This is supposed to be a dead period in football recruiting. With no official visits allowed to be taken, and coaches not allowed to conduct camps on campus one would think that there would be no recruiting news. Well, that has NOT been the reality of the situation. We are seeing more verbal commitments now than we did at this time last year. Which brings me to the theme of this post. NC State has an image problem.
We all know the numbers, NC State hasn’t won a championship in men’s revenue sports since 1987 (Men’s basketball ACC tournament champs) and hasn’t won an ACC divisional championship since 1979. NC State football has only had 1 season of 10+ wins (2003). NC State has never been to a New Year’s 6 bowl game. National media uses NC State as an example of mediocrity in big-time college sports.
This image was again put on display in the recruitment of 5 Star all-purpose back Will Shipley. Shipley committed to Clemson over Notre Dame, Stanford, and NC State. Shipley was a tailor-made recruit that NC State needed to land. I can hear some people asking me why would Shipley even consider NC State over those schools mentioned. Well, Shipley’s parents are NC State grads, they met at NC State. Shipley has 20 other family members who also graduated from NC State. He was brought to Carter-Finley to watch NC State games growing up.
In his interview, Shipley expressed the chance at winning a championship as being a major reason for committing to Clemson. Last week Nick McCloud announced that he was leaving NC State and going to Notre Dame as a grad transfer. In the interview, McCloud voiced the same desire to compete for a playoff spot. The perception is, those players felt that had to go to other programs to chase winning. And because of that perception, NC State is losing out on recruits.
Dave Doeren came in and loudly announced that NC State was a hand in the dirt development program. Which it is. Since 2018 NC State has produced 13 draft picks. 6 of those draft picks came along the defensive line. Why coaches are not going into kids living rooms and pitching Bradley Chubb, Kentavious Street, BJ Hill, Justin Jones, Larrell Muchison, and James Smith-Williams is beyond me. Maybe the coaches are pitching that, maybe kids see that if you go to NC State you can end up in the NFL. The question is if they are pitching that, why aren’t kids biting?
Again, I believe it goes to perception. UNC is really excelling in recruiting. They are doing very well on the defensive line. Why? Perception. UNC will always be the flagship university in the state of North Carolina. There will always be kids who see that argyle and Carolina blue and be attracted to go there. NC State needs to work at changing perceptions.
Maybe don’t allow Torry Smith to catch 14 passes for 224 yards and 4 TD’s in 2010. Maybe don’t allow a kickoff return to Deebo Samuel in Charlotte 2 years ago. Maybe don’t have your kicker miss a 33 yard field goal in OT against Clemson. Maybe don’t lose to a Wake Forest team that was hemorrhaging points before they came into Carter Finley on a Thursday night in 2018. Maybe don’t follow up back-to-back 9 win seasons with a woeful 4-8 season.
The perception is the meltdown against Maryland, the loss in Charlotte against South Carolina, and the loss to Wake Forest. It is the loss of big-time recruits like Will Shipley and Dexter Lawrence (who is from the Raleigh area). It is not the back-to-back 9 win seasons. It isn’t the 13 draft picks in 3 seasons. NC State is going to have to work hard to change the perception. As you can see, it isn’t like there weren’t opportunities to overcome perception. NC State just hasn’t…. Yet