FBall Recruiting: Wolfpack addresses special teams needs

Today is one of the biggest days of the year in college athletics – National Signing Day for college football programs.

We have been entertaining a season long “Football Recruiting” thread on our message boards that is now nine pages long and can be seen by clicking here.  But, today is when all of the ‘commitments’ become ‘signees’ and you can genuinely pencil them into blocks on depth charts.

Early in the year, many national blogs and recruiting publications were highlighting football’s ‘worst’ recruiting classes; and NC State was perpetually included in those rankings.  SFN preached ‘PATIENCE’ at that time and we continued to do so throughout the season.  Of course, finishing 9-4 with wins over Florida State, UNC-CH and West Virginia helped support the call for a a wait-and-see approach. 

At the end of today, I think you will see NC State’s recruiting rankings generally fall out between #55 and #60 in the country.

Our readers know that we are not pie-in-the-sky apologists who can rationalize every piece of news as ‘positive’ for our beloved NC State.  So, we hope that our failure to be excessively alarmed about this year’s recruiting rankings carried a little bit of credibility with our readers.  It was obvious that this year just wasn’t shaping up as an huge recruiting year for the Wolfpack – especially if you care about rankings.   There were many reasons for this that weren’t necessarily awful news for the Wolfpack:

  • Skill position players usually get the highest volume of the most disproportionately high rankings — and the Wolfpack didn’t need a huge haul of skill position players with the depth we have built at QB, RB, WR & TE.  It isn’t a bad thing that we’ve got plenty of talent at the skill positions.

  • Volume of recruits boost rankings — and the Wolfpack only had 19-20 scholarships available with which to recruit this year.

  • Previous transfers don’t get counted in recruiting rankings – and the Wolfpack picked up a stud linebacker from Syracuse that is projected to be a starter for the next three years at middle linebacker.  Hmmm…an unproven freshman with a great ranking?  or a proven linebacker that started as a true freshman in a BCS conference?

  • Special teams players never get rankings commiserate with their potential impact on the field – and almost 15% of NC State’s recruiting class are special team players that were ranked in the top five of their positions nationally at kicker, punter, and long snapper.

  • Tom O’Brien has a long term track record of developing fantastic FOOTBALL PLAYERS regardless of rankings.  We don’t subscribe to the theory that every 2* prospect can become Russell Wilson or BJ Raji, nonetheless, Coach O’Brien has earned the benefit of the doubt by showing he is significantly smarter than the recruiting services throughout his entire career.  Why would this year be any different?

  • Recruiting quality often lags performance on the field – and NC State has been struggling on the field the last few years but delivered a 9-4 season with Coach O’Brien’s fourth team (full of three full recruiting classes)  Conversely, State already has two solid commitments for 2012 coming off the heels of this season’s success.

We will have a lot more on National Signing Day as the next 48 hours unfold.   In the meantime, we’ll leave you with an article on a player that could account for 50+ more yards PER GAME than last year for the Wolfpack.

As a sophomore, he averaged 43.8 yards per punt. And as a junior, he earned all-state by averaging 44.6 yards, including 29 placements inside the 20.

In July, he participated in the Wolfpack summer camp in Raleigh and N.C. State offered him a scholarship.

Recruiters were aware of him; kicking guru Chris Sailer ranked him the No. 2 punter in the 2011 class after participating in his kicking camp in Las Vegas.

Clemson, East Carolina, Florida, South Carolina and Duke expressed interest, while Northwestern offered. He took an official visit to the Chicago-based Big Ten Conference team and enjoyed the trip.

But he wanted to play closer to home. After all, he was born in Wilmington and plans to major in computer engineering, following in the footsteps of his father.

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Football Recruiting

34 Responses to FBall Recruiting: Wolfpack addresses special teams needs

  1. section2chuck 02/02/2011 at 1:22 PM #

    I am in the opinion that I dont worry about TOB’s recruiting class rankings anymore…the facts are we arent ‘Bama, USC, LSU, Oklahoma, etc..

    So we arent going to have big time classes coming to NC State, as long as we address needs, then I am fine with that…just look @ UNC, they have had good classes, but they havent been all that good. I will take TOB’s coaching ability all day….

  2. runwiththepack 02/02/2011 at 1:28 PM #

    I just read that the Baumann kid is now 6ft-7in!!

    Wow! He might be a great threat to throw the ball for fake punts.

    AND/OR! He could practice 3-pointers and maybe join the basketball team.

  3. adwomack 02/02/2011 at 1:30 PM #

    Wow, I think I might disagree with almost every “Point” in this post

    1) Skill position players do not necessarily get a higher grade than other players. Just a quick glance of the ESPN 150 shows that tree OT show up in the top 10 and only 3 of 10 are skill position players

    2) NC State does not need skill position players? Are you expecting us to run the wishbone in 2012? Our WR depth is terrible. Our top 3 WR’s from 2010 is gone, and our top 3 WR for 2011(and top TE) will also be gone. In 2012 we will have Palmer and Payton, and basically that is it(and both are unproven).

    3) You are counting the Syracuse LB transfer as a “stud”. He was Big East All Freshman in 2009, but did you actually look at his stats? He might end up being good, but calling him a “stud” at this point is very, very optimistic

    3) You name 2-3 “Fantastic” players that TOB has mentored? He recruits 20-25 players a year. If you want to have a good team, you can’t turn 2 of 20 into “Fantastic” players, you have to turn 10+ into good players.

    The bottom line is that if we want to win championships(ACC and above) then we need a better base of players. Period. Sure, O’Brien can win 8 games a year with what he is getting now(maybe, remember that several ACC teams are on the rise, and the ACC has not exactly be outstanding the last 3-4 years), but is that our goal? Its not mine.

    The saying used to be that if Obrien could get 8 wins out of his BC recruits, imagine what he could get if he got better recruits(because we are NC state, somehow we were going to get better players that BC, not criticizing, I thought the same thing), but he’s not getting better players. He’s getting the same players.

    So, if our talent is the same as what he had at BC, and I would argue that the ACC is a better conference, we might end up with worse records.

    My bottom line opinion is if he does not improve his recruiting classes, we will always be a 6-8 win team. Maybe that is all everyone else expects, but I have no desire to pay a ton of money for season tickets, and seat licenses to see us beat a terrible 1-AA team and then win half our other games every year.

  4. Old MacDonald 02/02/2011 at 1:37 PM #

    ^ Of course that assumes that the people who do “star ratings” know anything. Check all-conference teams for their high school “star ratings” and you would be very surprised.

  5. adwomack 02/02/2011 at 1:38 PM #

    section2chuck, I find the comparison to UNC kind of funny. Yes, we seem to beat them every year, but let’s look at what they were able to do this year, under terrible circumstances.

    They had 13(THIRTEEN) players miss the opening game against LSU, but came within a dropped pass of still winning that game.

    They also had a very high number of injuries, just as they started to get some of those 13 players back. They had injury totals to rival our last three years.

    They had all those problems and finished exactly ONE game worse record wise than we did. And that one game could easily have been flipped if not for a hailmary 4th down TD that was tipped.

    When we had those types of problems, we ended up with a loosing record. UNC was still able to compete because they had a lot of great high quality depth and that starts with recruiting.

  6. JSRy2k 02/02/2011 at 1:54 PM #

    We all want to compete for ACC championships (and win a couple too). Answers to these arguments will bear out over the next several years, and I am confident that whether TOB lasts for 13 more years or 3 years that his time here will be worthwhile.

    Amato left a nightmare of early attrition that decimated several of our classes. TOB has proven, however, to recruit players that both develop and stick around. Look at what BC did AFTER he left. He left that program in amazing shape. So, I feel confident that one of two things will happen: a. TOB starts winning 10+ games every several years (which would be unprecedented for NCSU football) and prolongs his career and our pleasure OR b. TOB hovers in the 7-9 win range and only lasts a few more years yet leaves the program fully stocked for the next coach. Either way, we’re far better off long-term than when Amato left.

  7. baxter 02/02/2011 at 1:56 PM #

    that was a turd of a comment.

    Ratings rely just as much on where you are and who you play for as they do actual performance.

    I’ll take the word from Irving that Carter is a stud and hits the hell out of people.

    I’ll take that 3 star Matt Ryan and let him get tutored by Bible.

    We were one game out from the ACC game this year and still fresh in a lot of areas.

    WR depth is not as big an issue as you think, a lot of skill players going to be moved into WR over the next season. Palmer is the real deal, not to mention guys like Jones, Creecy, Morgan etc. WR production will increase and become more effective as the power run game develops.

    Also, TOB has been hurt by the injury bug and lack of prepared football IQ because of that. It shouldn’t be any surprise how much the team developed under the new schemes, the experience, and execution. We lost Clemson on special teams. That glaring error is taken care of now for 4 years potentially.

  8. bradleyb123 02/02/2011 at 1:59 PM #

    I’m not worried about TOB’s recruiting because we have been “down” since well before TOB arrived. It’s no surprise that top recruits aren’t beating down our door just yet. We’ve had one good year with TOB. I expect recruiting to improve as we improve. Rebuilding can be a slow process sometimes. I believe this year’s recruiting class wasn’t all that great because TOB was perceived to be on the hotseat. Had we finished 5-7 as many expected, TOB might not even be here now. And recruits surely knew that. Now that we’ve shown up and have a good year under our belts, I think recruiting will continue to improve. Hopefully we’ll string together a couple of solid years (8-9 wins, if not more). Then maybe we’ll see better and better recruits taking notice.

  9. Pack78 02/02/2011 at 2:01 PM #

    Wonder why Carlos Gray is not listed as ‘enrolled’ along with Frandsen-any thoughts?

  10. Classof89 02/02/2011 at 2:26 PM #

    Though I’m not ready to press the panic button over this year’s subpar results, I’m with Adwomack in the sense that we will NOT be successful in the long run if we have anymore years where we sign NONE of the top 25 players in North Carolina. No program (other than maybe Notre Dame and the service academies–all of whom are special cases) can build sustained success without consistently mining the top talent in its home state. Particularly a program like ours that is not a household name in college football.

    I hope I’m not watching a rerun of the late 80s and early 90s, where Mack Brown at UNC consistently and completely out-recruited Dick Sheridan each year they were both coaching in NC. Sure Sheridan won his last four games in a row against UNC…but the last two it took fluky occurences like a 56 yard FG and a 20 for 27 passing performance by our QB to get it done. That recruiting shortfall (and, admittedly, some bad coaching by Mike O’ Cain) laid the groundwork for seven straight wins by UNC in the series. I don’t want to see that happen again.

  11. wolfpack15 02/02/2011 at 2:27 PM #

    Im going to have to agree with adwomack. It is very important to have good coaches and the coaches put the players in positions to be winners but at the same time the players are the ones playing. At some point the talent level takes over on the field. the line is where the game is dominated but the skill players are the ones that have to make the big plays. I think in todays game the skill players are a huge role both offensively and defensively. Just a thought…..look at the recuriting board. Those programs that are getting the top 150 players are the the programs that are on top of college football. Now i know State has better facilities and more to offer than some of these programs so there is no excuss we shouldnt be getting some of that talent. Its about selling and some programs sell better than others.

  12. wolfy85 02/02/2011 at 2:36 PM #

    I see some good things in this recruiting class, especially the long-snapper and kickers. It has been a long, long time since we have had good kicking. I think as many have said, recruiting generally improves after success and we are just starting to experience success, so we should expect recruiting to improve CONSIDERABLY if we can have another year of 9+ wins.

    To compete on the highest level in college football, you do have to be able to get the really highly ranked kids. But to get them you have to either establish success or have a big name coach that can persuade kids. Obviously we are going the “establish success” route, and this process takes time. That being said, I expect recruiting to improve but also realize this could take a couple years. So let’s keep winning and expect the recruiting to improve in due time.

  13. freshmanin83 02/02/2011 at 2:49 PM #

    I have to agree with adwomack. I think carowhina had as good of a team as cheating can get you. That was the point, right? So then if we want as good a team as them we should cheat too?

  14. Pack1997 02/02/2011 at 2:55 PM #

    If I am not mistaken, last year we won the State in recruiting. So far since BMFD and TOB being hired they have flip flopped on winning the State each year. Also understand only having 19-20 scholarships really hurts in rankings. We add 2 or 3 3* prospects and our recruiting class jumps to the mid 30s.

    Also remember the recruiting analysts judge a lot of kids by which school offers them a scholarship. It is one of the reasons Miami and ND have had such great recrutuing classes the past few years but it hasn”t shown up on the field.

    Lastly TOB recruits a certain type of players rather than just athletes. Throughout their recruiting process the analyze other things than just raw talent. How smart are they, do they adapt well under pressure? Not saying we don’t want the high rated players but TOB is very picky about who he recruits. BFMD seems to offer everyone whether they fit his system or not.

  15. Plz2BStateFan 02/02/2011 at 3:09 PM #

    The foundation of UNC’s program is a high level of success in recruiting.

    Our foundation is solid coaching and developing players.

    The only way UNC is able to perform like they have is the large amount of highly rated recruits. And if you have much more highly rated recruits than the other team, more of them will turn out as studs than the other team.

    NC States recruiting class this year had a very low ceiling simply because of what we did on the field last year. Which is almost entirely because of injuries.

    SO, basically, this recruiting class is what it is because of injuries. You cant really blame TOB for that.

    This 9-4 season is going to make next years class much better. And when we get consistent 8-10 win seasons, all those classes in between will reflect that.

    TOB has managed to get us 4 straight wins vs UNC while our recruiting was reflective of 5-6 win seasons. Looking forward 2-3 years, the UNC NC State matchup should still be heavily in our favor because the recruiting level will be more even.

    We might not be able to win the Atlantic every year, but we will be right in the mix in the near term. But if you somehow think we DESERVE to win the Atlantic, compete for national titles after coming off of Chucks last year, stop it. When TOB is done here, he will have competed for titles and gotten this program in a position to make the next jump. With the right coaching search after TOB we can then think about deserving championships.

    I have a feeling I will be saying this over and over and over for years to come.

  16. patientwuf 02/02/2011 at 3:50 PM #

    I am not a star watcher or worried about recruiting rankings and this is WHY!!

    Recruiting Rankings Per ESPN(Top 25)

    2006 25 13 6
    2007 11 25 18
    2008 2 12
    2009 13 8 19
    2010 24 19 6
    2011 13 10 1 (Current Projections)

    One note worthy fact: In 2008 NC State had the #20 ranked recruiting class thanks to Brandon Barnes and Mike Glennon. (What input have they made on the field)

    Based on these rankings we should have never beat Carolina or Florida State. We have not beat Clemson, although we should have, but according to these rankings we were not supposed too.

    I too thought we would recruit more wide receivers but I trust that TOB has a plan in place to remedy that situation.

  17. patientwuf 02/02/2011 at 4:05 PM #

    Sorry can’t get the chart to line up correctly.

  18. jbwbubba 02/02/2011 at 5:02 PM #

    Lets just be honest, its a weak class. Perhaps TOB has some hidden gems or will create some. But right now in this moment in time, its a weak class. Yes, its a small class which will hurt it, but its still weak. I don’t know why; the Holes put a bigger emphasis on NC this year which hurt. Yes, TOB’s status was a little iffy at the start of the year; but so is the Clemson coach and the Holes future is all kind of iffy. Yet, both Clemson and the Holes managed to snag impressive classes.

    I hope the incoming Kicker and punter will be the answer to the Pack’s special team problems over the last few years. Would be nice to not worry about those areas for four years. If so, we might look back on this class as solid. However, a small/weak class this year means we need a very good class next year. We can’t afford to fall further behind.

    True, Stars don’t always matter and two-stars will outplay 4-5 stars sometimes. But like the man said, “The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong. But thats the way to bet”.

  19. baxter 02/02/2011 at 5:03 PM #

    You can downplay our guys all you want, but there are more than a few guys who didn’t get any press due to their location, their grades coming on late, or just lack of film and press.

    Look at a guy like Peek. Plays Georgia 5-A ball: 119 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, four interceptions (one returned for a score) and five fumble recoveries. For his efforts he was named all-county and selected to play in the Gwinnett County all-star game. … “Peek has played at one of the highest levels in Georgia and excelled.”

    2 Stars. Because he spent his junior year at a private school.

    This sort of thing goes across the board, Morgan, Hakim Jones, McGill, hell Rodman Noel was rated as the #7 prospect in the nation from prep school. 3 Stars on Scouts.

    Fact is, unless you are 5 star athlete or a MAJOR 4 star, its a crap shoot. Just as much a game of politics as anywhere else, its either seen or be unseen. TOB has been quoted as saying the talent evaluators don’t know how to do their job. It’s more important to me how TOB rates these guys than Miller Safrit and the Scouts.com team.

    Carolina is like the guy that brings that super hot girl back from the bar, but is impotent when it comes to getting on the playing field. They are flash – when they come across a good team they crumble. Hell, Miami smoked them last year, they barely got by Duke in the final minutes because of Davis’ idiocy at decision making, and they should have lost to Rutgers, Tennessee, and WILLIAM & MARY. They are often a team that surprises the hell out of somebody than plays consistent football. Probably has something to do with character, discipline, and tactics. They do not have a majority presence in any of those categories.

  20. baxter 02/02/2011 at 5:06 PM #

    We aren’t nor will we ever be UNC or Clemson. Get over it. UNC has the greatest brand recognition in the country and is regarded as a premier academic institution. Clemson has one of the most electrifying atmospheres in college football and one of the most recognizable traditions in the rock.

    NC State shouldn’t and doesn’t need to model itself after these teams or what they try to attempt. What you ought to recognize is how poorly those teams perform given all the talent and hype they always draw up each season.

  21. rtpack24 02/02/2011 at 5:36 PM #

    The total number of 5 star players starting in the Super Bowl this Sunday is 1.

  22. StateFans 02/02/2011 at 5:39 PM #

    Carlos Gray did not enroll early. It was an eligibility thing. He will be here this summer.

  23. StateFans 02/02/2011 at 5:41 PM #

    rtpack24’s post is the most impactful 16 words I could imagine —

    “The total number of 5 star players starting in the Super Bowl this Sunday is 1.”

  24. TOBtime 02/02/2011 at 6:45 PM #

    unx isn’t regarded as any type of premier academic institution anymore. The thugs they have been bringing in didn’t go there for that reason to begin with.
    Dick Sheridan beat Mack Brown 5 straight years. You can say a long field goal or a tipped pass is luck but then again taking an obvious TA McClendon winning TD OFF the board is also luck of the draw.
    Stay the course Tom.

  25. patientwuf 02/02/2011 at 6:52 PM #

    “Carolina is like the guy that brings that super hot girl back from the bar, but is impotent when it comes to getting on the playing field.”

    That’s good stuff.

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