Dave Doeren's travels, chronicled earlier here, appear to be paying dividends in terms of keeping recruits that committed to Tom O'Brien's staff in the fold. Kyrin Priester, Jerod Fernandez, and Tylar Reagan have all publically proclaimed their commitment to the new staff, and Doeren and crew are actively trying to shore up glaring depth issues with new blood at quarterback and defensive tackle, positions that TOB failed to get any commitments from the in the class of 2013.
To date, Priester, a wide receiver out of Georgia, is N. C. State's top commitment according to Rivals and 247sports.com's rankings. The 6-2 target stated publically that he would explore his options if his position coach, Troy Walters, was not retained by the new staff, but an in-home from Doeren, offensive coordinator Matt Canada, and new wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson has him changing his tune. A de-commit from Georgia, Priester drew offers from a number of SEC schools.
In a recent article, Joe Giglio proclaimed Florida outside linebacker recruit Jerod Fernandez as one of State's top two recruits along with Priester. Fernandez scheduled a couple of visits after TOB's ouster, but he re-upped his commitment to run with the Pack after an in-home from Doeren.
Reagan, another Floridian who along with fellow lineman Cole Blankenship (who has already enrolled) and Priester are top 50 players nationally at their position, remained firm after an in-home from Mike Uremovich, his future position coach. The 6-5, 270-pound guard prospect had offers from three SEC schools.
After the previous staff missed out on, among others, local product Connor Mitch (USC-East) and JUCO dual threat Jake Waters (Kansas State), Doeren's toughest recruiting task is to address the glaring lack of depth at the quarterback position. Without a signal caller signing, the Wolfpack will enter the 2013 season with just two scholarship quarterbacks, sophomore Manny Stocker and Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas, who will be a junior.
The Wolfpack's top target, Asiantii Woulard, may be the top dual threat QB in the class, and he recently announced at the Army All-American Bowl that N. C. State is in his top three along with Kentucky and South Florida, the team he originally gave a verbal commitment to before reopening his recruitment. Woulard, who has already visited the Pack, will head to Lexington this weekend for his final visit before announcing his decision. The mobile 6-4 recruit would seem to be the perfect fit for Doeren's spread offense.
A possible backup plan should Woulard disappoint the Pack faithful is Hilton Head standout Michael Julian. The lanky 6-5 signal caller is being pursued by Gary Anderson, who offered him at Utah State and again after making the move to Wisconsin. The Badgers are the first BCS school to offer Julian (unless Boston College counts), but he might rather stay much closer to home if Doeren extends a scholarship opportunity.
On the other side of the ball, the Pack is hoping for a pledge from defensive tackle Kingsley Opara, who visits this weekend. Opara, a 6-4, 270-pounder from Florida, is a soft Maryland verbal but reopened his recruitment when the Terps announced they were leaving the ACC. Other potential options at tackle include Deadrin Senat and Kenton Gibbs. Senat, one of the most highly sought after line recruits in the nation, is noted as a good student and high character kid. He is also nimble despite packing over 300 pounds on his 6-1 frame. The 6-2, 277-pound Gibbs calls Detroit home and was being pursued heavily by Doeren before he left Northern Illinois.
Due to the rule that requires transfers to sit out a year, gaining a pledge from a transfer would not immediately address depth issues at quarterback, but perhaps the most interesting development on the recruiting front comes in the form of the news that Florida backup Jacoby Brissett is leaving the Gators for greener pastures (i.e. playing time). Rivals ranked Brissett as the #3 QB in his class out of high school, and the 6-5, 4.5-40 dual threat runner and passer had offers from the likes of Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, and Florida State. Now Brissett is considering West Virginia, Louisville, Arkansas, Duke, and, you guessed it, N. C. State. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Doeren's ability to keep most of the 2013 class solid has been impressive, and it will be interesting to see how he is able to further positively impact the future of Wolfpack football with the seven (or more, depending on possible defections from current players) scholarships that remain at his disposal during his limited recruiting window.