I’m sure college coaches can imagine a lot of strange recruiting scenarios, but “you will spend an entire year recruiting from your office because of a pandemic” probably has never been among them. But that’s the reality that Dave Doeren and NC State faced this cycle, along with everybody else in college football.
During his signing day press conference this afternoon, Doeren was asked how much the results on the field this fall helped his recruiting, which led him after a bit to talking about some of the program’s challenges connecting with prospects with covid throwing everything for a loop:
How much has the season you’ve had helped the recruiting process?
It helps. Obviously, a lot of these kids were committed before the games even started. Some of them were in the middle of the season or later, but most of them weren’t. I think the biggest thing that it does is it helps you retain the guys that are committed.
When you have 15 or so guys commit early and then you don’t win, you tend to lose some of those guys. What it does is it strengthens that connection that they have to the school they want to play for, seeing that they’re going to win.
Like I’ve said to you guys before, the last four years we’ve finished in the top four in this league three times now. To show everybody that we’re back on the right train and right tracks with this program I think was important. It would’ve been great for us to have spring ball and fall camp for kids to come watch the changes to our system that took place. They had to wait until the games started.
In some cases, it didn’t matter. Guys were OK. In other cases, it probably hurt us. There were some players that we might have gotten that made decisions early because they couldn’t see what was going to change in our offense, how we were going to run it. And what was going to change in our defense, what would be different about it.
But, I think you could probably say that for every college out there. I do think the one thing that’s hard about this for us is that NC State, it’s a gem. It’s a beautiful place, and it’s in an incredible city. People didn’t get to see that as much. They didn’t get to see gameday when it’s just crazy in our stadium. Those are things that can help us down the road. Some of these guys have been here as underclassmen and already knew what the atmosphere was like. Some of them are looking at videos of it and kind of betting on that. It’s a unique time for everybody.
Doeren had a lot of praise for his recruiting staff—the people working behind the scenes to handle logistics, build relationships, and deliver that impressive video and graphic work that we see on social media. No doubt their roles were as pronounced as they’ve ever been.
As for the recruiting class itself, Doeren offers his thoughts on a number of State’s signees, including the story of the first time he saw Zyun Reeves, who is a latecomer to football.
While recruiting is basically finished in terms of recruiting high school prospects, NC State might not be done with the college transfer market. The NCAA granted a blanket waiver to all D-I transfers giving them immediate eligibility, so the spring semester might get a little wild.