Paramount to the recent success of Wolfpack football under current head coach Chuck Amato has been the upgrade in team speed and athleticism. The Pack has made it a point to doggedly pursue the quality of athlete that can help NC State compete with programs the caliber of Miami, Florida State or Virginia Tech. The latest ultra-fast and talented prospect to express serious interest in the Wolfpack is RB Richie Rich (5-9, 180 pounds) of Wheeler High School in Atlanta, Ga.
Rich caught somewhat of a break last year. He entered his junior season as a backup tailback but found himself thrust into the starter's role after an injury to Wheeler's first string back. Rich not only put a stranglehold on the starting RB spot but did so to the tune of nearly 1,500 yards rushing and 12 touhdowns in just seven games of action. Averaging nearly eight yards every time he touched the ball, Rich finished off the year as the Cobb County RB of the year along with all-county honors.
This spring, he was one of the most impressive backs on hand at the Nike Camp held in Atlanta, Ga- ripping off a 4.44-second 40-yard dash and making his case as one of the top backs in the nation.
Rich possesses great speed but perhaps most impressive is his tremendous acceleration and ability to pick his away through traffic and then explode into the secondary. Apparently numerous colleges have been equally impressed as Rich has landed a boatload of early scholarship offers. StateFans caught up with the talented RB for the latest.
"Right now I've got offers from Oklahoma, NC State, UNC, Auburn, Duke, UAB, Wake Forest, UCLA, Tulsa, Mississippi State, Central Florida and Kentucky," said Rich. "Actually there's more but I can't remember them all."
With a plethora of schools from which to choose, Rich has but a couple of requirements for any school hoping to land his commitment.
"I'm planning on playing RB," he said. "I don't really like playing any other positions. I want a place where I can go in and play early and where I can play RB because I don't want to play defense. I don't really want to play anything except RB."
Rich is hesitant to narrow his list down just yet but several reports have him leaning towards NC State and Maryland.
"I'm really open to tell the truth and everyone's even but I guess I've grown more attached to Maryland and NC State."
Rich talked more about his feelings on the Pack.
"Well, they've told me I can play RB and I'd have the chance to play as a freshman," he said. "I really like their offense because they spread the ball around and it's like a pro-style offense kind of like the Rams. I'm planning to come up to State sometime during the summer.
"I've talked to Coach Mazzone. He's real cool and struck me as guy that knows what he's talking about."
That trip could be critical to NC State's chances as Rich indicated his decision may come in the not so distant future.
"I'm planning on committing before my senior season."