Impact on recruiting: N.C. State

ECU will set sail to Raleigh this weekend to face in-state rival N.C State. Inside ECU Sports has a look at what a second win against an ACC opponent would do for recruiting moving forward.

It's no secret that when it comes to landing big-time recruits, ECU has always fallen to the way side of in-state schools who belong to the ACC (UNC Chapel Hill, Duke and N.C. State).

This weekend, the Pirates have a chance to take another shot at changing this trend. With a struggling Wolfpack (3-7) that hasn't won a game since September, ECU has a rare opportunity to get its second win against an ACC squad this season.

A handful of 2014 recruits have chosen N.C. State over the Pirates in the past couple of months and ECU has a chance to make those recruits sweat about passing on the Pirates.

ECU recruiting coordinator and inside receivers coach Donnie Kirkpatrick oversees a majority of the recruitment process. He knows of the trend and how important a win Saturday would be moving forward.

"I think it would be huge, I really do," said Kirkpatrick. "It will give us some validity and respect with the in-state talent. It could go a little further than that too, I don't know about nationally, but I know it will go into South Carolina and Virginia because (N.C. State) is in a BCS conference, which everyone talks about on television."

The last time these teams met was inside of Dowdy-Ficklen in 2010 when ECU won in overtime on a game-sealing interception from (then freshman, now senior) safety Damon Magazu. The final score was 33-27 Pirates.

Despite that win over the Wolfpack, ECU has yet to see a bevy of recruits choose to come to Greenville over Raleigh. That could change with a blowout or decisive win this time around.

"We need to show that we can compete with these types of schools and that we play good football here," said Kirkpatrick. "That's what the kids want."

One way a program can entice recruits to attend its school is through visits to campus. Whether it be official or unofficial, getting a recruit to campus could make or break a commitment.

Last week during ECU's 63-14 routing of UAB, the Pirates earned their fifteenth commit for the 2014 class.

6-foot-7, 290-pound Hardaway (Columbus, Ga.) offensive tackle Desmond Barmore committed to the Pirates and head coach Ruffin McNeill personally just prior to kickoff. Kirkpatrick is relieved to have him on board.

"With Barmore it was an unofficial visit," said Kirkpatrick. "It wasn't a come and stay with us paying for anything type deal. He was just able to get one of his coaches to bring him up. We've been trying all year to have him up here to see the game day experience. Obviously he enjoyed it, Coach (Ruffin) McNeill did a great job and the kid was ready to come here."

Barmore's commitment was expected after a solid visit – he nearly committed to the Pirates back in July.

Kirkpatrick mentioned a lot goes into making the process appealing for recruits, but the main thing is persistence.

"We don't strictly concentrate on trying to get many official visits during game day," said Kirkpatrick. "The coaches don't really have enough time to normally spend with the kids, but you obviously want to get them on campus at least five or six times with game days obviously being the best day to have them here."

ECU has a chance to gain momentum in the recruiting game with a win against N.C. State Saturday in that it will be the second ACC team the Pirates have beaten this season – UNC Chapel Hill was the first. Another blowout win should stir the pot so to speak.


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