Head coach Dave Doeren is honest about the fact that NC State still has quite a bit of work to do to reach the heights of Florida State and Clemson in the ACC’s Atlantic Division — both on the field and in recruiting.
And while NCSU has rapidly improved its recruiting profile over the past couple of years under Doeren and his staff, the third-year Wolfpack head coach added that FSU and Clemson’s recruiting hasn’t exactly same slowed down over that same period of time.
“Not really,” Doreen said when asked if he felt the Wolfpack have gotten closer to FSU and Clemson over the past year. “I shouldn’t say not really. We’ve recruited well for two years, but so have they. So now it’s can we develop those guys better than they can develop theirs. That’s what it comes down to.”
NC State finished 35th in the Rivals.com national team rankings this past February, while Florida State came in No. 3, and Clemson No. 4. It’s certainly progress for NCSU compared to the disastrous last couple classes of the Tom O’Brien era.
NCSU’s subpar 2011 and 2012 classes under O’Brien contributed substantially to NC State’s struggles to win in 2013, and through a four-game rough patch in late September and October of the 2014 season before the Pack finished out with victories in four out of their final five contests.
Doeren pointed out the model of top 25 programs such as Wisconsin and Kansas State as schools that haven’t always had the top recruiting classes, but seem to make the most out of their personnel and find productive roles for players. Development is ultimately the key.
“We’re not going to have 20 4-star or 5-star guys in our signing classes,” Doeren replied. “It’s just not real yet. But we’re getting some real good players. We’ve just got to get the right guys that fit into our system, and then develop them better than the other teams are. That’s going to be the challenge. Two or three years from now, how did the 2014 and 2015 classes develop?”
“I think Wisconsin and Kansas State are great models of that. They take what they sign, and they turn it into top 25 teams. They’re not recruiting the same type of player that Ohio State is, but they’re signing players that are competing. And that’s what we have to be able to do. I think we’re better from a talent and competitive standpoint to play those two teams than we were two years ago.”
Two of the offensive newcomers from this past February’s resurgent NCSU signing class — running back Reggie Gallaspy and slot receiver/all-purpose back Nyheim Hines — have both put themselves in position to make an immediate impact for the Wolfpack this fall.
Gallaspy has impressed Doeren not only with his running skills, but with his impressive strength and weight lifting ability. And while NCSU returns preseason All-ACC running back Shadrach Thornton and junior Matt Dayes, Gallaspy figures to get a shot this fall as a key reserve in the Wolfpack backfield.
[callout2]“He’s tough. He runs behind his pads. He’s patient. He’s a hard-working kid,” Doeren said of Gallaspy. “I’ll tell you — he likes striking people. He was pretty robotic early on, but he’s very intelligent. He wants to do things right, and he thinks things through. As the spring went on, he got to be more and more reactive than he is. He’s a guy that can run and help us win. There’s good players out there with him, so we’ll have to see how it shapes up. But we love his skill set.”[/callout2]
When asked about Hines, who like Gallaspy enrolled in January and participated in spring practice, Doeren said, “Yeah, I think he could be in the slot. I think he could play our slot or our “Z” — both guys that we motion a lot, using the jet game, and catching the ball underneath and outside. He’s definitely going to be in space. There’s no doubt.”
Hines has a golden opportunity this fall to take some of the passes that were thrown last season to Bo Hines, NCSU’s leading receiver who transferred to Yale. With his speed and dynamic athleticism, the Wolfpack will certainly look to take advantage of Hines in his first collegiate season.