It came as a mild surprise earlier this year when three of NC State's prominent football prospects, S Demetrius Morley of Killian High School in Miami, Fla, DE Vladimir Richard of Piper High School in Sunrise, Fla and LB/DE Gerald Williams of Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale, Lakes, Fla, all committed to the Florida Gators after camping in Gainesville over the summer.
Since the dismissal of head coach Ron Zook, Morley has committed to Tennessee while Richard and Williams have decided to explore their recruiting options.
All three still appear likely to make an official visit to NC State and Pack Pride caught up with Richard for his thoughts on the Wolfpack and the potential for that all-important visit later in the year.
Rarely in football recruiting do "package deals" ever pan out but the relationship between 4-star DL Richard and 4-star LB Williams appears solid. The two have talked repeatedly about wanting to attend the same college and that appeared to still be the case when we caught up with Richard this past Sunday.
"We (Richard and Williams) really like State's program and they've got a lot of young talent on defense and we liked that," said Richard. "The program is already good and it's only going to get better so we just liked that a lot.
"The thing that interests me about State is their defense. I just like the way everyone runs to the ball. They're close to being No. 1. It's a great program and they've got a great defense."
NC State head coach Chuck Amato and WR coach Doc Holliday head up Williams' recruiting and have played a huge role in simply making the Pack a player for the talented duo's commitment.
"Doc's a good guy and he's been pretty much straight forward," said Richard. "I've talked to Chuck on the phone and he came to see me during the spring and they just look like real good coaches that we could get along with."
At 6-4, 270 pounds and boasting 4.8-second speed in the 40-yard dash, many feel Richard may ultimately project as a DT on the next level. However, the senior prospect says that he prefers to stay at defensive end when he goes to college because of his love for going after the QB. Regardless of the position, first and foremost for Richard will be the opportunity to showcase his abilities early in his career.
"I don't want to go to a school and have to wait until my junior year to play," he said. "I want to get out on the field and see what I've got."
Perhaps the Wolfpack's willingness to give players the opportunity to play early in their careers is a major factor behind Richard's interest in NC State. Whatever the case, he plans to make his first trip to Raleigh later next month.
"We're coming up to State on either Dec 3rd or 10th, I'm not sure which one," said Richard. "But I know coach Chuck is going to be down in Jacksonville or Gainesville for the state championship."
With schools like Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Auburn hot on his trail, does the Pack have a legitimate chance of reeling Richard to NC State next year?
"I feel they have a chance," said Richard. "I have to see what they offer when I go up there."