NC State coach Dave Doeren spent much of the last two seasons talking about how young his team was. This season, coming off a bowl appearance and with expectations high, Doeren continued to bemoan his team’s youth.
Early in his ACC Kickoff session with the media, Doeren pointed out that his roster was 70% freshmen and sophomores.
A certain ACC Sports Journal staffer drew the wrath of the Wolfpack on social media for poking fun at Doeren’s repeat message.
After giving the Wolfpack time to calm down, we decided to take a closer look at their claim.
It would make sense that a team’s roster would be skewed toward freshmen and sophomores. Transfers, injuries, disciplinary problems and a host of other issues will cause attrition during a recruiting class’s college career. It would be very difficult (and likely troubling for the immediate future) for a team’s roster to be heavily made up of seniors and juniors.
So, is NC State really 70% frosh and soph? And is that unusual? Or is Doeren’s “young” team really just an average-aged squad?
Using our scholarship charts from the ACC Sports Journal 2015 Football Annual, we added up the class sizes for the conference (and Notre Dame).
As expected, across the conference, only 36.6% of the players on ACC rosters are juniors or seniors.
In other words, the average ACC squad is 63.4% freshmen and sophomore. Not that much older than Doeren’s Wolfpack.
Still, Doeren has a point. NC State is one of the youngest teams in the conference.
The Pack are the second-youngest team in the conference, but youth doesn’t seem to be related to quality. The conference favorites: Clemson, FSU and Virginia Tech, are all slightly younger than average. Virginia is the oldest team in the conference by a wide margin, but no one expects the Cavs to dominate the league.
So, the verdict: Dave Doeren was telling the truth. His team *is* young this season. But the Pack is not significantly younger than most of the teams they’ll be playing. So, he gets no apology from us for our Twitter mockery.