NC State coach Dave Doeren recently inked his first full recruiting class with the Wolfpack -- a 12-month task that was condensed into just six weeks for the newly-hired coach. Despite the late start and quick turnaround, Doeren said the 25-member class filled most of the program's recruiting needs. I caught up with Doeren on signing day to talk with him about putting his first class together. Here are the highlights of our conversation:
What was the process like for you because of the timing when you came in?
Dave Doeren: There was a lot of stuff that happened in a short period of time, when you’re multitasking about 1,000 miles an hour. Between hiring a staff, and reaching out to all of the high school coaches of the committed kids, plus the kids themselves and their families, and meeting your current roster, there’s a lot to do in a short period of time.
The first thing I did was call the kids and their coaches that were committed, and I knew were in good academic standing, and I let them know where we were at and what our intentions were. Some of them I was able to get a hold of faster than others. The second thing was go to bowl practices and watch these guys play for three or four days and then go to their bowl game. I wanted to see what the needs were of the class. Before I started offering scholarships to guys, I wanted to make sure I knew what the needs were. I felt like by the time I had been to the third or fourth bowl practice and after bowl game I had a really good feel for what we needed to try to find. The hard part for me, honestly, was a lot of the coaches I was hiring were coaching in BCS games in January. I was doing a lot of this by myself while those guys finished up the Orange Bowl or the Rose bowl.
What did you think the biggest needs were?
DD: Because of what I like to do on offense, I wanted to get more receivers. They only had six receivers on scholarship. We were able to get four or five guys, one of them being a transfer, Travares Copeland from West Virginia, who played as a true freshman there. They only had two tailbacks on scholarship, so we were able to get a couple of guys there. We wanted to get a few more quarterbacks. They had two quarterbacks on scholarship. For whatever reason those three position groups were not recruited from a depth standpoint the way you’d want. We were also able to get five defensive backs that I’m really excited about their length and speed, contact players as well. In a few years from now we’ll take a big hit in the secondary.
I know you guys are a pretty midwestern staff. Did you have to get to know your way around ACC country?
DD: Two of my hires were based on that. Des Kitching, who I retained, not only was big for the committed part of the class, but he’s from South Carolina, he played at Furman. He knows that state. And then Clayton White is an NC State grad from 40 minutes outside of Raleigh. Those two guys were my local guys I hired to help me. And coach [Dave] Huxtable has coached at Georgia Tech and UNC and obviously at Pitt and East Carolina, so he’s got a lot of relationships around here as well.
I know a lot has been made about Debbie Yow’s comments about recruiting. Do you feel any pressure to be bringing in four and five-star guys?
DD: Not because of her comments, no, but as a coach you always want to recruit the best players you can get. I don’t get hung up on stars as much as the boosters and people do. Sometimes they’re important because they’re really good, and sometimes they’re just not the right kind of personalities. I know at Wisconsin we were a team that was constantly ranked around 80th in the country in recruiting classes, and we went to the Rose Bowl all the time. You have to trust your ability to know your scheme and the developmental part of your program, and you also have to get a couple of players who are better than everybody else’s.