Dave Doeren and his staff have made it a point to recruit the top talent in North Carolina, and if you look at their classes since arriving in Raleigh they've been littered with in-state standouts. Two of the top signees, Kentavius Street and Darian Roseboro, were regarded as arguably the top in-state defensive players in the 2014 and 2015 classes respectively.
Street enrolled in 2014 after a heralded career at Greenville (NC) Rose High School, picking the Wolfpack over offers from LSU, Georgia, and Florida State among others. At 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds he was recruited to play defensive end, but after adding nearly 30 pounds to his frame he's now projected to start at defensive tackle as a true sophomore.
He impacts on the field, but Street has also made an impact in the weightroom according to strength coach Jason Veltkamp.
"He is a physical specimen," Veltkamp said of Street. "He's making kids around him better. We're getting that from him where he'll influence those around him because of how hard he works.
"Kentavius, he's a great kid to work with because he soaks up any information you give him. He's always asking for more... give me more nutrition, more training... can I come get another work out in? That's Kentavius."
Because of Street's mentality, Veltkamp wasn't shocked to see him embrace the move to defensive tackle prior to spring practice.
"Coach Nielsen is a great coach, a great technical coach, and he pushes the heck out of those kids," said Veltkamp. "They trust him 100% and believe he knows what's best for them. Kentavius never questioned it. He said, 'let's go.' That's the kind of kid he is."
"He's looking good," added defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen. "He's really progressed fundamentally, which has been a big focus. Young players always need to stay on their fundamentals and the little things.
"He's done a great job. He had spring ball and now the first three weeks of camp, and we'll continue to focus on those fundamentals."
Like Street, Roseboro was rated a Top 160 player nationally by Scout.com. The Lincolnton (NC) High School star originally committed to Michigan before opening back up his recruitment and choosing NC State last fall. Roseboro, who dominated at defensive end in high school, enrolled in January and quickly had to adjust to college football.
"Darian is a big guy," said Veltkamp. "I don't think his high school was very big, and he dominated kids. When he arrived, you'll get brutal honesty from us, he had some things to work on. He needed to make some body changes. He needed to lose some body fat, gain muscle, and get stronger. He had natural strength but was a little raw.
"However, he had some strong hands. That is something you can work with as a defensive lineman. It's a big asset. As he gets his entire body and his core stronger he's just going to get better and better."
According to Veltkamp, Roseboro has already made major strides in the weight room.
"He has definitely decreased his body fat a great deal," he stated. "There wasn't much weight loss because he's added some muscle mass, but he's a completely different guy. What I love about Darian is you see his enthusiasm. He's excited every day because he knows he's better than he was the day before. He always has a smile on his face and is excited to go... every single day."
Roseboro has impressed his position coach with his development in the weight room and his mental approach to the game.
"It's a tremendous help," Nielsen said of having Roseboro arrive in January. "Anytime you get to go through the winter workouts, spring ball, and full summer workouts it can only help. He's changed his body, he's got a lot stronger, and it's translated on to the field.
"He's been great. He's focused. He wants to be good. He's willing to do the extra things. He does everything we ask him. He tries to do the most exact job he can possibly do, which is awesome to see in a young player."
A lot of times highly-ranked kids arrive on campus with an ego. Some believe they can continue to get by on their natural athleticism or gain an opportunity due to their reputation. However, Street and Roseboro appear to have a different mindset.
"We've added a couple of great, great defensive line prospects who had a lot of stars and the other guys might razz them a little bit, but they don't carry their stars around with them," said Veltkamp. "Those two guys comes to work every single day, and it's been fun to have them around."
Veltkamp attributes it to the type of athlete the coaching staff is recruiting.
"A big part of that is the coaching staff is not just looking at stars," he said. "They are going to dig deep and find out about the kid's character and work ethic. What is the kid about? Is it the attention or being the best player he can?
"This staff has done an outstanding job. I've been in meetings where they've dropped big-time kids because he wouldn't fit the culture of our team. We're a blue-collar team, and it's about working hard. That's what coach Doeren is about. If a kid is going to come in and take from that, they will stop recruiting that kid."
"I love this staff for that reason," Veltkamp added. "They do a great job of bringing the right kids in...whether they have two stars or five stars. With the right character and the right goals you can accomplish a lot."