Spotlight: Doug Palmer

<B>FAYETTEVILLE, NC --</B> Douglas Byrd High School has one of the richest traditions in North Carolina high school football, as NC State alum Bob Paroli has built a powerhouse program.

Paroli, a 1999 inductee into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, has won over 300 games in his 42-plus years of coaching, more victories than anyone in the history of North Carolina high school football. He has led Douglas Byrd to 10 Mid-South Conference championships and five Eastern North Carolina championships after arriving at the Cumberland County school in 1980.

A 1958 graduate of NC State, Paroli was a three-year letterman for the Wolfpack and this year he will see one of his best players ink with his alma mater.

Doug Palmer, a 6'3 290-pound interior lineman, committed to NC State after his mid-January official visit, and for him the decision was an easy one.

"I knew going in that I wanted to commit," Palmer told Pack Pride. "It was just a matter of talking with coach Chuck Amato about the situation."

An offensive and defensive tackle for the Eagles, Palmer was the only player who earned 2004 All-Mid Southeastern Conference honors on both sides of the ball.

"I just like to play," Palmer said when asked what it takes to excel along the interior line. "I want to make plays, and I think it comes down to just being tougher than everybody else."

Following his strong senior season, programs like NC State, North Carolina, East Carolina, and Wake Forest began to contact Palmer and gauge his interest in their programs. He was really impressed with what he heard from NC State assistant Curt Cignetti.

"Coach Cignetti and NC State started recruiting me after my senior season and right before the Shrine Bowl," Palmer said. "It was a school I liked, so I knew that going down to the Shrine Bowl would be big if I was going to get that offer."

Offensive Lineman Doug Palmer

A late addition to the Shrine Bowl roster, Palmer showed the analysts and college coaches in attendance that he could play with the big boys.

"One of the things you want from an interior lineman is an ability to play well in a confined space and an ability to pickup and maintain blocks," ACC Recruiting Analyst Miller Safrit remarked after seeing Palmer at the Shrine Bowl. "Palmer does a great job of doing just that, absorbing long arms and picking up things going on at the second level."

NC State's interest increased following his performance, and Palmer set an official visit with the Wolfpack for January 14th. NC State hosted seven offensive linemen that weekend, including talents like Garrett Kline, Jeraill McCuller, Brian Roche, and Curtis Crouch, another Fayetteville native.

Crouch and Palmer both talked about possibly committing before leaving Raleigh, and in the end they did just that.

"We talked about doing it all weekend," Palmer said. "He'd ask me if I was going to and then I'd ask him if he was going to. Tank Tyler was our host, and he just said if we thought it was the right decision for us then we should do it.

"So, when I went in to talk with coach Amato and he said they wanted me, I told him I was going to [NC] State. He was happy about it and said to just keep working hard."

Palmer returned home after committing to NC State and was ready to let his family know of his decision.

"They were happy for me, but I think they thought I was going to go to [North] Carolina," he said.

NC State's looking to use Palmer on offense as an offensive guard. Physically, he's ready to come in and contribute, and now he just needs to finalize his academics before becoming a member of the Wolfpack.

"I took my SAT on Saturday, and I'm pretty sure I'll get the score I need," he said. "I don't need to improve it that much, so it's a matter of time."

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