Heralded 5-star recruit Will Shipley chose Clemson over N.C. State and some fans are not happy.
Objectively, N.C. State and Clemson are not rivals in recruiting. The Tigers have appeared in four of the last five National Championships, while the Wolfpack just finished up a dismal 4-8 season. So it can be hard to understand on the surface why N.C. State fans are so mad over the fact that 5-star running back Will Shipley chose the Tigers over the Wolfpack on Tuesday.
The Wolfpack, however, had family ties and Shipley was said to have a close personal relationship with head coach Dave Doeren. At the end of the day, the Wolfpack lost out to a program and coach that was able to flat out offer him more.
What surprised me the most about this situation is that I didn’t find out about Shipley’s commitment through a tweet from a national recruiting analyst or his personal Twitter. No, instead I found out when hashtags like #FireDoeren started appearing with messages asking for the coach’s dismissal.
Shipley, undoubtedly, would’ve been a massive grab for the Wolfpack’s 2021 recruiting class. Early in the process, the Wolfpack sits in 69th for 2021 rankings with just three recruits on board. Landing Shipley could’ve potentially jumpstarted a recruiting class that needs a boost.
The internet on Tuesday exploded with animosity towards Doeren, as the anti-Doeren section of the fan base again became frustrated with the lack of recent success. The loss of Shipley has less to do with why Shipley went to Clemson or that N.C. State lost out on a prized recruit and more to do with the fact that for many fans, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to the team’s spiral under Doeren.
With UNC gaining on the Wolfpack in the local area under Mack Brown, the team is once again expected to finish under .500 in 2020. When Doeren was hired in 2013, he was hired to get the team over the hump and break a consistent level of mediocrity that had taken over the program. In many fans’ eyes, Doeren has the program in worse shape seven years later.
The animosity towards Doeren today feels a little misplaced. Losing to Clemson in recruiting is an unavoidable part of working as the head coach of N.C. State. You may steal one here or there as Doeren did with Johnny Frasier and Darian Roseboro early in his tenure, but beating Clemson for a five-star is not a given, even when it appears you are the favorite.
Doeren’s clock at N.C. State is ticking. There will be pressure for him to win football games in 2020 to keep his job and he will need all the talent he can get. Unfortunately for him and the Wolfpack fan base, Clemson just handed the Wolfpack its first loss of the season. Sometimes even when it appears you’re the favorite, you’re still the underdog.