NC State primarily focuses it's recruiting attention along the eastern seaboard. However, they have been known to dabble east of the Mississippi on certain occasions. In the case of OL John Gill from Bellarmine High School in San Jose, Ca, the talented line prospect actually recruited the Wolfpack and apparently the NC State coaches couldn't have been happier.
It's easy to understand the reasons for their interest based on Gill's performance at the Nike Camp held at the University of Oregon earlier this year. At 6-3, 285 pounds, he came away with the combine's top 40-yard dash time (4.9-seconds) of any offensive lineman, the best shuttle speed (4.52-seconds) and the No. 2 vertical leap (27-inches). However, it wasn't until Gill sent out his senior tape to the NC State coaching staff that the Pack began to show serious interest. Gill talked about what he felt finally caught State's eye.
"I'm not really sure," said Gill. "I sent them a tape and I guess they liked it. I think my film turned some heads. I sent out a junior highlight kinda tape and my senior one was just a lot better. I think that is what had a big part in it. So they called me and, actually, they called me a couple times and they offered me a scholarship. So I set a visit with them."
Gill talked about the improvements he made from his junior to senior seasons and the aspects he focused on during the off-season.
"I worked on getting stronger and faster," said Gill. "I got a lot faster. I played tackle and guard, I was able to pull more and that really helps make me quicker. I was just playing better playing, playing smarter and I had a little more experience."
That vast improvement has since resulted in scholarship offers from NC State, Colorado State, Vanderbilt, Fresno State, Utah, Wyoming, Cincinnati, Baylor, San Diego State, Nevada-Reno, Idaho and Oregon.
As things stand now, Gill has his interest set on a fairly solid top five.
Right now I have visits set up with Utah on Dec 3, Vanderbilt on Dec 10, Fresno State on Dec 17, Oregon on Jan 7 and NC State on Jan 14," said Gill. "The schools I have set up visits with, I would say they are my top schools."
NC State appears to have established Gill as a priority for the class of 2005 with the offensive line being a definite point of emphasis with the upcoming class. The senior lineman says he's been impressed with many various aspects of the Wolfpack program.
"Coach Mazzone is the guy recruiting me and he's very nice and good about calling me back when I call him.
"Another thing is they play in the ACC which is a really good conference. The distance isn't a big factor because I also have family, not in North Carolina, but around there. My parents would be okay with me going away from home. I've got a brother at Emory University in Atlanta. But State has great facilities and they are traditionally a good football team, I think they have been in a bowl game for the past four years so it's been a combination of that stuff."
Recruited as a guard or center, Gill says he will almost certainly wait until he completes his official visits before making a decision. With plans to major in Education and already projecting as a full qualifier, Gill made it clear that academics will play a huge role in his collegiate decision.
"The two things that will be the biggest deciding factors will be football and academics," said Gill. After that will be where I feel comfortable, the coaches and where I feel I can live for four years."