Most coaches will tell you they don’t pay attention to rankings, stars or recruiting services.
NC State coach Dave Doeren is not among them.
Doeren, who reeled in the No. 38 class in the country according to ESPN.com, knows where his players stack up in the eyes of the nation’s largest recruiting outlets -- and he knows this is a good class.
“We think we’ve got a great class,” he said on Thursday. “You have to validate that now with Rivals, Scout and ESPN, but 27 of the 33 kids were ranked in the top 100 at their position by one of those services. Fifteen were in the top 50, seven were in the top 25, and three were in the top 10, so we feel like there’s validation on the quality, not just the quantity of the class.”
What a difference a year can make.
In 2013, the newly hired Doeren had just about a month to cobble together his class -- a group that was ranked No. 66 in the country according to ESPN.com. Now, after an entire year to put together his first full class, the program should receive a boost from its depth and quality -- and some consistency at the quarterback position. While it’s still a very young program, Doeren said he is confident that this group will go a long way towards getting NC State back on track after last year’s 3-9 last-place finish in the Atlantic Division.
“We had a lot of needs, obviously, having the year we had,” Doeren said. “We wanted to add depth and competition to our roster and we’ve done that across the board.”
One of the biggest priorities was adding some depth at the line of scrimmage -- an area that hurt the Pack offensively last year, and needed to reload defensively. The staff added five offensive linemen and six defensive linemen, including the prize of the class, four-star defensive end Kentavius Street. Doeren also got his top target at quarterback, Jalan McClendon, a four-star pocket passer ranked No. 20 in the country at his position. McClendon is the heir apparent to former Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett.
“With Jacoby being our guy this year, we wanted to find a guy who was similar to him,” Doeren said. “Jacoby is a big guy who can throw, and he can run. He’s probably a 4.7 (40-yard dash) type guy. We wanted a guy similar to him so that if there was any reason he wasn’t in the game, we won’t have to change our offense. That’s what Jalan was, another tall guy who can run and has similar leadership characteristics. Hopefully [Jacoby] is our guy here for the next two years, and Jalen walks in right behind him and we can just keep building around that kind of player.”
And this entire recruiting class.