LB Brandon Spikes from Crest High School in Shelby, NC wears No. 33 for the Chargers. He's likely to own as least that many scholarship offers before all is said and done with his recruiting in 2006. Listed at 6-4, 235 pounds, Spikes almost appears to have an unfair physical advantage on the football field and that's resulted in offers from all over the nation including schools like NC State, UNC, Florida, Miami, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Ohio State just to name a few.
Last season Spikes collected 95 tackles, three sacks and seven interceptions while leading his Crest squad to their second state title in as many years.
This past Saturday Spikes was all over the field at the final Shrine Bowl combine held at UNC. While most analysts have pencilled the all-american in as a future defensive end in college, Spikes showed the speed, reaction skills and aggressiveness to excel as a LB in college. It was also clear that just his presence on the field gave a boost to the defenders around him despite the fact most had never met him. Whenever his rotation would come onto the field they immediately began whooping and hollering- led by Spikes. He told Pack Pride that aspect of his game is just business as usual.
"This is what I live for everyday," said Spikes. "This is football. I just try to make everybody around me feel the way I feel. The adrenaline and energy flowing through me helps keep the players pumped. I guess you can call it leadership."
With schools from basically every school in the nation involved, anyone who wants to contend as a serious player for his commitment will have to sell him on the opportunity to play LB. Spikes talked about why the position is so important in his recruiting.
"I feel like linebacker is where I can read the offense and use my vision to see things happen before they actually happen," he said. "I really feel like that's the position where I can contribute the most to the team."
Although he has named a top five of Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan, NC State and LSU previously, Spikes now shies away from naming favorites and declares he is basically open to any school recruiting him. However, he couldn't help but name a couple of the schools that have really caught his eye to date.
"Miami stands out, and Oklahoma too," Spikes said. "I just came up watching them and the reason I play the way I do is from watching Miami. I'm just going to take my time and it may take a while but it's four years of my life so I've got to do it right."
While some may consider NC State a long shot, the Wolfpack coaches have treaded in these waters before and they won't be backing off anytime soon. Spikes said he may not officially visit State due to its proximity to Shelby- a fact that the Wolfpack staff will likely have to undo before official visits start in earnest next December. However, the Pack is a team on his radar and the possibility of hitting the field early is a major selling point.
"State has a chance," said Spikes. "They're in-state for one thing. They aren't too far away. But I'm saying right now that I'm open for everybody and NC State is an option, too.
"The thing about State is their front four is pretty good and all four are about to go first round. So that's one thing- they have a great front four. And really, just the opportunity to play early there. The depth chart looks good and that's why I'm giving them a look."
Without question, Spikes will be one of the top two prospects in the state this year and easily the top defender. You can count on him being a hot item for NC State fans right up through signing day 2006.