There's no doubt NC State head coach Dave Doeren has had a full plate since arriving in Raleigh a little over a week ago. In addition to getting to know his team, he's also had to go about hiring a staff. On top of that he arrives at State with roughly eight weeks left before signing day.
Pack Pride takes a look at five of the biggest recruiting challenges he will face over the next two months.
SOLIDIFY THE CLASS
There's good news and bad news for newly-hired NC State head coach Dave Doeren on the recruiting trail.
The good news is 90% of the 2013 class is already filled with the lion's share of those being committed to the Wolfpack for the last five months. Many of these players have been set on Raleigh for an extended period of time so most will only want to know their offer will be honored to remain firm with the Pack.
There are, however, a few question marks and those will require a little more work if Doeren hopes to keep them in the Wolfpack's corner. LB Jerod Fernandez, WR Ky Priester and RB Matt Dayes have all expressed an interest in visiting other schools with Dayes being the only one who has flat out announced that he has decommitted.
The difficulty here lies with the fact that each of these players has already officially visited State so any future visit to Raleigh will have to be funded by the player himself. With all three residing in Florida, that could be a tough feat for State to pull off.
Furthermore, all three were very close to their recruiting coach at State and that could make things even more dicey for coach Doeren headed forward. Once his staff is in place, look for Doeren to make these three a huge priority with in-homes visits playing a crucial role for the Pack in the days to come.
LAND A QUARTERBACK (OR TWO)
Even before the firing of Tom O'Brien, landing a quarterback or two in the class of 2013 was probably the biggest need NC State faced. Ideally the Pack hoped to land JUCO QB Jake Waters and Winter Park (FL) signal caller Asiantii Woulard. Waters was at Kansas State this past weekend and we feel State is all but out of the running for him. Woulard is a different story, however.
Interestingly NC State put OL coach Jim Bridge in charge of Woulard's recruitment which could give some hints as to Bridge's future in Raleigh. Based on Doeren's fondness of the dual-threat quarterback, Woulard would appear to be the perfect fit for an offense that loves to use the QB as the focal point. The question may be whether Woulard decides if he wants to play in a spread or a more pro-style attack.
Woulard has already made his official visit to State and every indication was he likely was going to end up in Raleigh prior to the coaching change. Like mentioned earlier, future in-home visits with Doeren and his offensive coordinator will be the difference maker with Woulard.
Doeren won't be able to put all his eggs in one basket and another player that may figure into his plans is Alpharetta (GA) QB Josh Dobbs. He was a guy that had suggested an interest in visiting State and the Pack is doing all they can to get him on campus. Dobbs has yet to visit the Pack which could mean good things if they're able to convince him to make the trip. He is currently committed to Arizona State.
If things don't work out with these two, you can definitely expect some new names to surface. State simply can't afford to go into the 2013 season with just two scholarship quarterbacks.
GETTING FAMILIAR WITH THE LANDSCAPE
One of the bigger challenges coach Doeren will face in the coming weeks will be familiarizing himself with North Carolina and the recruiting landscape across the state.
Historically the Charlotte area, Winston-Salem and Greensboro, Fayetteville, the Triangle area and the southeast coastal region have been the five recruiting hot spots in the state.
For Doeren, he'll be starting with a clean slate. He's never recruited North Carolina previously so his initial tour across the state will be crucial for establishing ties with the state's high school coaches and administrators.
Typically the Pack has faced an uphill battle of sorts because of UNC's ties across North Carolina. This will be an obstacle (in certain areas) that he'll have to overcome but every early indication suggests he has the personality to get it done.
FILLING THE GAPS
there aren't many spots left to fill for the class of 2013 but the ones that do remain are crucial. Clearly, as mentioned previously, quarterback is the most pressing need. Beyond that, the Pack takes a big hit along the offensive line with the departures of Andrew Wallace, R.J. Mattes, Zach Allen and Camden Wentz.
Ideally, the Pack would probably like to bring in a junior college lineman and that looked promising early on with OL Desmond Harrison. However, he's likely to end up at Oklahoma or Texas unless State can work a miracle.
If Ky Priester opts for another school then wide receiver could become a little more important although State certainly isn't desperate here with three other players already committed for this spot.
State could also look to add another defensive lineman and they had a few on the radar previously. Again, landing additional players here isn't a necessity.
As the rest of the recruiting year unfolds, it's certainly possible that coach Doeren could decide to sit on a couple of scholarships if he feels he can't get the players he wants at certain positions. This would give him more to work with as he turns his attention to 2014- a class that he will have invested more time in which will give him more familiarity into their backgrounds and how they fit into his system.
JUMP-STARTING ON 2014
There's no time like the present to prepare for the future so coach Doeren's early stops across North Carolina will be huge as he launches into recruiting for the class of 2014. Already, he's extended some offers to current juniors and over the coming weeks he'll be laying the foundation for his initial junior day. This will be the first big recruiting event and it will be interesting to see what the early results are just judging by who attends.
With so much already completed for 2013, this should give Doeren and his staff a jump start on next year's class and while they'll be slightly behind some other schools, it shouldn't be anything they're not capable of overcoming.