NC State is having a productive football recruiting cycle this year, and as it stands now, this would be the highest-ranked class of the Dave Doeren era. The Wolfpack class currently stands at No. 23 in the 247Sports Composite rankings, which I consider the most reliable of the various team rankings.
Only three ACC schools have higher-ranked classes at this point. (You can probably guess which three.) If NC State can establish this is a recruiting baseline moving forward, Dave Doeren should begin to churn out eight-win years on a regular basis. That’s always a big if, though.
For some perspective on this current run of success, I went back and charted all of Doeren’s recruiting classes at NC State, excluding the 2013 signing class, which wasn’t really his. (Given that he was hired three months prior to signing day.)
Based on each class’ finish in the 247 rankings, here’s how it looks:
Doeren’s staff hadn’t established a reputation yet, but they were able to sell playing time as they overhauled Tom O’Brien’s barren roster, which helped in those first two years. Context is always important in these things, too: Doeren’s first class was also huge, which pushed it up the rankings. His 2017 class, conversely, was relatively small, and without a lot of star power that’s gonna drop you in the class ranks.
Over the last year-and-a-half, we’ve seen some concrete progress, where winning on the field coupled with staff continuity and a growing reputation for player development have come together to start getting the attention of more talented high school prospects.
The winning part will need to continue, but Doeren’s staff has built a lot of trust on the recruiting trail—this past NFL Draft certainly helped—which is significant. Those guys are the primary reason to believe that State can continue to recruit at a top-25ish level. If they can do that over a longer term (4-5 years), we’ll be on to something.