Circumstances and the recruiting board are quite a bit different as the Wolfpack enters the month of June in 2014. State has roughly a third less scholarships to offer so the Wolfpack coaches have been much more selective as they work to fill out specific positions and numbers for next year's recruiting class. It's unlikely that the Pack will land double digit commitments over the next month or so. However, there are no fewer than a half dozen players that could have a huge impact on how this class is rated headed into signing day next February. Here's our take on seven of the most important prospects on the Wolfpack's recruiting board.
One of the biggest names on NC State's wish list is Garner's Nyheim Hines. There are track stars that play football and then there are the rare athletes, like Hines, that are tremendous football players that also excel in track.
Garner (NC) RB Nyheim HinesHe is one of the state's fastest players and nearly impossible to catch whether it be on a 100-meter track or a 100-yard football field. The Pack connected with him early on and has remained on his favorite's list for months. Behind the scenes most have felt Hines' decision would ultimately come down to Clemson and NC State although a recent visit to Ohio State certainly has the potential to cloud the picture somewhat. One wrinkle in the four-star running back's recruiting is his sister. Hines has mentioned on several occasions that he would like to attend college with her. In the end this is something that could potentially weigh in the Pack's favor. Look for Hines to make a decision in October as he will graduate from high school in December.
After watching him for about 10 minutes at NC State's football camp last summer it was obvious that Lincolnton's Darian Roseboro was going to be one of this year's most sought-after defensive ends. Roseboro has it all- size, explosiveness and the work ethic that you want in a future college player.
Lincolnton (NC) DE Darian Roseboro
Earlier this year all signs pointed to the Pack potentially landing an early commitment from Roseboro. He had previously announced his intentions to announce in April and all signs appeared to point in the Wolfpack's direction. However, as is typically the case with top level prospects, Roseboro added additional offers which put his commitment off until sometime in August. He also made a visit to Michigan and that trip, perhaps more than any other, has muddied the waters for NC State.
Roseboro will be back at NC State in June and will likely trip to Michigan and Tennessee over the course of the summer. Those trips will likely dictate the school he chooses should he stick to his August decision.
Talk to most recruiting experts and you'll hear Alabama, UNC and Clemson mentioned most frequently as possible destinations for Lexington's Shy Tuttle. Perhaps they haven't noticed that none of those schools have received more visits from Tuttle than NC State.
Lexington (NC) DT Shy TuttleWe noticed when Tuttle camped at NC State prior to his sophomore year that he connected with the Wolfpack even though that coaching staff is no longer in Raleigh. Back in March he made a quiet three day visit to NC State and spent a ton of time with defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen and several of State's current players.
The Wolfpack will likely take three defensive tackles in the class of 2015 and they'd like nothing more than for Tuttle to anchor that group. Behind the scenes many feel this will come down to NC State and UNC. Should DE Jalen Dalton commit to UNC as most think he will then you can rest assured he's going to do everything possible to bring Tuttle with him. The Pack then has to fall back on the relationships they've forged between Tuttle and State's coaches and current players as well as selling their need at the position.
The next Russell Wilson? Unlikely. But that's the comparison we've heard mentioned more than once when it comes to Southern Durham's Kendall Hinton.
Durham (NC) QB Kendall HintonWe prefer to say he's 'Russell Wilson-like' for a variety of reasons. First off, his mechanics are solid and his arm strength is much better than you'd expect from a player standing 6-0 and pushing 185 pounds. Hinton is mobile and elusive but he's a pass-first guy. Off the field he also possesses a Wilson-like demeanor. He's very low key and unassuming but extremely competitive. Perhaps the bottom line is he is simply a winner. He led the Spartans to a come-from-behind state championship title over favored Shelby Crest in 2013.
The major offers for Hinton have come from NC State, East Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest and Boston College. Most likely ECU and Duke are out and it's difficult to fathom Hinton trekking north to Boston. Wake Forest could be a threat but everything appears to be tilted in the Wolfpack's favor. So when could he decide? With the evaluation period now ended we'll go out on a limb and say he'll make a decision sometime in June but certainly prior to the start of the 2014 season. This is a big recruit for NC State and landing him in June could certainly spring board their in-state recruiting efforts headed into the summer.
One of the hottest recruits during the spring evaluation period has been Hillside's Emanuel McGirt. He was already a double digit scholarship prospect but offers from LSU, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida have helped establish him as a national-caliber recruit.
Durham (NC) OL Emanuel McGirtMcGirt recently tweeted a top eight that included Florida, UNC, Duke, NC State, LSU, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt and South Carolina. We wouldn't discount any of the schools listed but most everyone feels this battle will boil down to UNC and NC State. The Heels hired Hillside's former strength and conditioning coach Samuel Barham back in February. For the record State would've pursued Barham as well but did not have an opening. For the Pack's part, they've offered a preferred walk-on spot to McGirt's close friend Keith Beasley. Beasley is a tremendous student and could potentially land an academic scholarship. In fact, both visited NC State less than a week ago.
McGirt plans to visit roughly a half dozen schools over the next few weeks and then potentially make a commitment at the end of June or early July. Obviously that opens the door for a new school to move up but for now, smart money is on State or Carolina. Like Hinton, this is a commitment that could help pave the way for additional commitments down the road.
OL Brian Chaffin has been pretty vocal about his desire to recruit for whichever school he commits to in June. He's actually mentioned that he's already networked with several uncommitted players so that fact alone makes him an important piece of the recruiting puzzle for some lucky school in June.
Charlotte (NC) C Brian ChaffinA recurring theme this year seems to be NC State-UNC, Heels-Pack and State-Carolina when it comes to in-state recruiting and that appears to be the case yet again as it relates to Chaffin. Academics will be a huge factor in his decision and because of that, Stanford and Duke can't be ruled out. However, nearly every insider thinks Chaffin's decision will ultimately boil down to State and UNC. To Carolina's credit they really rolled out the academic red carpet when Chaffin was on campus a couple of weeks ago. He met the chancellor and was shown the ins and outs of UNC's School of Business. If the Pack hopes to keep pace they'll need to match that academic presentation when he returns to Raleigh later this month. The Wolfpack does boast the advantage of having several former teammates of Chaffin already on campus as well as a commitment from current teammate and fellow offensive lineman, Philip Walton. However, in the end we're not sure if that will factor heavily into his final decision.
Poll NC State's recruiting fans about which player they most want to land in the class of 2015 and we're betting more than half are likely to mention Dorchester (SC) DE Michael Barnett.
Dorchester (SC) DE Michael BarnettHe was a beast at NC State's camp last summer and left no doubt that he'd be one of the Wolfpack's top targets in 2014. The Wolfpack coaches hoped to keep him under wraps but that's virtually impossible in this day and age and by the end of the summer his recruiting had exploded. He committed to Virginia Tech early on and that left a few analysts scratching their head but the pledge didn't stick.
As it stands now, if signing day were tomorrow we feel fairly confident that Barnett would run with the Pack. Unfortunately there's an eight month window before Barnett actually has to make a decision and he's indicated he may wait all the way up until February before announcing his commitment.
While we personally wonder if he'll actually wait that long we do feel confident that NC State, Georgia and Florida State are the main competitors with Clemson, LSU and Georgia Tech in the mix as well. Of all the schools, Georgia is the biggest threat to NC State in our opinion. There's the draw of the SEC but perhaps even more important is the fact that UGA has run neck and neck with the Pack despite the fact that's he's never visited there. That presents a scenario where a Georgia visit could swing the pendulum in their favor. Whatever the situation, it is absolutely imperative that NC State get him back on campus- preferably during summer camp. The Wolfpack coaches showed last year that they did some of their best recruiting work when they could actually demonstrate their ability to coach and relate with players on the field.