It didn't take but a couple of minutes before Joseph Scelfo made a bold statement about his upcoming year at NC State.
"We're going to win an ACC championship," said Scelfo. "That's the goal, and I know that's what they are trying to do."
Landing a player of Scelfo's caliber will certainly help the Wolfpack in the pursuit of the title.
Scelfo, a 6-foot-1, 295-pounder out of Bogart, Georgia, started the past two seasons at center for South Alabama. As a junior, he earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors after anchoring South Alabama's offensive line. He was named the league's top center by the coaches and the media.
Last fall he had a chance to watch NC State in action as the Wolfpack traveled to South Alabama to face the Jaguars.
"NC State handled us pretty good," said Scelfo, laughing. "I really liked the way they played. They were tough and physical... just took care of business. The whole game they were playing hard and after the game they were respectful.
"I just remember them being physical and getting after it."
Scelfo's decision to pursue a Master's in Sports Management played a role in him transferring.
"I've been thinking about it a lot," he said. "South Alabama doesn't have what I want a Master's in, Sports Management. So really I've been thinking about it ever since I graduated."
NC State was one of several schools pursuing Scelfo. Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas State, and Texas Tech among others reached out in hopes of landing a player capable of impacting right away in the fall.
Scelfo, who finalized his decision a couple of weeks ago and didn't take an official visit to NC State, felt like the decision was easy for him.
"There wasn't really too much of a relationship with NC State," he said. "I studied a lot about them and researched them, and it seemed like the best opportunity for me. I didn't visit, but we actually played at NC State my first year, and I traveled that game. I experienced the stadium and really fell in love with it.
"I just really believe in coach Doeren and what he stands for. I also like what coach Drinkwitz had to say about the offense, and I'm familiar with coach Ledford from his time at App State. They are in the Sun Belt, and I'd watch the cross-over tape when we played them. I respected how his offensive line played. I didn't know him personally, but I liked how they did things and how he coached."
How did the NC State coaches react when Scelfo informed them of his decision?
"There was a mutual excitement," he said. "I'm happy about it, so is my family. They are eager to get there and watch me play some games. They're happy for me."
Scelfo's father, Chris Scelfo, coached offensive line at Marshall and Georgia before serving as Tulane's head coach from 1998-2006. He followed that up with a lengthy stint as tight ends coach for the Atlanta Falcons. Because of his dad's ties to football, Scelfo grew up wanting to play offensive line at the highest level.
"My dad has had a tremendous impact on me," he said. "Being a college and NFL coach, having him around has been a big boost for me. I take pride in playing football, especially offensive line. [Laughing] There probably aren't a lot of kids who grow up dreaming of pass-setting, but that's what I wanted to be. I worked my butt of to get to where I'm at."
That mindset played a role in him being one of the leaders at South Alabama.
"I do take pride in being a leader," Scelfo said. "Being a leader, it's doing the right thing and giving your all... having a true passion for what you're doing. You can't fake things. People are smart and they watch how you carry yourself on and off the field. It's not always the best player, there's a lot to it obviously."
Scelfo is currently completing his finals and is slated to enroll at NC State on May 16th for the first summer session.
"I just want to help the team win and be successful," he said. "I'm a team player, and I always have been. I want what is best for the team. Right now that is pursuing an ACC championship.
"I'm thrilled. There's no other way to put it. I've had a chance to talk with the coaches and some of the players on the phone, but I'm really looking forward to meeting the team and building those relationships. I want to show them that I'm all in. It's about to be time to get to work."