It comes as no surprise that NC State has dipped once again into the Sunshine State for a chance at another of Florida's top prospects. After not signing any linebackers in the class of 2004 and with two seniors set to graduate after this season, the position has taken on critical importance with the Wolfpack coaching staff.
Pack defensive coordinator Reggie Herring had a chance to speak with one of Florida's top LB prospects in LB Ryan Stamper of First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Fla back during the May evaluation period and he clearly made a huge impression on the rising senior.
Stamper (6-3, 215 pounds, 4.6-seconds in the 40-yard dash) had a huge senior season- finishing off the year with 150 tackles, 12 sacks and three interceptions. For his efforts he was accorded all-conference, all-city and all-district honors.
During the spring, Stamper came away with scholarship offers from Clemson, Auburn, UNC, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Duke, Syracuse, Connecticut, Central Florida, South Florida, Maryland, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Interestingly, NC State was not one of the many schools that offered but they managed to make quite an impression nonetheless.
"The NC State coach, I liked the way he talked to me back in the spring more than any other coach I talked to," said Stamper. "He was saying they didn't have a lot of LB's and he wasn't recruiting me to red-shirt, he was recruiting me to come in and play early.
"He said they had some disappointments last year when two LB's they thought they were going to get, didn't come. They didn't get any LB's in last year's class so to me, that was a good thing. He seemed like a really good coach to me and he was talking about the LB's he's coached in the pro's.
"We had hoped to come up to State this summer and visit them and the other North Carolina schools but it fell through. I hope I can come back on an official visit."
Stamper was able to attend several camps this summer however and at least a couple of the schools on that list have emerged as serious contenders for the talented ‘backers commitment.
"I went to Clemson and Auburn to check out what they had to offer and we went to the UCF and USF camps to really try to work on getting better and maybe help some of our other players get a scholarship," said Stamper. "I would say Clemson and Auburn are recruiting me the hardest right now. I have a lot of interest in Clemson. In fact I just left Paul's (Clemson verbal commit Paul Muse) house and he was talking to me about going to Clemson. But I don't think I'll make a decision until I take my visits. Right now my top five would be Auburn, Clemson, NC State, Tennessee and Georgia Tech."
Stamper hopes to major in Business or some medical-related field. He's also got a couple of factors he'll be paying close attention to when he begins his official visits later this year.
"At first I wanted to stay close to home but now that's not a problem," he said. "I'm looking at early playing time and when I take my visits, just see where I feel most comfortable."