With the class of 2014 now in the books, Pack Pride takes a look back at some of the highs and lows, jewels and sleepers of the Wolfpack's latest recruiting effort.
BIGGEST RECRUITING BATTLE WON
As late as April of last year Jalan McClendon listed a top three
with NC State no where to be found. UNC, Florida State, Clemson were
at the top of the heap and the Pack didn't appear to be a major
That changed in a big way a month later when State and Miami both
decided to offer McClendon. The Pack had a secret weapon and sent
their initial commitment for the class of 2014, Bo Hines, with
McClendon on an unofficial visit to NC State in the middle of May.
Just a couple of days later McClendon called Wolfpack coach Dave
Doeren and announced his decision to commit to NC State. That was
just the beginning for McClendon, however.
In October Tennessee decided they needed a quarterback and went full
bore after McClendon. They felt they had him locked in for an
unofficial visit in October but McClendon balked at the last second.
The Vols didn't relent and went after him for another visit in
November but again, McClendon passed on the offer. Sources indicated
that to say the Tennessee coaches were "irritated" would be an
understatement. The fact that he passed on those trips was huge for
NC State. The allure of Tennessee and the SEC can be tough to turn
down and the fact that the Pack withstood two serious charges by the
Vols was impressive.
In the end McClendon himself became a huge salesman for NC State.
His efforts, particularly at the Shrine Bowl, were crucial in
helping the Pack flip OL Will Richardson from Virginia to the
(Past Winners: Matt Dayes, Kenderius Whitehead, Mike Rose, David Amerson, Asa Watson, R.J. Mattes, Desmond Roberts, Kyle Newell)
ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Perhaps this one stung more than the others because the Pack was so
painfully close to landing him in mid-December. In fact, sources
told us that NC State's coach in charge of recruiting Thomspon, Des
Kitchings, was kicking himself after a December in-home visit for
not pushing harder for a commit during that visit.
At the Shrine Bowl, Thompson told numerous players that he was
leaning to NC State although he refused to confirm this publically.
On Pack Pride we mentioned that we really feared State was peaking
at the wrong time. Unfortunately that seemed to be the case.
Clemson upped their interest level in Thompson and by mid-January
State's lead had evaporated. Perhaps State had a hint of what the
final outcome would ultimately be or maybe they simply had
priorities other than landing another wide receiver. Whatever the
case, State's chances with Thompson ended when they took commitments
from Elliott Davis, Shawn Boone and Troy Vincent in the span of 24
hours. With that, State had no room left in the class of 2014
although it likely would not have mattered as Thompson committed to
Clemson just a few days later.
(Past Winners: Asiantii Woulard, James Summers, Vad Lee,
Reggie Wilkins, Edwin Herbert, Nick Becton, Matt Simms, Dorian Munroe)
Every year you can count on an unknown player popping up at camp and
that player was Marcelias Sutton this past year. Although Derrell Scott was clearly State's top target at running back, Sutton was
just too good at camp to pass on.
There's kids that test well and then there's Sutton. He ran a
4.45-second 40-yard dash, 4.08-second shuttle and an eye-popping
11'5" broad jump. It took about three minutes for State to decide to
As a football player, Sutton defines versatility. He can play
running back. You could put him in the slot. He has the skills to
help in the return game on special teams. He made plays at defensive
back in high school and the Shrine Bowl.
Based on talk with various sources, NC State expects Sutton to
contribute on offense and potentially special teams as a freshman.
He is explosive, has a great work ethic and is a student of the
game- all attributes that should get him on the field early.
With all of that said, Sutton's early commitment to State certainly
didn't prevent other schools from recruiting him and yet, no one
did. Admittedly, Warsaw is off the beaten path but if a kid is that
good you'd expect someone to make a run at him and in the case of
Sutton, that never happened. It will be interesting to see if Sutton
can become the player the NC State coaches obviously believe he can
be. In all honesty, they were virtually the only school that felt
(Past winners: Pharoah McKever, Desmond Owino, Maurice Morgan,
Theo Rich, Darryl Cato-Bishop, Ahmad Jaradat, Audie Cole)
To be completely fair, I don't know that Kentavius Street is the
most talented player in the class of 2014 but he was certainly the
most highly rated.
All four major recruiting networks- Scout, Rivals, 247 and ESPN all
rated Street a four star prospect. Rivals tabbed him the nation's
No. 4 defensive end nationally while ESPN listed him as the nation's
68th best player regardless of position.
Street is all about potential. He has a college-ready physique and
the mental makeup you want in a big time player. Street is a hard
worker and a team-first player. He showed throughout his high school
career that he was much more interested in team success than
personal accolades. That should pave the way for him to maximize his
physical potential over the next four or five years.
Street has the physical attributes that you can't coach. He is
extremely explosive, generates a great push with his lower body
strength and is a relentless pursuer. He runs extremely well for a
player his size and improved his stamina as the 2013 season
progressed. Obviously, his technique needs work but the sky is the
limit. Once the switch flips on, Street has the ability to become a
special player for NC State.
(Past Winners: Matt Dayes, Kenderius Whitehead, Nik Sade, Rob Crisp,
Bryan Underwood, Mike Glennon, George Bryan, Andre Brown, TA
McLendon, Mario Williams, DeMario Pressley)
Culler is a very interesting player to scout. On film he looks okay.
He looks choppy at times and doesn't appear to have great body
control. Culler is clearly a player that's not going to win many
However, when you watch him in person you get a completely different
perspective of him as a player. On film I see a low 3-star kid. In
person I see a 4-star player. It's strange.
The first thing that jumps out is Culler's leadership ability. He
was THE quarterback of the Laney defense. If that translates to NC
State, he could become that defensive player that others rally
around and has been missing since the departure of Terrell Manning.
On the football field Culler is absolutely relentless. He is
tremendous at fighting through blocks, taking good angles and
diagnosing plays correctly. Culler is not the most physically gifted
player so he has to play smart and that is definitely his strength.
The thing that concerns me with Culler is his combination of height
and the desire to blow up every ball carrier. He has to manage
himself smartly in college or injuries could be an issue. When we
watched him live he was one of the most ferocious tacklers we saw
all year. He took out players on three consecutive plays against
(Past Winners: Dravious Wright, Niles Clark, Ty McGill, Logan
Winkles, Deion Roberson, T.J. Graham, Curtis Underwood, Manny Lawson,
Jamesly Jean, Jeremy Gray, Matt Kushner)
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