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NC State’s recruiting pipelines in the Dave Doeren era

Warning: there’s a map.

Troy v North Carolina State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Last weekend I had a gander at the overall recruiting progress that Dave Doeren has made since becoming the head coach at NC State, and now I’m going to have a look-see at where his recruits are coming from.

Pipelines! People talk a lot about pipelines in recruiting, although, somewhat confusingly, there is no plumbing involved whatsoever.

Every college staff has its recruiting go-tos, whether they be certain states, regions, or high schools. Very few college football programs have the cachet necessary to recruit on a truly national scale and most maintain a relatively small recruiting footprint. NC State is not an exception.

In the Doeren era*, NC State has signed 136 prospects, and 65 of them (48%) are in-state kids. The vast majority of State’s players have come from North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

(*I’m counting the 2014 signing class as the first of the Doeren era, since that was the first full recruiting cycle under his direction. I also included the current commits in the class of 2019.)

Doeren has signed at least one player from 17 different states. To illustrate this fact, I have spared no expense in producing a map:

If you only include the states from which NC State has gotten multiple players, the list shrinks to nine. Throw out Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, New York, Michigan, Ohio, DC, and Louisiana.

NC State’s southern pipelines

Of the 136 kids signed, 104 of them—76.5%—are from either North Carolina, Georgia, or Florida. One of the things I found interesting about State’s recruiting over the last six years is the lack of emphasis on the DMV—State has not signed a player from Maryland since 2014, has picked up only one from DC, and has signed a grand total of six prospects from Virginia.

State also hasn’t much bothered with South Carolina kids, signing only four of them over the last five recruiting cycles. State has signed more kids from New Jersey (6) than it has from South Carolina.

Pipelines within North Carolina

Not surprisingly, Doeren’s focus in North Carolina has been the major metropolitan areas. If we throw Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Clayton, Cary, and Garner into a “NC State Backyard” bucket, then 19 of the 65 in-state kids that Doeren has signed qualify as prospects right out of the neighborhood.

NC State has signed three kids apiece from Hillside High School in Durham and Heritage High School in Wake Forest, which lead the way for Raleigh-area schools. State has also signed two apiece from Sanderson, Wakefield, Southeast Raleigh, and Clayton High.

The Wolfpack also heavily stalks the Charlotte area, from which it has nabbed more than a dozen players over the last five years. That includes four players from Mallard Creek and three from Charlotte Christian. The Pack has signed at least one player from Charlotte in each of its last five recruiting classes.

Being located in the south is a luxury

If you are a power-conference program in the southeast, you don’t need to cast a wide net in recruiting, because there is lots of FBS-caliber talent within driving distance of you. Effectively recruiting that talent can be exceptionally difficult, mind you, but it is there. The kids you need to assemble a consistently winning program are all within a relatively short radius.

There’s no better example than the Pack’s current class, which is more heavily skewed toward in-state kids than any other in the last handful of years and also the highest-ranked to date.