PACK14 Superlatives

Pack Pride takes a look at the highs and lows, sleepers and jewels of the class of 2014.

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
Jalan McClendon
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 threat.

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 Wolfpack.

(Past Winners: Matt Dayes, Kenderius Whitehead, Mike Rose, David Amerson, Asa Watson, R.J. Mattes, Desmond Roberts, Kyle Newell)

ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Trevion Thompson
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 WoulardJames Summers, Vad Lee, Reggie Wilkins, Edwin Herbert, Nick Becton, Matt Simms, Dorian Munroe)

CURIOSITY FACTOR
Marcelias Sutton
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 offer.

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 that way.

(Past winners: Pharoah McKeverDesmond Owino, Maurice Morgan, Theo Rich, Darryl Cato-Bishop, Ahmad Jaradat, Audie Cole)

CLASS JEWEL
Kentavius Street
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)
 
CLASS SLEEPER
Coult Culler
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 sprints.

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 Rose.

(Past Winners: Dravious WrightNiles Clark, Ty McGill, Logan Winkles, Deion Roberson, T.J. Graham, Curtis Underwood, Manny Lawson, Jamesly Jean, Jeremy Gray, Matt Kushner)


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