If you haven't noticed, there's a bit of a gap in talent in the ACC's Atlantic Division. This gap is, um, not closing. It's reverse closing. What's the opposite word for closing? You know what, let's not worry about it.
Florida State finished this recruiting cycle with the second-ranked class, per the 247Sports composite. Clemson's class ranked 10th. The next highest-ranked Atlantic school is Louisville, which checks in at No. 37. NC State is 49th.
There are a lot of moving parts in football, and player development plays a significant factor. But there's also no denying the base necessity of strong recruiting, however you'd like to define it. Recruiting rankings correlate with success on the field, because scouts hit more often than they miss, and when you're in the southeast in particular, there's nowhere to hide. Not many kids get overlooked, and recruiting misses are all the more magnified.
This is not an indictment of Dave Doeren's staff, it's just a lamentation for the difficult set of circumstances facing the Wolfpack. State will regularly out-recruit Wake, Syracuse, and Boston College, but it also has to fight with a couple of elite teams in FSU and Clemson that mercilessly poach North Carolina for talent (along with a number of SEC teams).
The most difficult job, for any coach in North Carolina, is keeping the best players home. Doeren and his staff have made inroads--they've done a much better job of securing talent from the Charlotte area, for instance--but it isn't making a substantial difference.
Turning things around on the recruiting front in football usually takes a lot of time. Coaches aren't usually afforded enough of it.