Commitment Tracker

QB Justin Burke led the way this weekend when he completed 21-of-41 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns in Lexington (KY) Catholic's 37-34 loss to Louisville (KY) St. Xavier. How did NC State's other verbal commitments do this past weekend? Read on to find out!

Defensive tackle Gavin Smith and Wakefield High School (2-0) have been the surprise of the Cap-7 Conference, winning their first two games in convincing fashion. The Wolverines defeated Green Hope 42-0 in the season opener and beat Wilmington (NC) Ashley High this past Friday 40-7.

Smith didn't know his stats for the most recent contest, but said he had six tackles and a sack in the opener against Green Hope.

"I think we've been the surprise so far," Smith told Pack Pride. "I saw where some people had us getting blown out in those games, and we ended up winning them easily."

Smith, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive tackle, is playing just defense this year after also starring at offensive tackle for the Wolverines in 2004. He was recruited by NC State to play defensive tackle, and is flourishing at the position in his senior season. Despite his very early commitment, several local schools are still pursuing the Wolfpack's first verbal of the '06 class.

"Duke's still on me," Smith said. "UNC and Wake are still recruiting me too. They are sending letters and stuff like that."

Next up for Smith and the Wolverines is a home game against Wilson (NC) Fike this Friday. He also plans to take the short drive over to Carter-Finley for the Wolfpack's season opener against Virginia Tech on September 4th.

"I'll be there," Smith said. "I'm excited. I don't know how good Virginia Tech is this year, but they won the conference last year so it should be a good game."

Justin Burke and Lexington (KY) Catholic (1-1) didn't have the same success as Wakefield this weekend, as the Knights lost a heartbreaker to the state's top-ranked team, St. Xavier, 37-34. Burke was outstanding in defeat, completing 21-of-41 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns with just one interception.

After committing to the Wolfpack, Burke's recruitment has really slowed and that was something he hoped would happen.

"It really did calm down which is what we wanted when I made my decision," Burke said. "It's exactly what I'm looking for. I found a place that I'm excited about and now I can concentrate on my senior year."

Thus far, Burke has been super for the Knights, as he has completed 33-of-61 passes for 446 yards and eight touchdown passes with just one interception. This week LexCath has a bye, and the Burkes will be taking another of many road trips to Raleigh, North Carolina.

"I'll be there... I'll be there watching," Burke said of the Wolfpack's opener against Virginia Tech. "It's going to be a heck of a game. I can't wait for that.

"That's going to be an unofficial visit, and I'm going to take my official during the basketball season so I can hang out with the players and coaches more."

Burke hasn't done too much recruiting for the Wolfpack, as he has been concentrating on his senior season. But he did say that NC State appears to be pursuing two of the other top players in the state of Kentucky.

"I think they are recruiting Luke Stocker, a tight end from this state," Burke said. "I also believe they are on Minton... Josh Minton. He's a real good defensive end from around here.

"I've talked some to Minton. We're on friendly terms. I haven't talked to Luke Stocker yet."

Wilmington (NC) Hoggard and Wolfpack kicker commitment Nathan Franklin begin their season this Friday against Southern Wayne High School. Like Smith and Burke, Franklin will be at NC State for the Virginia Tech game.

"I think we have a good chance," Franklin said of NC State's chances against the defending ACC champions. "It should be fun... it should be a good game."

Franklin is still receiving attention from Tennessee and "some other schools," but he remains firm in his commitment to NC State.

West Springfield (VA) is starting the season late this year, meaning Wolfpack kicker commitment Josh Czajkowski will not have a chance to kick his first field goal or extra point until September 9th.

Czajkowski was NC State's second commitment in the Class of 2006, and he plans on enrolling for the second semester so he can participate in spring practice.

No one will ever doubt his commitment to the Wolfpack, as shortly after announcing his decision to attend NC State, Czajkowski got a tatoo of NC State's logo on his arm.

He chose the Wolfpack over interest from Penn State, Maryland, and Virginia, and will join Franklin as true freshmen kickers for NC State in 2006.

Check back each Monday morning as Pack Pride tracks the performances of NC State's football commits.

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