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NC State is aiming for its first top-20 recruiting class in ... a while

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This year is not what one would call normal by State football recruiting standards.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Florida State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

With the addition of Shyheim Battle on Wednesday, NC State’s football recruiting momentum rolled forward, further establishing this as a breakthrough recruiting cycle both within the state and overall.

The Wolfpack’s recruiting class ranks 14th in the latest Rivals update, 20th in the 247Sports composite, and 21st over at ESPN, which apparently hasn’t been updated recently (I’m seeing only 17 verbals listed for State, which has 20).

NC State’s football recruiting hasn’t seen such lofty heights since the Chuck Amato era, when fancy sunglasses and bright red shoes ruled the day. Not so much the state, though.

Amato worked his recruiting connections in Florida relentlessly, which worked fine for a time, but it meant his success was never built on winning over the bulk of North Carolina’s best talent. In 2003, when Amato landed a top-10 class, 13 were from Florida, compared to nine from NC.

It doesn’t matter where the good players come from as long as they’re good, but if you’re two states removed from your best recruiting territory, your influence is going to fade over time.

That’s what is encouraging about what Dave Doeren’s staff has been doing over the last few years—not only building connections with good programs, but doing so with good local programs. It’s what’s different this time around and why this year’s success may be more substantial, if lacking some of the flash.

NC State probably will not end up with a top-20 class when this cycle is finished, and it definitely will not match that Amato-led peak in 2003, but when we re-assess the value of this recruiting cycle a few years down the road, after development and attrition have done their thing, we’ll probably feel good about it.