The commitment of Cary defensive end Fre’Shad Hunter over the weekend virtually gives the in-state recruiting title to N.C. State, and is a direct slap in the face to North Carolina coach Butch Davis, known for his own high-powered talent gathering.
While Tar Heel fans defend their in-state struggles by saying that Davis and his staff are working on better national recruits—and thus paying less attention to players closer to home—there are two major flaws in that theory.
First, the in-state players the Wolfpack is landing are as good as any in the country, and grew up in the backyards of both schools. OT Robert Crisp (No.2 on The Observer’s Top 25 Prospects list), WR Anthony Creecy (No.6) and Hunter (No.5) are all prep all-Americans on someone’s list, the kind of talent capable of lifting a program into the top ten.
And second, North Carolina is simply not getting the national recruits Butch and his boys are going after. There was a brief, fast start with the early commitment of OL James Hurst, but that was as good as it got--there has been precious little follow-up.
The Tar Heels currently have landed one member (Charlotte Christian LB Ty Linton) on our NC 25-best list.
And it can’t get much better for North Carolina in-state, since the remaining three players in that top six we mentioned — DE Gabe King, S/WR Keenan Allen and DL Alfy Hill — are all expected to play their college football out of state.
Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien has to be celebrating, if quietly for the moment. And next year, Davis would be advised to protect his home turf first.
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