Five Must-Have Prospects For 2016
The class of 2015 is now signed, sealed and delivered which means it’s time to push forward and take a look at the best that 2016 has to offer.
NC State already has six verbal commitments for next year’s class which means there won’t be many spots to fill. This will allow the Wolfpack to be picky and with that in mind, we break down five must-haves for the class of 2016.
Defensive Tackle Dexter Lawrence (Wake Forest High School)
If you’re going to start a list, you might as well start with the best and Lawrence will easily be our pick as the top player in North Carolina this year.
Suffice it to say that Lawrence will hold offers to basically every school in the nation and for good reason. He very well may be the best defensive tackle prospect to come out of the state in a decade.
In the early going no one has recruited him harder than NC State. They had four coaches present on back to back Friday nights to watch him play basketball. He visited the Pack for their game with Notre Dame recently but was unable to attend last weekend’s junior day.
This will likely be a long, drawn out affair and Lawrence isn’t a big talker so getting a firm handle on where he’s leaning may be a struggle. In the end the biggest hurdle facing the Pack may be simply keeping him in-state when all is said and done.
Wide Receiver Cornell Powell (Greenville Rose)
Like Lawrence, NC State has showered Powell with recruiting attention in the early going. The bad news is the Pack is chasing Clemson. The Tigers benefited from having the lion’s share of their class committed early which allowed them to spend a ton of time recruiting Powell. That was a major factor in them forging an early lead and ultimately landing a commitment from him on Wednesday.
We had reservations about adding him to this list. However, recent history has shown that NC State has seemingly done some of their best recruiting work when that player is committed to another school. The Pack has a year to make up ground and we think that's reason enough to list him here.
NC State has landed some good receivers over the last 10 years but Powell is the first in a long time that we’ve scouted who boasts obvious NFL-caliber potential. It’s no secret that State needs to upgrade their wide receiver corps which is what makes Powell so important.
Tight End Garrett Walston (New Hanover)
On the surface NC State may appear set at tight end but the fact that they didn’t take one in 2015 makes landing one in 2016 crucial.
Enter Garrett Walston. Our sources indicate that State feels he’s the best tight end on the east coast. That may be backed up by the fact that he’s adding offers on nearly a daily basis and we suspect he’ll be a 4-star prospect by the experts before all is said and done.
The Pack got a big jump on Walston’s recruiting by being his first major offer. He was blown away when visiting for the Notre Dame game recently and came oh-so-close to committing the following weekend.
However, a flurry of new offers led Walston to take a step back although we still think he could be a spring or summer time decision. With one of the Pack’s ace recruiters, Des Kitchings, leading the way, State is in great shape.
Offensive Tackle Josh Ball (Fredericksburg VA)
Most coaches will tell you that the offensive tackle position is one of the toughest to recruit. Really good ones are difficult to find and and once identified, their recruiting typically evolves into a feeding frenzy for colleges.
Such has been the case with Josh Ball. NC State was one of the first to offer and it appeared the Pack was right at the doorstep of landing a commitment when he visited for the Florida State game last September.
Since then Ball has added better than a dozen offers and he’s now closing in on 20. However, the Pack is still in it and there’s no doubt he’s a huge want and need for the Wolfpack’s class of 2016. He recently told us that he will be returning to NC State for another visit although he has yet to set a date.
Wide Receiver Diondre Overton (Page High School)
Coaches love skilled athletes that present matchup problems and that’s exactly what you get with Overton. At 6-6, 190 pounds he’s a nightmare for defensive coordinators to figure out and that’s led to better than a dozen offers.
NC State was the first FBS program to offer and they’ve hosted him on several visits- most recently for the Pack’s basketball matchup with Notre Dame.
Overton is also a standout basketball player and that could certainly play a factor in his decision. Schools that offer him a two-sport opportunity may ultimately have a leg up and the Pack is one of those programs.
Clayton White is in charge of Overton’s recruiting and he’s emerged as a top notch recruiter for the Pack. In addition to While, newly hired WR coach George McDonald has also been involved and he was actually on hand to watch Overton in a basketball game recently.
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