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February 21, 2013
Carolina growing more talent, not harvesting
Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
The good news for the state of North Carolina is the level of football prospects is on the rise.
The bad news is those players aren't staying home.
The 2014 Rivals100 features two five-star players and two four-stars from North Carolina. But according to recent recruiting trends, none of the in-state programs will land those players.
"Those two guys have to figure out a way to take advantage of what is happening in the state," Farrell said. "Once Mack Brown left North Carolina it became a free-for-all. First it was Florida State and Florida, now Clemson is in there, Alabama; everyone is poaching the kids and for those programs to develop, they have to figure out a way to keep these guys in the state.
N.C. State has not signed a player who finished ranked in the top 10 of the final state rankings in the past three classes. The program has signed only six players who were evaluated as top 10 players in the past six classes combined.
North Carolina peaked with the class of 2007 when it signed seven of the Top 10 players within the state. The Tar Heels have signed only one player in that category over three of the past four seasons.
Duke landed one Top 10 in-state player in the class of 2009. Wake Forest also secured one during the class of 2010.
Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic athlete Elijah Hood is ranked as the No. 12 player in the national rankings. He recently released his list of six favorite schools. Notre Dame currently leads for the 6-foot, 212-pound player.
"I just like the program and I think it's on the rise," Hood told Rivals.com. "I love the education. It's one of the best educations you can get in the world. That's awesome.
"I like the fact that all their games are televised. That's a big deal because at least I'd know my family would be able to see me play. That's another thing I really like. There are a lot of things I really like about them."
According to Hood, the list is fluid but he plans on visiting Notre Dame in the near future and that could seal his fate.
WHO STANDS TO GAIN FROM THIS CLASS
Just behind Hood in the national rankings is Kentavious Street at No. 14 overall. He is a weakside defensive end from Greenville (S.C.) Rose, and is also not so keen on staying in-state.
Shortly after National Signing Day, Street received an offer from Florida State, a program he has been watching.
"I've been waiting on this offer my whole life, so all the hard work is paying off," Street told Warchant.com. "They were my favorite team growing up. In my area, it's either Georgia fans or Florida State fans and that's how we are. I know all the traditions, the Warchant, the horse, the spear, everything."
The 6-foot-3, 171-pound player committed to Florida in December of 2012 and added to the Gator dominance in the state.
Farrell said the marquee programs have had their way in the state.
"Florida seems to go get who they want out of North Carolina and they identified Grier early and closed on him," Farrell said. "They have gotten Chris Leak, Xavier Nixon, Brandon Spikes, D.J. Humphries, and now Grier. Once they identify a kid, they are able to land him."
The final player in the Rivals100 from the state is 6-foot-6, 285-pound offensive tackle Bentley Spain of Charlotte (N.C.) Providence, who is ranked No. 86.
The relationship with Gamecocks offensive line coach Shawn Elliott might be a difference-maker.
"I have a great relationship with him," Spain said. "We have been talking since my freshman year when he offered me. We have built a great relationship."
The ability for other schools to come in and build relationships with players within the state is something that no program inside North Carolina has been able to do.
"When (Chuck) Amato was hired at N.C. State, he thought he was a big-enough name to go outside of the state and really ignored what was happening locally," Farrell said. "Tom O'Brien tried to bridge those gaps but it was hard.
"Butch Davis was having some success when he first got on campus but it was limited. The ball has really just been dropped and kicked around for all the schools in the state."
There were 73 players who signed with FBS-level programs from North Carolina last season and that pushed the state into the Top 10 nationally.
It is not just the quantity, but the quality of player that is improving.
"The perception of the sport in the state started to shift and more kids got interested," Farrell said. "Now there are more opportunities for exposure and there are better coaches at the high school level.
"There are a lot of good programs being built now, too. Everyone used to just know North Carolina for [Charlotte (N.C.)] Independence, but now there is [Matthews (N.C.)] Butler, and [Charlotte (N.C.)] Mallard Creek -- among others -- steadily producing talent.
"At some point, one of the schools in the state is going to have to figure out a way to keep that talent from being pulled away."
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