Newly hired wide receivers coach George McDonald has only been on the job at NC State for a few weeks but in that short period of time he had a profound impact on the Pack’s most recent recruiting class.
Wideouts Bo Hines and Marquez Valdes-Scantling both decided to transfer late in the recruiting year which left the Wolfpack with two big holes to fill with signing day fast approaching.
McDonald jumped right into the mix and was able to help the Pack address one of those spots by adding Bethlehem (PA) Catholic wideout Freddie Simmons. Pack Pride caught up with McDonald recently to ask specifically about Simmons and the transition from Syracuse to NC State.
The Pack needed to add a couple of receivers late in the process. You were able to add Freddie Simmons to the commitment list. How did that come about?
It was hectic. I mean, these guys did a great job of setting this class up. At my old school we really weren’t taking any receivers but I evaluated some of the top guys just in case we needed one. He (Simmons) was a guy that was at the top of my board.
I just kind of kept track of him. And like coach Doeren said, once we got to the process here he started throwing out maybe taking a receiver and he was a guy I brought up right away.
What did you like about Freddie?
He’s long. He’s long and skinny and has great ball skills. He’s just an overall great competitor. He really competes hard on the field. He’s a great basketball player. He runs hurdle on track so he’s just a player that when you see his tape coming from that area he really jumps out.
We had a couple of kids from the same area that played for us at the other school and they were good players and so he kind of fit in with that line of guys.
How has the reception been across the state in the short amount of time you were out on the road?
It’s been awesome. I’ve kind of piggy backed with Des (Kitchings) and coach White. There’s some great talent here- from the young guys to the guys we’re signing. Like coach said in his press conference, there’s a lot of great players in this state that I’ve kind of been through at other schools when I had this area so I kind of know that the players were interested to be here and to be at a hometown school where you can really get in and really fight and compete to keep them here.
Will you continue to recruit down in Florida?
Right now I’m in the South Florida area. I’ll probably expand it a little bit from what I’ve usually done, but they really have a good foundation here from getting guys like Jacoby (Brissett) and those guys from West Palm Beach so hopefully I can add to it.
But like I said, when you sign this many kids from in-state it makes it more competitive to get the out-of-state kids.
When coach Amato was here... in the south Florida area, there’s still a lot guys down there that understand what NC State football is about so I’m excited to be a part of it.
What have your initial impressions been of what NC State has to offer?
I’m kind of like coach, being in a conference at two different schools you know what type of players you have but then when I came in for my interview and he started showing me around I was like, "Wow."
So I felt just like the recruits do when you come here and see the campus, the facilities and the tie in with academics... I was really impressed.
You know I’m just here to be part of winning a championship and coaching my guys the hardest that I can and have some success on the football field.
Is it strange when you think about the fact that you were on the sidelines this year coaching against the team that you’d ultimately move to?
Well, unfortunately that’s happened a couple of times in my career.
I think coming here was a breath of fresh air. I’ve worked with a lot of these guys before at different stops along our careers so I’m really excited to be a part of this building process. I’ve always appreciated it from afar from the type of play so now I’m excited just to be a part of it and continue to contribute to it.