NC State

NC State's Doeren delivers on recruiting promise

N.C. State coach Dave Doeren made his top priority in recruiting clear on his first official day on the job in December 2012.

At his introductory press conference, Doeren said it was "upsetting" to see "all the great players from the state of North Carolina" starring elsewhere.

"We will fight for every kid who we think belongs here," Doeren said then. "If we don't get one, it's not going to be for a lack of effort."

With his second full recruiting class, Doeren has made good on his initial promise. N.C. State has commitments from five of the top 11 players in the state of North Carolina, as ranked by Rivals.

Doeren was hired from Northern Illinois in part because of his 23-4 record but also primarily because of his recruiting pedigree as an assistant at Wisconsin and Kansas.

Last year's recruiting class, Doeren's first full class, was N.C. State's highest-ranked (No. 30 in the country by Rivals) since 2003.

This year's class, ranked No. 34 by Rivals, has the potential to be better because it has more top-end talent.

N.C. State's top five recruits - Greensboro running back Reggie Gallaspy, Lincolnton defensive tackle Darian Roseboro, Princeton running back Johnny Frasier, Durham offensive lineman Emanuel McGirt and Garner running back Nyheim Hines - are all rated as four-star prospects.

Rivals' database for in-state rankings dates to 2003. In the 11 classes from '03 to '13, N.C. State had never brought in more than three four-star in-state recruits in the same class.

This is the first time N.C. State has landed four of the top 10 in-state recruits in the same class - with Gallaspy at No. 11.

Like other talent evaluators, Rivals national scouting director Mike Farrell had grown accustomed to seeing the best in-state prospects leave North Carolina.

In 2011, '12 and '13, N.C. State didn't get any top-10 in-state recruits. It will have six in the past two classes, if all goes according to plan on Signing Day on Wednesday.

The quality of player in this class impresses Farrell but also the schools N.C. State beat for those top-end players. Farrell pointed out that Florida State, Ohio State, Penn State, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Michigan were all, in some combination, in pursuit of N.C. State's top targets.

"When you are beating schools like that, that's important," Farrell said. "(Doeren) is a very involved recruiter and he's educated on the ins and outs of these kids."

Doeren said the day he was hired the best way to keep the best recruits from leaving home was start early in the recruiting process. Hines got his first offer from N.C. State in May of his sophomore year at Garner, about five months after Doeren was hired.

Doeren also has been consistent in his recruiting pitch about giving freshmen the opportunity to play right away.

Hines' father, Darrin, knew off the top his head the number of freshmen that played for N.C. State during its 8-5 campaign in 2014.

"Fifteen," the elder Hines said.

That type of opportunity, and the honesty about it, resonated with Hines' father.

"We heard every pitch in the book, and N.C. State didn't sell a pitch," Hines said. "They told the truth. They made us believe, if you work hard, you're going to play no matter if you're a senior or freshman."

Persistence is another key to N.C. State's recruiting success. Hines' father said Wolfpack assistant Des Kitchings was the only coach at his son's regional track meet last year.

That persistence also paid off with Frasier, who earlier committed to Florida State, and Roseboro, who was originally committed to Michigan.

There's a fine line between "flipping" a recruit and badgering one after he's made a commitment.

"They're not persistently annoying," Farrell said. "They just stay in there and they're patient."

Doeren's early success is exactly what N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow had in mind when she made the coaching change after a disappointing yet successful 7-6 season in 2012.

Yow wanted more recruiting success in state and Doeren has quickly delivered. Yow recently called Doeren's recruiting results "impressive."

"Coach Doeren and his staff have recruited very well and they continue to gain even more momentum," Yow wrote in a text message this week. "I'm greatly encouraged with what he and his staff have achieved."

Of course, there's still room for improvement. Rival North Carolina has a higher rated class, No. 23 by Rivals, and scooped up the No. 1 in-state prospect (Clemmons defensive end Jalen Dalton) and six top 25 recruits in the state, one more than the Wolfpack's total.

There's also the matter of Atlantic Division powers Florida State and Clemson both ranking in the top 5 nationally.

Like on the field, N.C. State went from 3-9 in 2013 to 8-5 last season, recruiting progress takes time.

"They have a great class this year," Darrin Hines said. "And I'm thinking they'll have another great class next year. N.C. State really has a chance to be a powerhouse in the ACC, right up there with Florida State."

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