Feb 1 2012

2012 Recruiting Class

The 2012 recruiting cycle is in the books. If you want to check out the bios and videos of each NC State commit here is the GoPack Signing Day Central.

Another ho-hum recruiting class for the Pack that ranked 8th (Rivals), 9th (Scout), and 9th (ESPN) respectively in the ACC. Not too good if you plan on actually fulfilling the whole “Champions on the Football Field” part of the motto that we’ve been hearing from TOB since he arrived at State. I’ll go in-depth on my thoughts of the class later, but first here’s how TOB feels about it:

Jan 31 2012

National Signing Day Eve

Excitement … Anticipation … Disappointment … Hope … Satisfaction … Relief. Those nouns describe the roller coaster of emotions that little kids go through leading up to and through what they call the best day of the year … Christmas. For college football coaches it’s called National Signing Day, which falls tomorrow.

It’s a little different in that most of the recruits have already verbally committed, but there’s always some last minute surprises that make the day interesting. Even though most of the classes are already set, I’m sure that most coaching staffs in the country still sit anxiously around the fax machines waiting for the National Letter of Intents to come in making it official.

Recruiting has become it’s own sport within college football. John Brandon of Grantland.com put it best, “Only a good winemaker can make good wine, but nobody can make good wine out of bad grapes.” DFCF’s translation, you can’t win if you don’t have good players. TOB recently sat down and chatted with college football recruiting guru Tom Lemming about his recruiting philosophies. Here’s the video:

TOB has never been a great recruiter, which listening to him talk is pretty understandable. He continues the “champions on the football field” mantra, but it’s hard to win championships when you’re finishing in the bottom half of your conference in the recruiting rankings year after year. I’ll discuss that in more detail and talk about the commits that I’m the most excited about tomorrow after TOB’s presser. In the meantime, here’s a good NC State Signing Day Snapshot by the guys over at ACC Sports Journal.

Feb 8 2011

2011 Recruiting Class

Last week was National Signing Day.  Across most of the South this is a pseudo holiday.  I know back when I was a student at State I would always skip class to sit in my dorm/apartment and track our recruiting class all day.  Of course back then we were bringing in much higher rated classes (one top 10 and three straight top 25’s) than we are nowadays.  Some of that is due to our coaching staff’s recruiting philosophies (they’d rather not battle against the big boys) and some of it is due to our coaches’ personalities not resonating that well with young elite Southern athletes.  Anyway lets get to the breakdown of the 2011 recruiting class.

A lot of NC State websites and blogs have sugar coated this class, but I’m going to be blunt … it’s not very good.  Rivals.com had it ranked dead last in the ACC and Scout.com had it ranked only ahead of Wake Forest in the ACC.  When one of your goals is to compete for conference championships it’s never a good thing to be last at anything unless your talking about the quantity of hit pieces written about you by the N&O’s resident buffoon Barry Saunders.  A lot of people discredit the recruiting rankings, and I’ll admit they are not the be-all end-all, but they do tell a lot.  If you don’t believe me just check out the four part recruiting series by the Yahoo! Sports Dr. Saturday college football blog (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4).

Another red flag about this class was that it was highlighted by a kicker, punter, and long snapper. Don’t get me wrong good special teams play is critical to a team’s success, but it’s not a good thing when your recruiting class is highlighted by 3 specialists.  Most college kickers, punters, and long snappers are walk-ons for a reason.  Remember the last highly recruited kicker we signed?  Yeah, that didn’t turn out so well.

Forget about rankings and specialists, though, we missed on a lot of our primary targets.  What makes a mediocre class even worse is not getting your main guys and having to fall back to your second and third options.  Having said all that I’m not going to totally blast all the recruits we signed.  They are going to be the Wolfpackers that we’ll all be rooting on for the next 4-5 years, but this class seems to be void of any future superstars.

Of course you never know when the next Stephen Tulloch, Manny Lawson, John McCargo, Russell Wilson, or Nate Irving (all rated 2 stars by at least one of the recruiting services) will turn up, but relying on a lot of sleepers is not the best way to go about it.  This group of guys does have good size and speed and most seem to be hard working, coachable kids so I have faith that most will turn into solid contributors.  I could talk about all the recruits individually, but I think it’s impossible to really know how they’ll all translate to the college game.  So I’m just going to take a shot at some of the ones I’m most excited about and give my non-expert opinion on them.

WR Hakeem Flowers (#8) … We lose our top 3 WRs from last year so we had a big need here to restock our arsenal.  We stole Flowers away from Michigan late in the recruiting process after Rich Rodriguez was fired.  He’s a tall, speedy, possession receiver that runs great routes so he could turn out to be the focal point of the offense in the future.  Also a high school track star that won his region last year in the 100-meter and 2oo-meter.  Compares to Jerricho Cotchery.

DT Ty McGill (#9) … His recruitment didn’t pick up until late in the process due to concerns over his grades.  This caused him to fly under the radar a little so he’s my pick for the sleeper of this class.  He’s slightly undersized for an interior defensive lineman, but he’ll make up for that with his quickness.  Was a team captain on both his high school football and basketball teams.  Compares to Alan-Michael Cash.

S Rodman Noel (#2) … A big fast safety with a lot of athleticism that should be a great fit in our defensive system.  The highest rated recruit of the class.  We have a lot of depth in the secondary, but he attended prep school this past year so he could come in and make an impact right away if needed.  Originally committed to Maryland, but changed his commitment after Ralph Friedgen was fired.  Could eventually move to LB.  Compares to LeRue Rumph.

DE/LB Mike Rose (#6) … He’s an All-Region sprinter on his high school track team so he’ll give us great speed off the edge, but he needs to bulk up some to reach his full football potential.  Originally committed to Wake Forest, but changed his mind because he felt State was the “right choice” and he wanted to “play big-time football.”  Compares to Manny Lawson.

Feb 12 2010

Tenuta Fever

I’ve been working on ideas for some fun articles (State of the Program, my fix to the BCS, Spring Practice preview, etc.) to write over the next few weeks since news comes to a standstill after National Signing Day, but with all the news happening in the Wolfpack Football program this week those articles are going to have to wait.

First, LB coach Andy McCollum left to be closer to home at Georgia Tech.  He will be the DL coach and recruiting coordinator for the reigning ACC champs.  Coach Mac was a good fundamental coach, but his presence will be missed the most when it comes to recruiting.  The high school recruits are just magnetized by his cool, enthusiastic, fiery personality.  He is the guy most responsible for the influx of players the Wolfpack program has experienced over the past three years from the talent rich state of Georgia.

Second, TOB wasted no time in hiring Jon Tenuta (bio) to replace Coach Mac as LB coach.  I haven’t been able to confirm, but it happened so quickly that I have a good feeling TOB knew Coach Mac was leaving for a while and already had this plan in place.  Tenuta has the credentials (29 years experience, 16 as a defensive coordinator, 5 straight top 30 defenses at Georgia Tech, coached a lot of NFL players, etc.), has always been a thorn in the side of Wolfpack offenses, and was more than likely TOB’s top choice so I would have to say this is a pretty good hire.

Tenuta fever is definitely reaching pandemic levels in Wolfpack Nation, but I’m not gaga over this like some that have proclaimed it as a “walk off grand slam!”  Tenuta was the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame this past season and they were absolutely atrocious (397.8 ypg, 25.9 ppg) so put me in the undecided category for now.  We have tons of fundamental flaws on defense that need a lot more than a new zone blitz scheme to be fixed.  I want to wait and see the product on the field, but come Fall, I can be converted faster than warp speed.

Feb 3 2010

Wishing Upon Some Stars

Well 2010 National Signing Day has come and gone.  It was a pretty routine day around the Murphy Center.  No surprises, good or bad.  My take: there are a few guys that really impress me, but overall it’s a lot of average.  I will admit it’s a little crazy ranking the classes 7 months before these guys ever play their first game, but if you think the rankings don’t matter then you’re a little naive.

There’s a bunch of different recruiting services that release rankings, so I averaged the rankings from Rivals, Scout, and ESPN to come up with a consensus ranking.  Let’s look at the consensus Top 10 classes in order:  Florida, Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma, USC (sorry Cock fans … this is the real USC), LSU, UCLA, Florida State, and Penn State.  That list reads like a Who’s Who of college football programs.  It includes the last seven national champions and eight of them show up in the top 14 on the Top 25 College Programs of the Decade list put together by my buddies over at Frumpzilla (one of my college roomies and half my fantasy football league keep that site running so show them some love).  It’s a lot easier to win when you have the best players so let’s all just agree that the rankings do matter.

Speaking of rankings let’s get back to the Wolfpack’s class.  The recruiting gurus have it as the 6th or 7th best class … in the ACC.  I guess that is better than where we’ve finished in the actual league standings during the TOB era.  I just expect better than that, especially with our passionate fan base and the best facilities in the ACC (per ESPN).  We did get a few guys that I’m really excited about (shown in the picture below) including one BIG time pickup, literally.

The six guys I'm most excited about.

The jewel of the class is OL Rob Crisp (6’7″ 299lb.) out of Raleigh.  He was rated one of the best players, regardless of position, in the country and should man the LT spot for the next four years.  Two others that have me excited are DB’s David Amerson and Dontae Johnson.  Hopefully they can step in immediately next year and help solve the massive problems we had in the secondary this past year.  The final three I can’t wait to see in the Red and White are WR’s Tony Creecy and Bryan Underwood, and RB Mustafa Greene.  You can never have too many speedy playmakers and I think these three will fit that mold for the Pack.  I’m sure there will be a really good player or two come out of the rest of the class, but these are the six that have me looking to the future with hope and anticipation.

To these six and all the other new Wolfpackers (click here for bios) … welcome to the family!  You made the best decision of your life (I’m not biased at all).  To TOB, take a day to do your honey do’s, then start working on next year’s class.  GO PACK!

Feb 3 2010

2010 National Signing Day

As I’m writing this I’m watching Spike’s new sitcom about college football called Blue Mountain State. The show’s actually pretty lame and it has ten times more partying and sexual innuendos than football, but I miss college football that bad and it’s all I have so I watch anyway.

Today is a big day… National Signing Day. Yay! I remember back when I was in college I would skip class, stay at my apartment, and follow the recruiting stuff all day. I promise you it was better than sitting through boring lectures that you couldn’t understand by foreign professors. Of course, that was when we had one top 10 class and several top 25 classes. At the time NSD was my second most anticipated day of the year (after Christmas). Nowadays it’s just a formality. (Edit: NSD is my third most anticipated day of the year … stupid me forgot about opening day of the season … that surpasses Christmas as #1)

TOB likes to have his classes finished each year by New Year’s Day so there’s little drama and anticipation leading up to actual National Signing Day for the Pack. That is as long as we don’t have any last minute deflections. I always worry about these 18 year old high school kids and their “commitments” that seem to change every few days. Recruiting seems to get crazier and crazier every year. I do think it’s time for the NCAA to really look into creating an early signing period in the fall to help ease the stress on these college coaches. We don’t want Urban Meyer having a panic attack, stroke, and/or heart attack do we? Well … I won’t answer that question.

This is the sixth National Signing Day since I graduated from State and started working and believe it or not I haven’t called in sick to work for any of them. Honestly. Boy Scouts’ honor. That’s mostly because I’ve been out of the office at a job site for five of the six. WTF? It just always seems to work out that way. I try like heck to work my schedule around it too. I had it all set up this year to be in the office, but thanks to the snow/ice storm over the weekend my plans got changed. If I wasn’t tired of this cold weather before I definitely am now.

If I was in the office it would be no different than back in college. I would be on the internet all day and get little to no work done. All I can say is thank God for the iPhone. Now I’ll just be reading the internet while driving down the road. Seems like a bad idea, huh? Hopefully that fax machine in the Murphy Center will be busy early in the morning and done by lunch time so I won’t be refreshing waiting on that last Letter of Intent to come in. I’ll chime in with my specific thoughts on the class after everything becomes official later today. For any of you undecided recruits out there (*cough* Keenan Allen *cough*) don’t be a loser, come run with the Pack!

I think I may have just pulled a Lane Kiffin (a.k.a. secondary recruiting violation) by discussing an uncommitted recruit. Oh screw it. Let the NCAA come after me. That is way more important than finishing up the Reggie Bush investigation, right?

Jan 25 2010

Breaking News

After reporting this I might have my NC State superfan card revoked, but it looks like I will not be attending the Kay Yow Spring Game on April 17th.  I petitioned TOB to push it back a week, but he’s a tough dude to negotiate with.  I will have internet access that day … at least I think so … so I just need somebody to take a video camera and live stream it on the world wide web.  I’m not joking.  GoPack does do that right?

I almost feel sick to my stomach, but an opportunity came along that I just can’t pass up.  Or should I say if I were to pass it up Mrs. DFCF just might kick my ass.  That is my birthday weekend so I’ll be another year older, but if you’re hoping for another year wiser too don’t hold your breath.  I will still follow Spring Practice closely and give my unbridled, insightful commentary.  Also National Signing Day is a little over a week away (February 3rd to be exact for all you lame people that don’t follow recruiting 24/7 … oops, I probably shouldn’t be calling my readers names huh? … oh well) and I will have a few posts on that as well.

I’m trying to come up with a cool, catchy sign-off like Adam Carolla’s “Mahalo!” but just can’t seem to come up with anything.  I’ve thought of the wolf howl, but how in the world do you type that … Ow-Ow-Oooowwww!  It sounds cool, but doesn’t look so cool written out.  Oh well, back to the drawing board.