PC: Doeren Discusses 2017 Recruiting Class

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media to discuss the 2017 recruiting class.

AUDIO: Dave Doeren Press Conference

Opening Statement:
The biggest thing for all of us... you can look at how many guys you get, ultimately it comes down to what kind of player, person, student... is that individual going to be in your program...

College football is a journey, and the price to be great is extreme...

I can't wait to get these newest Wolfpackers here on our campus and help them continue to grow as players...

We have in this senior class... we're losing quite a bit so you'll see a lot of defensive players when you look at the numbers...

We don't just try to build a team. Our goal is to build a program and every recruiting class is about adding competitive depth...

 Louis Acceus...
Very aggressive.  He was the player of the year in that area... his head coach played in the NFL with coach Ledford so we had a connection there.

Danny Blakeman...
Preferred walk-on from Leesville... 117 tackles and we've had a string of very good walk-on players who have earned scholarships from that high school.

Adam Boselli...
He played for Mark Brunell... I really like Adam's skillset, not just as a receiver. He's a blocker, finisher, and competitor.

His brother plays at Florida State and I'm looking forward to that rivalry with his brother.

Kevince Brown...
We love his length at 6'6, 240 pounds... he hasn't played a ton of football, but Winter Park is a very good program. You can see on the edge, he's similar to guys we're coaching now, long, athletic, quick-twitch.

Erin Collins...
He's from Armwood High, a great program. They have multiple players coming out of their backfield. Everyone down there praises Erin's playmaking ability out of the backfield.  This is a young man that will have the ability to potentially play early coming in at 200 pounds at running back and out of Armwood.

Dalton Counts...
From Garner, he played multiple positions and finished his career with 275 tackles.  He was a captain, his father, Eric, played Nose Guard at State.  Good football family and we're excited to bring him.

Cayman Czesak...
I love watching this guy's tape. Fundamentally sound, contact player.  171 tackles... also a team captain.

Damien Darden...
Tight end, also played some defensive line. He finished his career with 63 catches and 12 touchdowns. We had Damien in camp for a number of years... like his size and he's a guy who can play on the line of scrimmage but also shows a good skillset catching the ball.

Emeka Emezie...
He's a dynamic player. He has great size at 6'3 but has a lot of run after the catch ability. He was a captain as well... from the Charlotte area.

Josh Fedd-Jackson...
A teammate of Louis from St. Joe's; he can play tackle or guard. Very physical... demeanor-wise, I know coach Ledford is really excited about his toughness.  He's a really tough kid, strong and very well-coached.

Max Fisher...
Another tall, 6'3 target for us.  Both of these guys from a height standpoint show the ability to run after the catch.  He has range and can run with it after the catch.  

Charles Fletcher...
A preferred walk-on who had a great season from a great program.  We've had success there with Kentavius, and Fletcher's grandfather was a quarterback at Auburn.

Grant Gibson...
We've had a string of success at Mallard Creek. Grant's not just a great player, but he has great leadership ability.  He has the body to play early... we're excited about his leadership skills and what he brings to the table.  

Trenton Gill...
He's a kickoff guy who can do all three. He was 8-of-12 on field goals this year... he gives us a guy that can help in those areas and he has great length, which we like as a punter.  We can add him to the competition and he can provide depth behind A.J.

Chris Ingram...
A corner from Mooresville, we offered him a long time ago I think in the 9th grade after camp and we've known his family for a long time.  He had an interception in the Shrine Bowl... we've known this kid a long time.

Dante Johnson...
From Wekiva High School, he can play defensive end or defensive tackle.  I'm really excited about his upside.  A long guy that will continue to get bigger. 

Ibrahim Kante...
He's grown six inches in a year and was 5'11 about 12 months ago. He's a late-bloomer... he has a 6'11 wingspan. He spent a year in prep school because of his growth.  We're excited about what he'll bring.  He'll get in our strength program.

Xavier Lyas...
Durant High School... I just love his motor, energy, and passion.  He has great work ethic at 6'5. We love his potential and upside. I look forward to watching him grow up under the strength staff and older players.

Jessie Malit...
A cousin of Jack Tocho... he'll play linebacker and defensive end. Excellent student, and I'm excited about him coming here. We had him in camp this summer and he plans on majoring in Business Management.

Matt McKay...
He can really run. Watching him run this morning, I'm excited about his skillset. He doesn't turn 18 until October and he's still growing.  He has a tremendous upside.

Isaiah Moore...
Another team captain... we had him in camp. I enjoyed being around Isaiah. He has a great motor, great energy with a positive outlook on things he wants to do.

Damontay Rhem...
A preferred walk-on from Pembroke... he enrolled in January and he'll have to sit a year but will be on our roster and football team.  

Nakia Robinson...
A running back who can line up at receiver as well... very athletic, played tailback and corner in high school. Team captain. We liked his quickness, breakaway speed, and agility. He's a guy we can move in and out of the backfield.  

He was heavily recruited as a defensive back, but wants to play running back. We feel his skillset can give us a home-run guy back there.

Liam Ryan...
He came in January... he's a  Biology major who wants to be a physical therapist.

Raven Saunders...
Same high school as Jacoby Brissett and Shaun Boone... Raven did a great job as a senior.  He played outside linebacker coming off the edge.  He was first-team All-Area.

Bryson Speas...
Dudley High School, coach Davis does a great job there. Those kids are tough.  He had 47 pancakes as a senior. We're really excited about his length and coach Ledford loved his competitive spirit in camp. TO get a guy with his agility at left tackle is big for our class.

Antoine Thompson...
He was injured as a senior and had a great junior year... he was heavily recruited. He grew up playing with Erin Collins... Antoine is more of slot receiver in the mold of Bra'lon Cherry... real positive young man and looks good; this will be a big offseason for him.

Doeren on replacing seniors...
We have a lot of seniors on defense so we're losing those guys and don't want to be playing with true freshmen.. we like to rotate our front and play fresh guys so we wanted to have eight guys who can play.

We have two senior linebackers who have played a ton of football... having Pratt and Brock Miller come out of their redshirts helps the depth for this year but we'll lose two guys; having Riley Nicholson continue to develop we'll now have the competitive depth.

Do you feel this class you don't have to play right away?
Last year you saw that, we didn't play as many freshmen. There were a few like Kelvin who was so far along, but we're at a point with most positions where we can play that way.

Timeline on Thompson's injury...
He didn't play at all this season... he would be more than 12 months from his injury in August.

More on Gibson from Mallard Creek...
Coach Faulkner does a great job building relationships in Florida for us and we have a long-standing relationship with coach Palmieri.

We struck gold when we got here with JaySam and we've been able to add a player a year from there that's been good. You want to get the players from there who will be successful... we've been able to do that.

Do you sense the players are looking the same?
We've always wanted to target great football players.  If you look at the linebackers, they are built differently and move differently but all three are good tacklers who can move, are physical, and have good instincts.

Every position we recruit, other than kicker, the first thing you'll say is how tall is he.  You want to make sure if they aren't the right height, can they run, have long arms, and can separate.

Was there an emphasis on Florida?
Our staff recruits hard everywhere, but I do think we've had success with Florida kids at NC State, not just with our staff.  We have guys across the roster from Florida playing well and coach Amato had success down there so NC State isn't an unknown team.

Then you have coaches on our staff with connections... coach McDonald, coach Huxtable, coach Kitchings, coach Nielsen... there's been different guys going through there but it always helps when you have history of players being successful on your roster.

Emotions of signing day...
We have to worry more about the ones we get than the ones we don't. We're going to focus on what we have, not what we don't. The first thing you talk about in recruiting is relationships. Sometimes you can get really close with a young man and not get him, and it hurts.  That's frustrating, it's defeating, but you move on and go to the next player and continue to recruit.

Once you know he's not coming you move on... you want to coach guys who want to play for you at this school. Those are the guys you want more than anybody. 

There's a lot going on in recruiting... you have to find everybody in the woods and make sure nobody goes unspoken to.

With your quarterback being young how much can you project?
His upside is incredible because of his age and since he's committed to us, he's grown. He was 16 when he committed. He'll get bigger, and grow but one thing that's hard to coach is that burst and speed that he has at 6'4.  He can really run and we're excited to have him be in the room with Eli and learn from the experienced quarterbacks we have.  

How much did your success impact the home stretch with recruiting?
It impacted a lot. We got great momentum. We beat a SEC team for the first time in 15 years... the way that we finished, winning three of the last four, so many of these players are excited about what's to come.

You see someone like Bradley come back who didn't have to... this is the most returning senior starters that we've had with 11.

This is the first time in at least 25 years in our program we're returning 11 senior starters in our program.

Three straight bowl games with three straight winning seasons with players we've built up... Garrett Bradbury was a tight end when he got here and moved to defensive line and now he's on the offensive line and started every game.

Eight starters back defensively and they are seniors... there's tremendous momentum but the understanding that you have to earn it all.  We can show these young men now the blueprint. Here's what Bradley looked like, here's what he looks like now... we can show them pictures of their development. It's one thing to talk about development but another to be able to prove it.

That's the fun part about what's going on right now.  

Often the ratings aren't how a kid projects... is that what you say?
I think ratings are for signing day. I'm not saying that aren't good to know, but they have nothing to do with the end result.  When they get to college there's a lot of thigns that happen. There's a number of players who were two or three-star recruits who are really good football players.

It doesn't mean you don't look at those things, but... is he a guy who can develop into a great player at NC State?

It's a matter of what your needs are and if you can develop him.

Can you compare the talent level?
I'm really proud that we have so many seniors in this class coming up and how many who have developed into what they are now... all these guys who have changed their bodies and become seniors on our football team.

I don't think you can say this or that class is the best until they are done. 

This is the first class that we're recruiting that is graduating as a full class.

10-coaches rule...
I think all the coaches would be excited about that. We have the smallest coach-to-player ratio there is.  To be able to put our arms around our team... it would help to have another full-time close, not just on campus but when we go out to recruit.

It's a really, really good thing for college football if it happens.  To help with all the things our players have to go through now... basketball is a 3-to-1 ratio. For us sometimes you have a coach with 18 players in a room with him. It's a lot different.

Signing Day...
It will be interesting to see how that will transition, two Signing Days, one coinciding with the junior college in December.

2018 on the horizon...
Probably be too early to say but we'll have a big class next year, that's one thing. We'll be able to sign almost 25 in the next class and we'll talk about the needs as a staff. 

It's always going to be about having the right number of guys in each room so we'll have competitive depth. We'll continue to make sure our lines have the players in our room. In college football... that's been the hardest thing since I've got here to get our o-line numbers right and we're close to having it where we wanted.

Part of the recruiting rankings thing goes into how many guys you take.


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