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Signing Day goes Carolina barbeque

Today is national signing day which means typically nothing for MAC schools. Again, I do not place value in comparing recruits as it will be years before we truly know how great this recruiting class was. Comparing recruiting classes is just another way for Alabama to shove it in our faces.

Coach Pete Lembo has made it clear he does not like to play freshmen. So the newcomers to this program will be lucky to see the field this season. What is fascinating though is where the 2013 recruiting class came from. We brought up it up in the summer how Ball State was targeting recruits in Confederate territory of Georgia and the Carolinas. Give credit to the coaching staff, they got some of those players. Here is a top five state breakdown.

  • North Carolina – 7
    Indiana – 3
    Illinois – 3
    Ohio – 2
    Michigan – 2

That’s right. Ball State recruited over twice as many North Carolina players as it did from Indiana. Cue Vince Lombardi saying “What the Hell is going on around here?”

This is why many thought North Carolina State would make a play for Lembo. His tie to Elon gives him knowledge of the area. Plus other schools in the state saw the success Jahwan Edwards had his freshmen year in Muncie and wanted in. It is why Ball State took the loss at Clemson this past year. That game provided a chance to sell the program to local players.

The marching band loves Indiana but the football teams loves North Carolina just as much.

The marching band loves Indiana but the football team loves North Carolina just as much.

Ignore the stars of the players recruited as they will be given plenty of time to develop in Lembo’s system. This is automatically a great recruiting class to me simply because it has expanded the recruiting base. Under Parrish, Ball State was locked into a love triangle of recruiting only Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Under Lembo it is that region plus a side of Carolina barbeque. Heck I want to eat a pulled pork sandwich right now just to honor this recruiting class.

The main concern in only grabbing three Indiana players is the scary thought of local talent may have slipped to a MAC rival. However, it appears that local talent just was not there this season. Here is a list of Indiana players from rivals.com and none of them are in the Muncie area. Most of the players recruited came from Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, the typical locations.

Some MAC schools did score some Indiana commits but nothing alarming. Eastern Michigan gobbled up three players from Indianapolis. Why would an Indianapolis high school football player want to go to Eastern Michigan? Have they not researched the multiple decades of sucking that is Eastern Michigan football? Hopefully Eastern was the only FBS offer these kids received, or we have to question the quality of their high school education.

We’ll find out how good some of these players are in a few years. If we learned anything today, North Carolina State made a big mistake in not hiring Pete Lembo and that is a mistake we should be thankful for.

Nathan Pace is a 2012 Ball State graduate and writes for the Southsider Voice newspaper. You can follow him on Twitter at @NathanPacers

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