Due to the sheer numbers involved, football recruiting can be an overwhelming process to follow. To simplify matters for the casual recruiting fan, Pack Pride will release a ‘10 Prospects to Watch' feature each month until signing day. The only requirements for a player to make our list is that he must be a major target for the NC State staff and the Wolfpack must have a reasonable chance to land his commitment.
DT K'Hadree Hooker...6-2, 270 pounds...South Lenoir High School, Deep Run, NC
Notes...Hooker has been a mainstay on the NC State recruiting board for months and hypothetically, could be the next commitment. He plans to announce sometime in August and the Pack has been his consistent leader for quite some time. The two main threats are Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech with the Jackets being the bigger of the two. Because of his connection and familiarity with the staff and current team, it's hard to imagine him choosing anyone other than NC State.
RB/ATH Todd Gurley...6-1, 195 pounds...Tarboro, NC
Notes...Gurley is a phenomenal athlete who intends to play running back in college although we believe he could prove to be even more effective at another position. Duke led for him during one stretch while UNC has led most recently. NC State has consistently been inside his top five although we don't get the feeling that the Pack is a major threat to land him at this point. He is close friends with K'Hadree Hooker but equally close to RB Keith Marshall. For now he's one to watch but a player that State will need to make up some ground with if they hope to land his commitment.
RB Shadrach Thornton...6-1, 200 pounds...Liberty County High School, Hinesville, GA
Notes...NC State tends to gravitate towards bigger, more powerful running backs and Thornton fits that mold perfectly. There were hopes that Thornton would visit in June along with current NC State commit Niles Clark and his teammate, WR Charlie Hegedus. However, those plans fell through. As things stand currently, Kentucky is the team to beat and this may actually be as much about living in the heart of SEC country and staying in that conference as anything else. Thornton knows he's atop the NC State running back board and that's something the Pack will have to push to overcome their No. 2 spot to the Wildcats.
OL Joseph Spencer...6-4, 275 pounds...William Mason High School, Mason, OH
Notes...There are four prospects that we feel NC State is very high on when it comes to offensive linemen and Spencer is one of those. He could play center or guard and that versatility has helped him land close to double digit offers. Spencer's most recent offer from Illinois could be the main one NC State has to overcome if they hope to land him. We feel like the Pack is in pretty good shape with him but they desperately need a visit in the near future if they hope to stay in the thick of the race. Like Shadrach Thornton and the SEC, getting Spencer out of Big 10 country could be a challenge.
WR Charlie Hegedus...6-2, 190 pounds...Lassiter High School, Marietta, GA
Notes...Hegedus tore it up at NC State's camp and the Wolfpack wasted no time offering a scholarship. He followed that camp performance up with a trip back to Raleigh with NC State commit and teammate Niles Clark. The two are very close friends and that will help the Pack's cause. He's also tight with current Wolfpack OL Camden Wentz and State has reportedly offered his quarterback at Lassiter, Eddie Printz. State pushed hard for his commitment during his most recent visit to Raleigh but to be brutally honest, we're not sure that he was very crazy about that. For now, he appears to be in a holding pattern and an offer from Tennessee or Auburn could end State's courtship with Hegedus.
OL Bryce Kennedy...6-3, 285 pounds...Pinecrest High School, Southern Pines
Notes...Kennedy is one of the lone bright spots on a team that is typically not very good. While raw, Kennedy boasts quite a bit of upside and that is why he resides as one of the four offensive linemen that State covets in the class of 2012. He recently visited State with his mother for three days during the month of June and he bonded well with the current team. However, insiders feel like South Carolina will ultimately prove the team to beat. Kennedy appears to be one of those players that really loves the last place he visited so timing that final visit with his decision date could be crucial.
OL D.J. Reader...6-3, 330 pounds...Grimsley High School, Greensboro, NC
Notes...Reader may be the best player in the state that few people are talking about. Much of that has to do with the fact that he's heavily involved in baseball and has been away from the football recruiting scene over the past several months. Because of that, getting a read on him has been difficult at best. Sources tell us that State has a pretty good chance but it may be a few months before Reader's favorites begin to emerge. We continue to wonder if baseball could figure into his football plans. If so, we're not sure that would play to NC State's advantage.
DE Alex McCallister...6-6, 230 pounds...West Forsyth High School, Clemmons, NC
Notes...The good news for State is they were the first school to offer McCallister. The bad news is they were followed in offering by the likes of UNC, Notre Dame, Florida, Virginia Tech and South Carolina among others. State has consistently been mentioned in his top five and the fact they were the first to offer is something he's mentioned on several occasions. He doesn't appear anywhere near making a decision so getting him on campus for some unofficial visits this fall followed by an official visit will be very important for the Pack.
LB Schyler Miles...6-2, 230 pounds...Berkeley Prep School, Tampa, FL
Notes...Miles visited unofficially during NC State's camp and got the royal treatment during his time in Raleigh. As things stand now we believe NC State and West Virginia are his top two with the Mountaineers potentially holding a slight lead. However, we do have to put one caveat by Miles' name. With NC State taking a commitment from A.J. Doyle, we're not sure that the Pack will take another inside linebacker, which is where Miles projects. We'll leave him on this list for now but it could very well be that the Wolfpack is done at this position.
DE Romeo Okwara...6-4, 235 pounds...Ardrey Kell High School, Charlotte, NC
Notes...Okwara visited NC State unofficially a few weeks back and is a player the Wolfpack really likes. Since then he has camped at UNC, made a visit to Clemson and has a trip planned to Notre Dame. We like the fact that he is being recruited by Wolfpack OL coach Jim Bridge but this will be a tough battle. Many feel UNC has the inside track while Clemson and Notre Dame are heavily in the mix as well.
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