2/10/04: Coaches Corner Recap with Bob Lacivita

This week's "Coaches Corner" at Playmaker's Cafe featured Football Director of Operations Bob Lacivita, with the luncheon's main focus being recruiting.

Here are some of the key notes that Coach Lacivita discussed with the Wolfpack fans in attendance at Playmakers today.

- Coach Lacivita began by saying this past signing day was probably the most tense thus far in the Amato era because there were several prospects still left considering the Wolfpack. He also felt that future years will continue to be that way because NC State recruit's prospects who will make signing day decisions.

- Overall, the staff was pleased with how the class turned out because it addressed several needs, mainly at the running back and defensive line positions. In Andre Brown and Darrell Blackman the staff believes they landed two of the top running backs in the country and both can contribute early. Also, in the ACC (which finished the year as the best conference in the nation per Sagarin ratings) you must have a strong defense and it all starts up front with the defensive linemen. Overall NC State did well there and the recruiting class is one of the best yet.

- Mr. Lacivita then discussed highly regarded prospect Demario Pressley, who is generally regarded as the top defensive tackle in the country. He's an "oustanding" prospect and a great young man, who just so happened to be an in-state target. From a personnel and perception stand point, landing Pressley was huge for the program.

- When asked about the players we missed on signing day (who announced that day), Coach Lacivita pointed out several who had given indications that they would run with the Wolfpack. Safety Lovon Ponder reportedly informed Coach Doc Holliday at 7:30 AM on Wednesday morning that he would sign with NC State, only to ink with Miami at his 10:00 AM press conference. New Jersey OL Ell Ash told the staff on Sunday before signing day that he was coming, but he signed with Tennessee. S Rashaun Jones did the same on Monday... before committing to Miami on Tuesday. QB Brent Schaeffer never actually committed, but NC State felt they had a very good shot at him, although he signed with Tennessee. Coach Lacivita feels that this happens in recruiting and the staff understands that it is a part of the business.

- When discussing the types of recruits NC State targets, Coach Lacivita said that they look for players who can help them win. He specifically mentioned that if the Wolfpack feels a player can't help them beat Florida State then they won't sign him. Their goal is to win the national championship and it takes players of that caliber to reach the ultimate goal. NC State will continue to be stingy with scholarships and only take players who can help them win.

- There are 2 or 3 slots left to give out this year if a prospect becomes available, but the Wolfpack loses only 16 seniors next season, so look for those slots to be held over to use next year.

- One question centered around who is considered a "sleeper" in the class and Coach Lacivita feels that CB Jeremy Gray fits the criteria. Gray is 6'3 185 pounds and #1 in the state of Alabama in the long jump. He's a very good cover corner who is physical, athletic, and can cover all the routes. Gray's also a good kid who is fully qualified and comes from a strong family. Auburn (which is 8 miles from Opelika, Gray's hometown) really turned up the heat late but it was too late as Jeremy had fell in love with NC State. Coach Lacivita thinks he will really fit in well with what NC State does on defense and he has a bright future with the Wolfpack.

- Defensive Line prospects were targeted hard by NC State and the staff thinks they landed several good ones. Coach Amato wants linemen who can run sideline-to-sideline, and they have players like that already here in Mario Williams, Johnny McCargo, Dwayne Herndon, James Martin, Mo Charles, etc... but NC State added even more this season. Pressley is an outstanding prospect who is very flexible and can run. Hargrave DL Brandon Setzer is 6'5 280 pounds and very athletic. At the Hargrave combine he had a 36 inch vertical jump and ran the 40 in just over 5 flat... great numbers for a player of his size. Another athlete NC State picked up was lineman Gerard Miller. At a Shrine Bowl combine, Miller ran an impressive 4.68 in the 40-yard dash, which at 6'3 270 pounds is scary good. Athletes such as these will go along way to improving NC State's defensive front, according to Coach Lacivita.

- NC State signed four Parade All-Americans this year in RB Darrell Blackman, RB Andre Brown, DT Demario Pressley, and K Tyler Lewis.

- When talking about Darrell Blackman, Coach Lacivita kept using the word "dominant." Blackman's been dominant at every level he's played, and in a four back rotation at Hargrave he was the best. Darrell will come in next season and compete right away for playing time.

- Tight End prospect Anthony Hill (also out of Hargrave) is in the 6'5 275 pound range and ran a 4.78 40 yard dash at the Hargrave combine. He's another great athlete that NC State picked up.

- Junior College All-American OL Merci Falaise is currently enrolled at NC State and working out with the team. He's a tough kid who is very smart and more then holding his own already. Falaise will add another weapon to the NC State offensive line, along with getting a healthy Chris Colmer back.

- The aformementioned Colmer is going through morning workouts and rehab with the team. The staff is hopeful that he will be back out there next season with the Wolfpack.

- Raleigh (NC) QB Daniel Evans was a good pickup for NC State. He's a very smart QB who has a good arm and Coach Lacivita thinks he can be an outstanding quarterback while at NC State. The staff was well aware of Evans and feels that he fits into what NC State wants to do on offense.

- When asked about a player NC State landed on the "fast lane," Coach Lacivita began by discussing Riviera Beach (FL) Wide Receiver DaJuan Morgan. Morgan, who is already qualified to play as a freshman, signed with NC State after having his scholarship pulled from Ohio State for academic reasons. He had a hip injury that kept him from playing as a senior, but Wolfpack doctors gave him a clean bill of health on his visit. Based on his junior film, Coach Lacivita thinks that Morgan is a great, great prospect who could excel at a number of positions. Essentially, look for him to be a dynamic player while at NC State.

- NC State beat out Miami for John Dunlap and Octavious Darby, two players who could have went almost anywhere. When this happens, other players take notice and it's good exposure for NC State.

- Coach Lacivita ended his session by saying that he's read where prospects have pointed out that NC State's official visit was there best, even if those players didn't sign with NC State. He thinks this is due to the outstanding facilities, the beautiful city of Raleigh, the academic support staff that helps out with the program, and the players/coaches who are already here.

Those were some of the points that Football Director of Operations Bob Lacivita discussed at this week's Coaches Corner held at Playmaker's Cafe.

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