Offensive, Defense Linemen Top Doeren's Christmas Wish List

Brett Friedlander

NC State coach Dave Doeren addressed two immediate needs for his Wolfpack during college football’s early signing period by loading up on defensive backs and wide receivers with speed.

But after a 4-8 season in which the depth of virtually every position group on the team was challenged because of injury, there’s still plenty of work left to be done.

And Doeren has made it clear that he and his staff are “still hunting” for players that can help make the Wolfpack better.

“We still have the ability to go get more,” he said at his signing day press conference. “We have five left that we can sign. So whether we’re looking at graduates, whether we’re looking at junior college players, whether we’re looking at high school players that didn’t sign, but yeah, you start with your needs.”

So what are State’s biggest needs?

According to Doeren, the No. 1 item on his Christmas wish list is help on both lines of scrimmage.

“On the O-line and the D-lines” he said. “I think those are two spots where we’ll be continuing to look probably more than any.”

Doreen didn’t come away empty at either spot on signing day.

In fact, the one defensive lineman in his 2020 class -- four-star tackle Davin Vann -- projects to be one the best of the 17 players the Wolfpack added last week.

Vann was impressive in practices leading up to the Shrine Bowl and could potentially move right into the position vacated by the graduation of Larrell Murchison. But even with the arrival of transfer end Jeffrey Gunter, more help is needed.

On the other side of the ball, State picked up a pair of linemen from Georgia -- center Ethan Lane and guard Sean Hill -- along with Maryland tackle Patrick Matan. But two other big targets got away when three-star tackle Austin Blaske flipped to Georgia and four-star R.J. Adams opted for Kentucky.

While the offensive and defensive lines are top priorities, Doeren is open to any potential recruit that might be available.

“As you go through it and as you look at the grad transfer guys that come out of nowhere, (you ask) is there a guy that we think is better than what we’re playing with?” Doeren said. “If that happens, then we need to look at that player. It’s kind of case by case in some cases. On the O-line and D-line, I don’t think you can ever have enough really good big guys on your football team.”

The next signing period begins on Wednesday, Feb. 5. But as Doeren pointed out, the recruiting process can continue well after that as graduate transfers and other transfers become available.

“ We’re still hunting and we will and we’ll see where it ends up,” Doeren said. “Really we have until August to add guys. That’s how it happened with (former grad transfer center) Joe Scelfo, that was a late addition a few years back. There’s some things that can still happen late.”

"The way that kids are transferring, there’s some guys that you can find that for some reason want to find a new home. We’ve just got to make sure we do that at the right position groups if we add them."

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