Baker can overcome his setbacks we will have plenty of horses in the stable. TOB did a great job developing RBs at Boston College. They may not have been Adrian Peterson, but they got the job done. And a solid O-line can maka a good RB look great.

    Build the lines and the skill players will come.

    As for Butchie vs TOB, its a matter of tastes. We went from flash to substance, they went from a disorgnization to flash. Time will tell.

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