Led by head coach Mike Palmieri, Charlotte (NC) Mallard Creek High School has established itself as the premier high school football program in the state of North Carolina. The Mavericks won their third straight state title in 2015 with a 49-6 blowout win over Greensboro Page.
Mallard Creek has become a favorite stopping off point for college recruiters working the Charlotte area but perhaps no program has had more success landing its talent than NC State. Maverick standouts Vernon Grier and Jaylen Samuels are already on the Wolfpack roster with star tight end Thaddeus Moss set to join them in the coming weeks. Grant Gibson has already committed to the Pack as a member of the class of 2017.
Pack Pride caught up with coach Palmieri to talk about his program, NC State's connections at the school, and much more.
Coach, why has NC State had so much success at your school?
I've known coach Doeren for a lot of years. He's a man of his word. Our kids feel comfortable with him. They go there. They feel like it's family up there.
They started off with Jaylen Samuels a couple of years ago, and he's been treated well up there. I guess he's talked to a bunch of kids in our program about how good it is up there and their coaches do a great job of recruiting our kids.
Speaking of Samuels, he was an underrated kid that virtually no one outside of NC State heavily recruited. He has already developed into one of the best players in the ACC. What did you see in him during his time at Mallard Creek and did you think he'd go on to be as successful as he has at State?
We thought Jaylen would be successful at NC State. You know, he had 55 touchdowns his senior year so he pretty much did everything for us so we knew he was going to be something special up there.
We didn't know where they were going to play him though, but they did a really good job at creating ways to get him the football. But he was actually a really good defensive player for us and we thought he could go both ways but we just knew he was special with his size and speed.
State has a commitment from defensive tackle Grant Gibson. Can you talk about him a little?
Grant's a phenomenal player for us.
He plays center and defensive line for us. He's a strong 4.0 student, and he's going to be a great asset for that program. He's been a leader. He's a leader in the locker room and he's played varsity here for four years which is no easy task. They're getting a winner and leader both on and off the field.
I think Grant could play either defense or offense in college. I know it's a little difficult in college. I know they want Thad to go play a little defense and offense. Eventually he could probably do it, but I don't know as a freshman.
What will Thad Moss bring to NC State?
Thad has football smarts and character and a winning attitude. He's relentless to the game.
He works hard every day in practice, and he's just such a competitor and he makes the guys around him better also. Thad has leadership skills and is a great football player on both sides of the ball, actually.