Johnathan was one of our last commitments. He chose us over North Carolina. Coach Kitchings has recruited him throughout the entire year.
Johnathan is a great two-way player. 6'3, 200 pounds, and from right down the road here at Bunn High School. He played a variety of positions, a guy who goes up and gets the football. You see him at receiver, but he's also a very good defensive player.
The thing I liked about him, when he came in here was how competitive he was, how attentive he was, and how excited he was about the passion that our coaches were showing. He wanted to be a part of something special.
A guy with the ball in his hands, he can do a lot of things in our offense. I know coach Jackson was excited about how aggressive he was in going up and getting the football.
Davie County Offensive Lineman Cole Blankenship
Cole is one of our early guys. He plays guard and tackle on film, but he can play any of the interior spots for us, guard or center.
The thing I like, the first time I called Cole on the phone I asked him what kind of a lineman was he, and he said, "I'm the kind of guy you want to run the ball behind." That's what I wanted to hear. I like those guys that are physical. The pass-pro part of the game is important, but it all starts with being able to finish blocks, get guys on the ground, and have an attitude about it.
I'm really excited about him. He's here already working with us.
Palm Beach (FL) Quarterback Jacoby Brissett
Jacoby, a lot has been said already. Jacoby was a state championship quarterback and all-state player in football and basketball. He won a state championship in basketball as well. He played as a freshman at Florida and this past season he decided he wanted to make a change.
I recruited Jacoby when I worked at another university, and I've known him a long time. I'm really excited... he'll have two years after this year to play, and I'm looking forward to those two years with him. I know this will be a great year for him developmentally. He actually had basketball offers as well coming out.
New Bern (NC) Wide Receiver Bra'lon Cherry
Another one of our semester transfers, Bra'lon Cherry, Bra'lon was a state championship player at New Bern High School. It's a great program, a lot of up-and-coming players in that program as well.
I'm really excited about what Bra'lon did in our workout yesterday. He's got some pop to him. He can really explode in small spaces, and he goes up and gets the football.
He runs a similar offense to what we do so he'll be used to some of the components of our pass game and jet-sweep game already.
Bra'lon Cherry is more of a slot-type receiver that can make plays in space. That's something that is obviously important to us.
Treasure Coast (FL) Wide Receiver Travares Copeland
Travares is a guy that had to leave his last institution... he played as a true freshman. The guy is fun to watch. He went to West Virginia and played receiver this year and started six games for them as a true freshman.
While Travares was there he had to leave because his grandmother had an illness, so he is at home taking care of his great-grandmother right now and will transfer here this summer.
Travares and Jacoby grew up playing against each other so when he saw Jacoby was coming here, he reached out to me. Two of his high school influences, coaches, coach Jankowski and coach Daniels contacted me about his interested in NC State. We got his release and there it went.
He is really a dynamic athlete and also a very good return man. Some of the things he does in space is pretty special.
I think Travares Copeland can do just about anything we ask him to do and he's a guy that can do things in the slot.
Cypress Bay (FL) Tailback Matthew Dayes
Matt Dayes, running back from Cypress Bay High School, another player who went to a state championship. Cypress Bay head coach Mark Guandolo is one of the best coaches in the state of Florida.
Matt is one of the players committed here who opened it up, and he re-committed to us last week. Matt is what I call a three-down back. He is very good on first and second down, inside-outside run, but can also catch the ball out of the backfield.
I'm really excited, not just about the program he comes from, because coach Guandolo might coach kids in high school as hard as any coach in the country, so I know he will be ready to play early. That's important to us at that position with us only having two tailbacks returning on scholarship.
The competition Matt plays against will aid in that because he played some great football players coming out of Cypress Bay High School. With what our offense does, there will be times when there are two or three tailbacks in the game at once.
Brooklyn (NY) ASA Offensive Lineman Ali Kassem
This is our 6'7, 350... 350 is where we hope he is when he gets here, junior college offensive lineman. He is a big man. Coach Uremovich found him at again, one of the top junior college programs in the country, ASA.
Ali Kassem fills a need for us at guard. He can probably play some right tackle, but probably more of a guard for us. He comes out of Cincinnati Moeller High School, Moeller is one of the best high school programs in the midwest, if not the country.
He came up here and chose us over Rutgers. He's a guy that just loved it here, everything about the program. The whole time, you could see he fit in with the guys that were hosting him. You know a junior college player's window is small to make plays for you, and you're looking for a guy that wants to be a part of something. That's definitely what he was excited about.
Tabor City (NC) Wide Receiver Pharoah McKever
From South Columbus High School, Pharoah is an interesting dude. He's 6'6, 220-pound quarterback/receiver/safety. He can do a lot of things. He's going to play receiver for us to start, and we'll see where his body goes and where that puts him. He's a big guy that can jump over people and play 'X' for us... match up with some guys in the slot.
When you have a guy that big that can run, that's pretty important. You see some of the stuff he did as a quarterback, so maybe some gadget type plays for coach Canada. We had two receivers who were quarterbacks in this class, so that's good when drawing up your trick plays.
Guyton (GA) Tailback Josh Mercer
He's another of the guys that was committed when I got here, and he's one of the top tailbacks in Georgia. He wanted to come to State. I talked to him when I first got here and you could tell he wanted to stay. He loved it here, his family loved it here, and he was familiar with our backfield situation. He wanted to be a part of this.
He knows he can come in and play early if he's ready and healthy. He looks forward to that. Josh is another guy that can not only run the football but also catch it out of the backfield.
Richmond Co. (NC) Tailback Dakwa Nichols
Dakwa Nichols is probably one of the fastest players in this class. He has a great burst of speed and gives us a change up from that standpoint. He's a good return man, and with Tobais Palmer leaving that is a spot we'll have an open competition for.
He comes from a great program in this state. With what we do offensively, the change of direction stuff he brings to the table, the speed that he has in the open field, and the ability to catch the football.. you can see him catch the ball on a vertical route down the seam, those are all things that our tailbacks have to do and will do.
We look forward to having him. The program that he comes from is a great program in this state. There are a lot of guys that can run on that team.
He ran some of the similar plays that we do, and that was one of the things, being able to play in space. He knew the system that coach Canada runs and was excited about it.... to have the chance to be a jet-sweep guy and do some of the empty stuff we do... get the ball on the inside and break it outside... nice burst of speed.
Lovejoy (GA) Wide Receiver JuMichael Ramos
JuMichael was committed to Georgia Tech and when we got hired here coach Jackson was able to get in a conversation about playing in a more pass-friendly offense. He came up this past weekend with his mother and sister and had a great time.
He's a guy that plays basketball as well... a big receiver, big target, big hands... physical, and he comes from a really, really good football program.
Jacksonville (FL) Bartram Trail Offensive Lineman Tylar Reagan
Tylar Reagan is one of the original commits, an offensive lineman. Tylar is a tough kid, an all-state player and one of the top linemen in the state of Florida. He and coach Uremovich were able to hit it off and keep his commitment strong with us.
He can play guard or tackle and he finishes blocks. His dad is a high school coach, and you always love getting a coach's kid... a guy who grew up with the game, understands it and the work that goes into it.. how hard you have to grind to be great. I know Tylar is excited about coming in here and doing the things the way you need to do them for coach U.
Hope Mills (NC) Gray's Creek Offensive Lineman Patrick Roane
Patrick Roane comes from a great program right down the street. I could tell this was the place he wanted to be... also a Shrine Bowl participant.
I really enjoyed having him and his family here on official visit weekend. He's one of the guys that walks in the room and has a big smile, lights up the room. He'll be a positive guy around the program.
You love seeing 6'7 bodies on the offensive line, and with us having a senior tackle in Rob Crisp, being able to get two big, young offensive linemen in this class that we can put in the weightroom with coach V and let him build them up was huge.
Jefferson Co. (GA) Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs
He's very athletic... 6'3, 220 pounds and put together. He's one of the best students in this class as well. He actually got admission into several Ivy League schools and academies.
I love guys from state championship programs. This was the first state title in his school's history, and for him to lead them there says a lot about his leadership.
Talking to coach Jim Donnan who worked with him at some of the camps, he couldn't say enough about him.. how tough he was and how smart. Once you saw his film and saw how versatile he was and how he'd throw it in there, dive over piles, and make people miss, he was a guy who I thought could play in our system.
Lakewood (FL) Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes
A signing day decision, he's another great player from Lakewood High School. He took all his visits and went about things the right way. I really enjoyed getting to know the family.
He had a great visit and it was a lot of fun to see him go through it. I know coach Jackson is ready to get him on campus and work with him.
As you can see, he's a guy that is a vertical threat and can make plays over the top of coverages. You look at him, JuMichael Ramos, and Pharoah McKever, that's three big wide receivers who can go up and get it.