NC State will continue it's search for talented offensive linemen in 2005 and one name fans will most likely hear quite a bit about is Hutch Eckerson from Lumberton (NC).
Although Lumberton struggled to an 0-11 record in 2004, Eckerson has emerged as one of the state's top line prospects. At this past weekend's Shrine Bowl Combine held at Richmond County High School, the rising senior measured in at 6-6, 251 pounds and recorded a 5.09-second 40-yard dash. He also ran an impressive 4.61-second shuttle and bench pressed 13 reps of 185 pounds.
This upcoming season will mark Eckerson's fourth year as a starter for the Pirates. In 2004 he started at left tackle and saw action as a defensive end and defensive tackle as well. In 2005, he'll once again hold down the left tackle spot and will play every other snap on defense.
Although recruiting for the Class of 2006 is just in it's infant stages, the all-county and all-conference selection has already garnered a ton of recruiting interest from numerous big-time programs.
"I've been hearing from schools like Duke, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Maryland, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Auburn, Georgia and UNC," Eckerson recently told Pack Pride. "I get mail here and at school so I average about 10 letters a day."
Eckerson has yet to earn his first official scholarship offer but Virginia Tech indicated they may do so in May during the contact period.
Although the junior lineman is quick to point out that he's completely wide open in the recruiting process, he does have interesting connections to NC State. His father, Todd, was a 6-5, 280-pound tackle for the Pack from 1978 to 1982 and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1982 NFL Draft.
Eckerson has made numerous trips to NC State and was most recently on hand for the Pack's junior day held back in March. He had nothing but positives for the Wolfpack program.
"When I went up there I got a chance to talk to coach Amato, and I'm just real impressed with State," said Eckerson. "I've got a couple of friends from Lumberton who are older than me that are already at State, and they always give me the inside word. The facilities there are great. I've been going to games since I was young, and it's amazing to see how much it's changed.
"When I came up for junior day, just listening to coach Amato talk got me fired up, not just for State but for football in general."
Despite the connections to NC State, Eckerson says he is completely open to any school at the current time.
"Right now I don't know if I want to go far away or stay close to home," he said. "NC State is right here so I know what the deal is with that. But I'm going to look at everybody and everybody has a chance. I'm just wide open right now."
Eckerson stated that Virginia Tech and Virginia were recruiting him the hardest right now. He's yet to set any solid camp plans for the summer but has been invited by all the schools recruiting him.
Although recruiting correspondence fills his mailbox daily, Eckerson has no plans to rest on his reputation. He's already mapping out the things that he hopes to improve on next year.
"I was happy with the 40 and shuttle time I had at the combine, but I know I still need to increase my speed and strength," said Eckerson. "Really, I just want to get better all around. You've always got to strive to get better."
Eckerson plans to wait until signing day before deciding on a future college.