A solution to NC State’s in-state football recruiting struggles?

ESPN The Magazine has undertaken a research project focused on high school football talent and where they attend college.

Heather Dinich’s blog entry today at ESPN.com highlights the struggles that NC State and Georgia Tech have had since Chuck Amato left Raleigh.

When it comes to keeping top talent at home, Georgia Tech and NC State have come up short, according to research from ESPN The Magazine and RecruitingNation. The data came from the 18 states that produced at least 10 ESPNU 150 recruits from 2007-11. The BCS programs inside those states were then ranked by the percentage of local recruits they signed. Among the 10 BCS programs that missed out on elite homegrown talent, Georgia Tech ranked No. 2 and NC State ranked No. 5.

According to the report, Georgia Tech signed just two of 74 ESPNU 150 recruits since 2007, and NC State two of 24. Both trailed in-state rivals Georgia and North Carolina. NC State fans will be quick to point out, though, that those numbers haven’t affected the Wolfpack’s win-loss record against the Tar Heels under coach Tom O’Brien. He might not have five stars next to his recruits, but he’s won five straight against UNC.

Here’s an excerpt from what ESPN The Magazine’s LaRue Cook had to say about NC State:

In terms of recruiting, we’re as perplexed with the Wolfpack’s lack of production as we are with Georgia Tech’s. Two ACC programs that can’t sign top local talent? (Okay, make that four. Duke nor Wake Forest has signed a single ESPNU 150 prospect from any state, so we didn’t bother ranking them.) Clemson, Georgia and South Carolina have gone in to North Carolina and lifted a combined eight prospects over the last five years — even Cal grabbed two. This year, the state’s five ESPNU 150 recruits are committed to Georgia, Florida (two) and Clemson (two).

^THIS issue is one of the MAIN issues that I think needs to be very clearly understood when the theory of NC State potentially moving to the SEC is discussed and debated.

The argument of the static thinker is something along the lines of: NC State can’t compete in the weak ACC, how/why in the world would you ever want to try to compete in the SEC (other than the money and the national prominence, of course)

What is lost in this simplistic ‘analysis’ is that EVERYTHING CHANGES if NC State were to make a move to the Southeastern Conference. You see, all of sudden NC State’s value proposition changes tremendously. Why would someone be so blind as to presume that the opportunity to attract larger numbers of the state’s top high school talent would not significantly increase recruiting to a program that has the SEC to offer as opposed to the ACC to offer?

I’m not saying that NC State would be competing for National Championships if such a move were ever made. But, why couldn’t the Wolfpack just move proportionally up the talent scale with our new offering and therefore achieve? something around a .500 record in the SEC (just like we have the last ~20 years or so in the ACC)

We would be an obviously better program.

Let me put it to you like this — if NC State played an SEC schedule and then scheduled Duke, Wake Forest, UNC & ECU for an out of conference slate, would you take 4-4 in the SEC and 4-0 in the out of conference every year?

Another way to crystallize this issue is to think about it as follows — Do you think NC State would have a better chance of going 4-0 against our rivals (Wake, Duke, UNC, ECU) by recruiting to program that resides in the ACC or to one that resides in the SEC?

When you really think about it like that…you may be surprised how your long term view of things may change and where your conclusions may lead.

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61 Responses to A solution to NC State’s in-state football recruiting struggles?

  1. wolfbuff 01/31/2012 at 11:26 AM #

    While interesting to play what-if, there is zero chance of NC State going to the SEC. But the title is at least a legitimate question. And the answer is: get better recruiters who can forge better relationships with the high school coaches and relate better to the players. I’m not naive enough to think that we won’t still lose some recruiting battles to the cheaters, the Clempsuns, the Volunteers, Hokies, etc. But we should be getting our fair share. Even with South Carolina in the SEC, I don’t see that to be a huge advantage for them. They’re recruiting better because a) they have a name coach; and b) they’re winning. Well, we’ve started winning too. And we are not capitalizing on it when it comes to recruiting. It’s all about sales and marketing.

  2. Bowlpack 01/31/2012 at 11:27 AM #

    Agreed. A move to the SEC while painful at first, would pay long term dividends in football. The argument against would come from the ACC purists about how that affects basketball. While the ACC is clearly pinned as a basketball conference, that is becoming a bit of a misnomer as we’re not the best conference in the land. So, where does that put NC State in terms of bball relevance in the SEC? I would argue that the simplistic view puts us near the top, but is there a recruiting disadvantage similar to the inverse of what would be happening in football? If the Pack is able to step up our presence nationally in both sports is this a moot point?

  3. StateFans 01/31/2012 at 11:32 AM #

    Hard to argue that being in the ACC helps our basketball recruiting when every ‘expert’ in the country tells us that playing Duke and Carolina is impossible and makes our job so tough.

  4. hoop 01/31/2012 at 11:39 AM #

    I agree StateFans. And I’m glad they point out we’ve beaten our rival 5 years in a row in football. In basketball, they way the national press says it, being on Tobacco Road is a liability in recruiting, not an asset.

  5. Wulfpack 01/31/2012 at 12:05 PM #

    I guess Paul Johnson and Tom O’Brien think they can do it their own way. To a certain extent, I suppose they are right.

    “there is zero chance of NC State going to the SEC.”

    What makes one so sure? You don’t think the SEC would be interested in moving into a state that has Raleigh and Charlotte as its major markets – two markets that are busting at the seams? I am not implying we are #1 on their list if they choose to expand, but I would posit that we are at least in the discussion. Frankly, I can think of a whole bunch of reasons why we would be considered as opposed to the contrary.

  6. TopTenPack 01/31/2012 at 12:15 PM #

    There is one thing not being discussed: The academic prestige of the ACC is greater than SEC. (Or am I smoking crack?)

    In my view, I would rather be loyal to tradition and history, and NC State remain in the ACC.

    There has been a sporadic beat from State Fans Nation about NC State joining the SEC. I would like to raise my hand and say that I am not for it.

  7. adriardi 01/31/2012 at 12:36 PM #

    I have to agree with TopTenPack. I extremely dislike the SEC as a conference specifically because they are not known for their academics or integrity when academics and sports are combined.

    I support State, but I would likely still root for an ACC school over any SEC school ever. Even if State was in the SEC.

  8. WolftownVA81 01/31/2012 at 12:56 PM #

    We should at least be willing to consider the option for if nothing else as a bargaining chip with the ACC to improved the areas we think need addressing (scheduling, refs, commish, etc.)

  9. StateFans 01/31/2012 at 1:12 PM #

    Academically…We would be one of the top 3 or 4 schools in The SEC and have a recruiting advantage for kids looking for a better education.

    In the ACC we generally rank 10th-12th academically.

    How is that a point for the ACC?

  10. wufpaxno1 01/31/2012 at 1:31 PM #

    At the risk of sounding harsh and with no intent of being disrespectful of other opinions, what are some of you smoking? The thought of NC State being asked to and even more considering joining the SEC is at best a pipe dream. Maybe what’s in that pipe is pretty good stuff, but it will never, ever, not in our lifetime happen. Not as long as the ACC exists as a conference. State is a charter member of the ACC and as such is not going anywhere short of the league disbanding. Sorry to be so critical, I love you all as brothers in red, but it is time for a reality check. NC State, SEC? Ain’t going to happen, period, end of story, so let’s move on to more relevant topics.

  11. newt 01/31/2012 at 1:36 PM #

    I never imagined that the ACC would include Fla St., Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse.

  12. MP 01/31/2012 at 1:37 PM #

    How is that a point for the SEC?

    Be an ‘academic leader’ of the SEC when we were an ‘academic anchor’ to the ACC? Big deal.

    Be a low-to-mid tier SEC team that theoretically can beat up on UNC every year? Big deal.

    The only good reason for NC State to go to the SEC is money. If the SEC makes an offer that the decision-makers can’t refuse, so be it. But as a fan and alumnus, I prefer to envision NC State improving both athletically and academically WITHIN the ACC. As a fan and alumnus, to wish for us to run to the SEC makes me think of schools like USC and ECU. I hope to think of NC State in better terms than that.

  13. triadwolf 01/31/2012 at 2:04 PM #

    Something not taken into account in those stats is that you have an institution down the street promising anything and lying to recruits. That doesn’t change.anything for the recruits leaving the state, but certainly has an impact on where the ones that stay choose to go.

  14. blpack 01/31/2012 at 2:12 PM #

    We aren’t moving, but we do need to think more in line of acting like a SEC program, without the academic looking the other way. Better marketing, harder recruiting, a younger staff, selling the city, university and program more. We have a SEC atmosphere with smaller numbers on Saturday afternoons. Now we need to decide what we want the vision of the program to be. I think a lot of people would be happy if we were like VT. That would take a major commitment.

  15. Wufpacker 01/31/2012 at 2:22 PM #

    Years ago, I would have laughed if someone had suggested to me that the conference landscape would have changed so drastically. For that reason I’ll not be one to state that there’s zero chance of a move to the SEC. Frankly, I haven’t a clue what those chances are, but history says it ain’t zero.

    I would have mixed feelings if it were to actually happen. But if those that know more about such things than myself were to conclude that it would benefit NC State to make such a move, frankly I’d be upset if they didn’t do it.

  16. Hungwolf 01/31/2012 at 2:32 PM #

    Does not matter what conference we are in, as long as UNC-Cheat on our schedule the media will always run our recruiting down. They chasitzed Amato and he was an easy target as he didn’t handle the media well. Funny how ESPN makes a point of saying “since Amato” cause as I remember when he was here, all the media could say was Amato recrutied Florida kids.

    Then today FRONT Page on sports Section in Charlotte Observer is article on how great Fedora and UNC recruiting is going. TOB has a better recruiting class yet no mention about how great NCSU is doing. Fedora basically gets one kid to switch to UNC from NCSU clearly promising he might start as freshman (wonder how renner feeling about the new staff?). No mention the kid switched AFTER it was announced NCSU had landed a prized QB transfer. And you would think by the article Fedora was doing some Mack Brown recruiting, when in reality besides Summers his recruits were pretty much committs to Non-BCS football schools.

    To me media has more to do with NC recruits going to schools other than NCSU more than anything else. Where else in the country do area media outlets have such negative coverage of local schools?

  17. Hungwolf 01/31/2012 at 2:41 PM #

    And as long as I am on my soap box. Fowler screwed up a good thing by not continuing to play a game in Charlotte to keep us in the eye of recruits in what is now a very fertile recruiting area of the state’s top talent and top high school teams. Instead schools like Va Tech and South Carolina coming to Charlotte and play, and they taking recruits out of the state. Les Robinson had the foresight to see that, Fowler was a dubass, maybe Yow can get it going again.

  18. Alpha Wolf 01/31/2012 at 3:17 PM #


    Who do you propose that NC State play in Charlotte?

    UNC? SoCar? Another conference foe? Or one of those enticing FBS matchups?

    If you take away what would be a home game normally, how do you propose to appease the LTR owning season ticket holders…aka Wolfpack Club members?

  19. sundropdrinker13 01/31/2012 at 3:53 PM #

    adriardi Says:
    January 31st, 2012 at 12:36 pm
    I have to agree with TopTenPack. I extremely dislike the SEC as a conference specifically because they are not known for their academics or integrity when academics and sports are combined.

    I support State, but I would likely still root for an ACC school over any SEC school ever. Even if State was in the SEC.

    UNC, Miami, GT, Clemson… Academics and sports violations. So what’s the difference? Different conferences, that’s what. Oh, and the other teams that had the violations in the SEC actually won, while the others…. not so much.

  20. RedandWhite97 01/31/2012 at 4:03 PM #

    I’m warming to the idea of NCSU in the SEC:


    I’d miss our rivalries in the ACC, but Clemson and FSU are a big part of what I’d miss. If they go to B12 and all that’s left is the NC schools, UVa and UMd…..ugh (GT, too I suppose). Besides, if CU/FSU go to the B12, it’s just a matter of time before GT and UMd go to the B10. If all this does happens and we could get a seat at the SEC table, we certainly will be in the more stable conference of any of those (B12, B10 and of course the ACC), imo.

  21. Hungwolf 01/31/2012 at 4:04 PM #

    Alpha wolf. Gamecocks and Hokies both played ECU in Charlotte. Packed the stadium, gamecock and hokie fans all over the town.

    If we can go to atlanta and play an SEC team, no reason we can’t go to Charlotte and play a non-conference game some years. And we don’t have to lose a home game to do it.

  22. jljones 01/31/2012 at 4:06 PM #

    State being admitted to the SEC would only insure a dismal record every year under our current coaches. We need someone that can recruit instead of taking leftovers. Listen to the kids—in almost every case they credit their confidence in the coach whow recruited them as the reason for selecting the university more than the university. We will be stuck with “leftovers’ as long as TOB is the coach. Look at Clemson with a NEW UNTESTED coach—2 years in a row with a top 10 class compared to our class of around 50 or worse. TOB is a bottom feeder on the recruiting trail–an absolute laugh with other schools. I think he and his staff have no DRIVE.

  23. adriardi 01/31/2012 at 4:15 PM #

    @sundropdrinker13 The SEC is the dirtiest conference out there in football.


    The ACC also has quite a few, but 5 major infractions is a big difference.
    And this is only what is caught.
    Not everyone cares about this, which is understandable, but I’m just saying it rubs me the wrong way, enough not to want to be a part of the SEC.

  24. lawful 01/31/2012 at 4:18 PM #

    Since when did academics have anything to do with football?

  25. adriardi 01/31/2012 at 4:22 PM #

    Because I care about the academic integrity of the conference I’m supporting. A lot more ACC schools are clean than SEC schools, and the ACC is a better academic conference to begin with. And like I said, I know not everyone cares about this.

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