Class of 2005 Signing Day Superlatives

Pack Pride breaks down the standouts from the Wolfpack's recruiting class of 2005.

Biggest recruiting battle won: Kyle Newell- As late as November, NC State appeared to be a longshot, at best, to land Newell. Despite constant recruiting attention from the Pack, Newell seemed to be leaning heavily towards Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia. Finally, in early December the Wolfpack broke through and secured an official visit with Newell for the weekend of December 10. NC State has long used the strategy of trying to land their top prospect's first official visit to set the bar for future visits. However, Newell arrived in Raleigh with trips to Boston College and Maryland already under his belt. After the trip, the ever-quiet jumbo athlete never gave any hint that the visit to Raleigh was any better than the other trips already made. He continued on with official visits to Tennessee and Virginia, however, along the way NC State CB coach Greg Williams became a fixture at Newell's basketball games. Williams' persistence seemed to pay off as, just days after Newell's final official visit to Virginia, the SuperPrep All-American narrowed his favorite's list down to the Pack and Cavaliers. NC State has not fared particularly well against Virginia in recruiting prospects from the Northeast and several recruiting insiders felt it was just a matter of time before Newell declared for the Hoos. Reports surfaced saying that Newell would declare his commitment on Jan 26 although the day came and went with no word on his decision. However, Newell contacted coach Williams and head coach Chuck Amato on the evening of the 26th and let them know of his decision to run with the Pack. Newell's commitment was announced on Jan 27. He selected NC State over more than 30 scholarship offers.

One that got away: Dorian Munroe- The Pack had made a trio of Coral Reef High School stars a priority for the class of 2005 and in early December, the chances at landing the trio looked solid. The Pack secured a commitment from LB Avery Vogt on Dec 7. His teammate, Munroe, had made an October official visit to Georgia but watched as the Dawgs filled all of their defensive back slots. Munroe appeared to favor not letting another opportunity slip away when he made a verbal commitment to former Pack WR coach Doc Holliday on Dec 13, just 10 days after his official visit to Raleigh. However, as happens from time to time in recruiting, Munroe made the decision not to go public with his commitment. As fate would have it, Florida State would offer Munroe just two days later and on Dec 17, he made a public commitment to the Noles. That commitment wouldn't stick either as, on Jan 23 after an official visit to Florida, Munroe would change his pledge to the Gators. Ironically, Munroe's recruiting didn't end there. He continued to talk with the NC State coaching staff and there was some scant discussion that the 4-star defensive back could still be swayed out of the state of Florida. However, Munroe finally brought his recruiting saga to an end when he signed with Florida on Feb 2.

NC State recruiter of the year: The entire NC State coaching staff- It would be a disservice to name any individual for this category. After losing their offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and ace recruiter in Florida, the remaining six assistants- Mike Barry, Manny Diaz, Curt Cignetti, Greg Williams, Dick Portee and Todd Stroud- picked up the slack. The first order of business was to shore up the previous verbal commitments and the Pack managed to secure them all. They then went on to individually land prospects that would become key to a class that would ultimately be viewed as one of the nation's 25 best. Portee secured the services of all-american WR JC Neal. Diaz landed OL Julian Williams. Williams convinced all-american Kyle Newell to run with the Pack. Cignetti led the charge for the commitment of 5-star RB Toney Baker. Stroud landed Quentin Brown over Florida State, Florida and South Carolina. Barry convinced former Parade All-American Brandon Jeffries to bring his talents to Raleigh. (Previous winners- Joe Pate, Curt Cignetti, Doc Holliday)

Jewel of the class: RB Andre Brown- Our selection of Andre Brown is not a slight towards all-american RB Toney Baker. Instead, it is an indictment of the immense talent and potential of Brown. Averaging better than 100 yards per game this past year at Hargrave Military Academy, Brown has every attribute that college coaches look for in a prospect. At 6-2, 235 pounds, the incoming freshman dedicated himself to academics and the weight room while at Hargrave. Brown now possesses the size and strength to compliment his unbelievable quickness, agility, athleticism and toughness. It is easy to forget Brown's high school accomplishments after a year in rural Virginia. However, this is a player that led his team to a class 4A state championship and MVP honors along the way. He then went on to the Shrine Bowl, rushed for better than 100 yards and was named offensive MVP for the North Carolina squad. With a year to mature under his belt, Brown will be a major factor for the NC State offense in 2005. (Previous winners- TA Mclendon, Mario Williams, DeMario Pressley)

Sleeper of the class: DE Matt Kushner- Occasionally, recruiting can boil down to being in the right place at the right time. While hanging out in the Bethlehem Catholic gym simply to be seen by Pack prospect Kyle Newell, CB coach Greg Williams noticed a player with good size that displayed impressive agility and quickness. The player turned out to be DE Matt Kushner and the Pack quickly decided to evaluate the player's ability on the football field. One scout described Kushner as the prototypical athlete that doesn't necessarily impress as a junior, but explodes as a senior, seemingly out of nowhere. At 6-4, 255 pounds, Kushner ran an impressive 4.7-second 40-yard dash last summer. He followed that up with an amazing senior season, racking up 114 tackles and 10 sacks as a defensive end. Rated just a two-star prospect, Kushner will begin his career as a DE for the Pack but could be moved inside if he puts on weight. Given his natural ability and tremendous attitude, Kushner could emerge as a serious contributor for the Wolfpack in the years to come. (Previous winners- Manny Lawson, Jamesly Jean, Jeremy Gray)

Finally, a look at the academic standing of the NC State signees and where they visited. Academic information is based on publish reports but won't be certain until final GPA's are calculated later in the year.

Toney Baker...Qualifier...visited only NC State

Andy Barbee...Qualifier...visited only NC State

Andre Brown...Qualifier...visited only NC State

Quentin Brown...Uncertain...visited NC State, Florida State, Florida and South Carolina

Alan-Michael Cash...work to do...visited NC State and Michigan State

Curtis Crouch...work to do...visited Oklahoma, Florida and NC State

Jamelle Eugene...Qualifier...South Florida and NC State

Mike Greco...Qualifier...visited only NC State

Chad Green...must graduate....visited only NC State

Geron James...work to do...visited only NC State

Brandon Jeffries...Qualifier...visited only NC State

Garrett Kline...Qualifier...visited only NC State

Matt Kushner...Qualifier...visited Lehigh and NC State

Ted Larsen...Qualifier...visited only NC State

Jeraill McCuller...Qualifier...visited only NC State

Ray Michel...Qualifier...visited West Virginia and NC State

JC Neal...Qualifier...visited Virginia Tech, Maryland, NC State and South Carolina

Levin Neal...Qualifier...visited Virginia Tech and NC State

Kyle Newell...Qualifier...visited Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, NC State and Boston College

Doug Palmer...work to do...visited only NC State

Avery Vogt...Qualifier...visited West Virginia and NC State

Julian Williams...Qualifier...visited Virginia Tech, East Carolina and NC State

Littleton Wright...Qualifier...visited only NC State

Willie Young...already enrolled...visited only NC State


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