Pack Targets Impress at Combine

Duke University hosted the first of 12 combines this past weekend. Pack Pride was there and has the lowdown on numerous NC State prospects.

Dozens of the region's top football prospects were welcomed to's first ever US Army All-American combine at Duke University on Sunday. A clear blue sky and temperatures in the mid-70's made for a perfect setting and gave several of NC State's top recruiting targets the opportunity to showcase their abilities.

Easily one of the most impressive players in attendance was all-everything OL Carl Johnson from S. Durham (NC) High School.

Johnson was the most physically imposing prospect in attendance.

He came away disappointed with his 5.4-second 40-yard dash but his time was super considering the extremely slow artificial surface. At over 340 pounds, Johnson managed a 29-inch vertical leap. It is impossible to miss the fact that Johnson is a man among boys, even when paired with other talented players. In one-on-one drills, his combination of power and quickness was unmatched, whether it be as a defensive tackle or offensive lineman.

Johnson told Pack Pride that he plans to be at Tennessee's spring game next weekend but left no doubt that the Wolfpack is a team high on his list. He has visited the Pack numerous times and spoke glowingly of his relationship with coach Amato.

Johnson did clarify that he has decided not to graduate early so a decision from the potential five-star is a long ways down the road.

The Pack wasted no time in making an early offer to Deunta Williams from White Oak High School in Jacksonville, NC. On Sunday, Williams made it crystal clear why he'll likely be one of the state's top three or four prospects in 2005.

Although he, like nearly every other prospect in attendance, fell victim to a slow running surface, Williams managed a 4.8-second 40-yard dash. However, he wowed everyone with an astounding 41-inch vertical leap.

Recruited as both a wide receiver and safety, Williams worked out as wideout, and his size, speed and ability to create separation made him easy to spot in individual drills.

He told Pack Pride that State is currently in his top three and admitted that he was disappointed in the departure of former Pack wide receivers coach Doc Holliday. However, he said he was anxious to meet newly hired wide receivers coach Dwayne Dixon and was headed to NC State Sunday evening after the combine. Williams pointed out the fact that NC State was the school that seemed to get all of the state's top players and that was one of the factors that stood out for him with the Wolfpack.

He also reiterated that he and athlete Kendric Burney from Southwest Onslow in Jacksonville are set on being a package deal in college.

Speaking of Burney, he ran a respectable 4.69-second 40-yard dash and stated that he felt the Wolfpack may be close to offering. He has been instrumental in leading Southwest Onslow to consecutive state championships. The Pack is currently high on his list.

RB Brandon Minor from Varina High School in Richmond, Va was another of the event's big-time participants. He was suffering from a quad pull and spent most of his time watching on Sunday.

NC State has offered Minor and is recruiting the talented junior as a running back. He stated that the Pack is currently just outside his top five but he is close friends with Pack signee Alan-Michael Cash.

Varina head coach Gary Chilcoat had super things to say about safeties coach Manny Diaz and the job he did recruiting Cash.

Cornerback Ameer Salahudin isn't necessarily that physically imposing but in one-on-one drills, he was a definite standout.

Dominant in drills, Salahudin did so while sporting a nice green and yellow John Deere cap the entire time.

Sporting a green and yellow John Deere hat while doing one-on-one drills (how's that for confidence), he blanketed every wide receiver that came his way and played extremely physical.

NC State has offered the talented defensive back but is on the outside looking in currently. Clemson looks like the team to beat in the early going.

Here's a quick rundown of other talented prospects:

RB Josh Adams - checked in at 5-10 ½ and 171 pounds. Adams chose not to run or participate in the workouts.

CB Crezdon Butler - Butler ran a 4.59 and has received an early offer from NC State. Butler admitted that he didn't know much about State so it appears the Pack has some ground to make up here.

RB Johnny White - White is Butler's teammate at Asheville (NC) High School and is a little thicker than Butler. He ran a very solid 4.53-second 40-yard dash and impressed in individual drills.

RB Devon Moore is a silky smooth prospect from Cedar Ridge High School who managed a 4.59-second 40-yard dash. He may ultimately project as a defensive back on the division one level.


Most impressive players - OL Carl Johnson, S Deunta Williams - both showed they'll clearly be two of the state's best in 2005.

Player you'll be hearing more about in the future - WR Chris Bell - talented, rangy wideout with good size and skills. Bell ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash.

Surprise player that came out of nowhere - DE Dekoda Watson - Watson has good size and ran a 4.76-second 40-yard dash. He made a point to go up against OL Carl Johnson repeatedly in one-on-one drills and had the crowd oohing and ahhing after blistering Johnson around the edge on a couple of plays. Watson will need to get stronger but his explosion was unmatched by any other defensive end in attendance.

Sorry we missed you - WR Owen Spencer - Pack Pride was hoping to get a look at Spencer at the combine but he didn't make it up from Leland. The South Brunswick star could be on the verge of landing an NC State offer.

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