High Schools

Stevens: Notre Dame may draw in-state recruits

tstevens@newsobserver.comSeptember 24, 2012 

Notre Dame’s football arrangement with the ACC might make it a little easier for North Carolina high school football standouts to accept Irish scholarship offers. Not that North Carolina’s best need another reason to go to an out-of-state school.

College football powers all over the country pick up North Carolina players like ripening tomatoes at the farmer’s market.

It is hard to imagine a higher percentage of North Carolina’s best players leaving the state because so many already do.

Tarboro’s Todd Gurley and Millbrook’s Keith Marshall have gotten off to fine starts as freshmen at Georgia. The temptation is to picture them contributing somewhere in the state.

Gurley and Marshall, like a majority of North Carolina’s top high school football talent, left the state for college. The Class of 2013 is fairly typical in that three of the top four players in the state already are committed elsewhere.

Bags are packed

Richmond County offensive guard Tyrone Crowder, ranked No. 1 in the state by scout.com, is down to Florida, Georgia, Stanford and North Carolina, but the next three players on the scout.com list already have their bags packed.

Matthews Butler linebacker Peter Kalambayi is headed to Stanford; former Durham Hillside tight end Josh McNeil, now at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave, is Alabama-bound; and Charlotte Vance linebacker Larenz Bryant is committed to South Carolina.

Scout.com has three others in the state ranked as four-star players.

Hope Mills South View tackle Greg Gilmore and Charlotte Mallard Creek receiver Marquez North are uncommitted and are attracting offers from all over the country. Charlotte Christian safety Desmond Lawrence has committed to North Carolina.

Of scout.com’s top 20 in North Carolina, five are committed to in-state schools, eight are committed to out-of-state schools and seven are undecided.

Recruit rankings

Signing the top players may be overrated, as Wake Forest demonstrated with its 28-27 victory against North Carolina this season. An ACC Sports Journal analysis gives insight into what can happen to a recruiting class.

In 2009, when a majority of this year’s college seniors graduated from high school, North Carolina’s class was ranked No. 6 in the country by scout.com. The 29-man class was considered to be the ACC’s finest.

Wake Forest’s 22-man group was judged as next to last in the ACC, and was rated No. 56 in the country. Wake Forest still has 19 of the 22 players it signed in 2009. Nine are starters.

Seventeen of the 29 players signed by North Carolina in 2009 are not on this year’s roster. Among the other 12, seven start.

One of the most overlooked factors in recruiting success is landing players who will stay in school long enough to contribute.

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