In the recruiting world, few events are more important than the official visit. High school seniors are allowed a 48-hour, all expenses paid trip to evaluate a school and are given the opportunity to make these visits to five different schools.
NC State head coach Tom O’Brien and his staff are known for their efficiency in the preparation of their football team and this has become evident in their approach to recruiting as well.
The Wolfpack coaches have earned a reputation as being some of the nation’s best at identifying talent extremely early in the process which gives them a jump start on the next year’s recruiting class. They tend to focus in quickly on the players they feel will be the correct fit, both athletically and academically, with their football program.
Like with just about everything else inside the program, there is very little wasted time and energy when it comes to recruiting. Their plan has proven to be precise and effective and nowhere is this more evident than with the scheduling of official visits.
So far this year NC State has hosted a total of 41 official visitors. Out of that group the Pack has landed commitments from 27. That number is even more impressive when you consider that, of the 14 players that visited but did not commit to NC State, five (Antwon Higgs, Leon Mackey, Luke Sager, Julius Forte and Conor O’Neal) were dropped off the board because of commitments from other players.
Amazingly, the NC State coaching staff missed on just seven total players that made an official visit to Raleigh but decided to commit elsewhere. That group includes Edwin Herbert, Jonathan Meeks, Jheranie Boyd, Corico Hawkins, Travis Bond, Ryan Davis and Jarrell Harrison with decisions from Quandon Christian and Michael Lemon still pending.
When all was said and done and considering just the players that the Wolfpack legitimately missed on, NC State boasted a 79% success rate on their official visits.
Along the way the Pack was able to trump the official visits of some pretty decent teams. Camden Wentz, Deion Roberson and Duran Christophe all chose NC State after making official visits to Louisville. Brandan Bishop chose the Pack over a trip to West Virginia. Donald Coleman picked the Pack after he concluded a visit to Iowa. Nathan Mageo switched his commitment from Hawaii to NC State after his visit to Raleigh. Asa Watson made official visits to Maryland and Duke before choosing NC State.
The significance of NC State’s success with official visits is that it allows the Pack to secure the lion’s share of their recruiting class by the first week of January. Instead of having to make a frenetic push to fill out a signing day roster, the coaches can continue the cycle of getting an early jump on the next year’s recruiting class.
NC State fans have quickly become accustomed to the Wolfpack’s systematic and “by the numbers” approach to football. That strategy has shown to be equally effective on the recruiting trail.
Websites like Pack Pride spend much of the year trying to predict the upcoming recruiting class. Based on State’s success in the past, you need to look no further than who’s visiting to get your answer.