Lemming: North Carolina an underrated state for recruiting talent

Tom Lemming
NDI Correspondent

North Carolina is a loaded state in terms of talent, and I think Notre Dame should be doing better there in recruiting.

Playing North Carolina and being affiliated with the ACC now, I think you’ll see a bump soon.

North Carolina, in terms of talent, is better than South Carolina. North Carolina has a lot of players, and they’re not just inclined to go to UNC, North Carolina State or Duke, making it fair game in the state. A lot of the top players have gone south, but it gives ND a chance to go in and start nabbing some players. It’s an underrated state for talent.

One guy the Tar Heels won on is freshman running back Elijah Hood from Charlotte. Hood had been committed to ND but flipped to North Carolina.

It’s a state I see in the top 20 talent-wise. Charlotte is the hottest spot, with the Raleigh-Durham area second. Football is big there, so you see talent in the little towns.

With players leaving the state, a number of schools go into North Carolina and do well — Florida and Georgia among them. The Bulldogs a couple of years ago went in there and landed Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, two of the best running backs in the country.

South Carolina and Clemson make efforts to recruit in North Carolina, and Florida State has had success there. Tennessee spends a lot of time in the state. Notre Dame tries, as does Michigan. You’ll also see Ohio State there.

I think in the past Notre Dame has not made North Carolina a priority, although I believe they need to now. Notre Dame has gotten some big names out of South Carolina – such as Tony Rice and Everett Golson – but it’s a state where you’ll often see kids not have the grades for ND. A lot of the kids don’t quality, and overall there’s not as much talent as North Carolina.

Notre Dame should be spending more time in the Mid-Atlantic — North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and D.C. Notre Dame is the first and most recognizable national recruiting team still out there, and they’ve got to take advantage of it.

I know with a national focus you’re spread out a little bit, but you only focus on the blue-chip players. In North Carolina, you zoom-in on the top 10 that can qualify, and then you try to get about five of them in for visits.

Mike Elston has done OK in Ohio this year with a number of players, but it’s been quiet in North Carolina. They can do better, and I think they will now that they’re in the conference.

UNC head coach Larry Fedora is a very good recruiter. He doesn’t have all his talent in there, but he’s working at it. He kind of reminds me of Al Golden at Miami, where they had an investigation hanging over their heads.

I think by 2016 you’re going to start to see North Carolina back because they’re starting to get real good ballplayers. They’re doing OK in state but they’re also in Florida.

North Carolina, N.C. State and Duke are three exceptionally hard-working staffs. N.C. State is really aggressive and they’re going to start taking players away from UNC. A school like Notre Dame can come in and land a couple of blue-chippers a year if they work the state. It’s a state like New Jersey where there’s not a ton of loyalty to the home schools. They’ll get their share, but a lot of the top kids want to leave.

Duke’s staff is good, but the academic standards are very high. They’ll go after the same guys as Notre Dame and normally ND will beat them head-to-head, even in the home state.

North Carolina running back Elijah Hood (34), a former Notre Dame commit, looks to get past Clemson's Jayron Kearse (20) during the second half of 50-35 Clemson win. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)