School: Raleigh (NC) Wakefield High School
Position: Defensive Tackle
It is important to keep verbals solidly in camp, and NC State's first '06 commitment, Gavin Smith, is still a major target for several programs.
Smith, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive line prospect from Raleigh (NC) Wakefield High School, committed to the Wolfpack after performing superbly at last summer's individual camp. He received a verbal offer from NC State assistant coach Todd Stroud just days after the camp and committed a few weeks later.
A terrific athlete, Smith posted 77 tackles, while causing three fumbles and recovering two others as a junior at Wakefield. He was mainly used as a defensive tackle, but this season he could see action on the offensive line as well as at tackle.
NC State was impressed with his intensity on the field and toughness, as he's also an accomplished high school wrestler. Smith was the 4A State runner-up last year after posting a 46-5 record.
Because of his wrestling background and exploits on the defensive line, it is easy to see why Smith has been compared to current NC State star Leroy Harris. Harris arrived at NC State three years ago as a 6-foot-3, 270-pound defensive tackle considered the state's top lineman in his class. He was also a standout wrestler for Raleigh (NC) Southeast High School, but after redshirting his first year Harris is now NC State's starting center and a preseason All-ACC selection.
Smith has made it known to everyone that he prefers playing defense and wants to do so on the next level, and NC State's offered him as a defensive lineman. However, other programs are still in the mix, most notably the Duke Blue Devils. Smith could see early playing time at Duke, but remains firmly committed to the Wolfpack.
"My commitment to State is still as strong as when I first committed," Smith told Pack Pride during the Shrine Bowl combine. "I'm not just opening up now. I've always been open to other schools and I told State and everyone else that when I committed. So, nothing has really changed for me. I'm not more interested or less interested in Duke or any other school. My commitment is still just as strong."
While the Pack won't discourage Smith from checking out other schools, they certainly won't take his commitment for granted either. He was the first recruit landed by NC State defensive line coach Todd Stroud and Stroud will remain as the primary recruiter for Smith in 2005. It's a pretty safe bet that Stroud will be working diligently to ensure Smith stays in the Pack's camp right up until signing day next February.