Stock Is Rising

Lumberton (NC) offensive lineman Hutch Eckerson entered the spring as a sleeper prospect, but after performing superbly at various combines and camps he has seen his recruitment explode.

"Things are going great for me with recruiting," Hutch Eckerson told Pack Pride. "I have three written offers now from North Carolina, Virginia, and Virginia Tech. A lot of other schools like [NC] State and South Carolina have verbally offered, but the other three already put it in writing.

"I just went to team camp at Carolina. I learned a lot of good stuff up there, and I had a great time. Coach Bunting offered me a full scholarship the last day of camp. That was exciting, and they were real professional about everything.

"I went up to Virginia for their junior day, and I had a lot of fun. Coach Groh is doing a great job of recruiting me, and their entire staff has made me feel comfortable."

"Virginia Tech has offered me in writing too, but I haven't had a chance to go up there yet. The coaches want me to get up there this summer, and that is the plan right now."

What has Eckerson done to impress the college coaches?

"I just hear from the coaches that I work hard, and I can perform real well," he said. "They like my toughness and my speed. I'm only 260 pounds right now at 6-foot-6, but it's about how you perform on the field and not your size. I'll get bigger when I get in college, so I'm not worried about that. You don't have to be the biggest guy if you use the right angles.

"My speed is good too. I ran a 4.91 40-yard dash at the Carolina camp, and I'm always between 4.9 and 5.0 when I run the 40-yard dash. Coaches are telling me that's a great time for an offensive lineman."

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 even lived in Raleigh a few years back. Since both his parents are alums, he is an avid Wolfpack supporter and likes the direction the program is going.

"I've talked to coach Williams and coach Amato, and they are showing a lot of interest," Eckerson said. "They said they were pretty sure that they were going to offer me, but they just want me to come up so they can see a little more. That's why I'm checking out everybody else real hard. I know what they have to offer, and I know everything about them. I know a lot of people feel I'm leaning there because of my father, but I'm going to the best place for Hutch Eckerson."

Eckerson has five programs that have impressed him the most thus far.

"It's definitely Virginia, Virginia Tech, NC State, Tennessee, and South Carolina," he responded when asked about his top five schools. "I like the atmospheres and football programs of those schools.

"Actually, you can replace South Carolina with North Carolina since they have offered me already."

Is there a leader?

"I'd have to say Virginia is my favorite right now because they have shown me so much interest," Eckerson said. "I was treated like a part of the team already, and that meant a lot. Coach Poindexter, coach Prince, and coach Groh are all great guys."

Don't expect an early decision from Eckerson, who admits that he wants to wait as long as possible before giving a verbal commitment.

"I'm going to wait until Signing Day to make my decision, but I'll know when the time comes where I want to go."

Eckerson Notes: 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.

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