This year, perhaps more than any other, has proven that NC State head coach Chuck Amato really did graduate from the Bobby Bowden school of recruiting. It's become almost a yearly ritual for Seminole fans to fret with each passing minute as signing day approaches and that sentiment has become quite popular for Wolfpack fans as well. However, the table has been set for the Pack to close with a flurry of solid commitments and Pack Pride breaks the possibilities down with just two weeks remaining to signing day.
Perhaps no prospect has drawn as much attention from the Wolfpack nation as QB Brent Schaeffer. Clearly, he is the highest rated recruit left on the Pack's board with a decision looming this Friday. In the Pack's favor is simply the loyalty they've shown Schaeffer during two recruiting cycles. While it would be foolish to try to predict where Schaeffer will end up, we do know that coach Stroud was in-home with the Schaeffer family on Monday morning. The Wisconsin staff will visit Schaeffer on Tuesday and the Ole Miss staff will visit with him on Wednesday. Ironically, NC State lost Schaeffer during the first go around to a late in-home visit from Tennessee. It will be interesting to see how this week plays out but we feel confident it's likely a toss-up between Ole Miss and NC State.
DE Audie Augustine from Oakland Park, Fla is a three-star rated DE that has basically narrowed his choices to NC State and Pittsburgh. The Pack has made great in-roads with the Augustine family and has an obvious need at the DE spot. We think it likely that the Pack picks him up after his official visit to NC State on Jan 27.
Three-star ATH LaMarcus Bond from Ahoskie, NC has been high on the Wolfpack all year. He has made an official visit with the Pack and East Carolina and will visit Virginia later this month. While we've felt Bond to be a heavy NC State lean for weeks, we received even more information this week to suggest the Pack is clearly the team to beat.
Palm Beach Gardens RB/LB Emanuel Cook may be one of the more under-rated prospects from the state of Florida this year. While listed as a three-star prospect, Cook had a five-star season and it would appear South Carolina, Rutgers and NC State have emerged as the main contestants. Rutgers is recruiting Cook as a MLB while South Carolina projects him as a strong safety. NC State has told Cook they will let him choose his position although LB would probably get him on the field quickest- and early playing time may be Cook's biggest consideration. Visits with the Gamecocks and Minnesota loom in the distance, but with Cook's closeness to Willie Young a factor and the Pack's ties to south Florida, we really like the potential of a signing day surprise for the Pack.
DE Marcus Broxie from Tampa, Fla has been a relative unknown to recruiting gurus but his stock has soared during the month of January. He has picked up several scholarship offers over the last two weeks and emerged as a major target for the NC State staff. Broxie will host coach Amato in-home on Thursday with a decision likely on Thursday night or Friday. The Pack looks particularly strong in this battle.
When we interviewed Broxie on Sunday night, he mentioned WR Donald Bowens from St Petersburg, Fla talking about how he could see himself definitely playing at NC State. The three-star prospect will visit Virginia this weekend, but we think there's a solid chance the Pack could land him next week.
Perhaps no prospect has been closer to the hearts of Wolfpack fans than OL Hutch Eckerson from Lumberton, NC. The three-star OL has deep family ties to the Wolfpack family but his recruiting has seemingly been an uphill struggle since day one. After a visit to Columbia over the weekend, Eckerson announced Virginia Tech and South Carolina as his top schools. However, Pack coaches Curt Cignetti and Greg Williams reportedly made an in-home visit with Eckerson on Monday and may have made up some ground for the Wolfpack. It may be absolutely essential for the Pack to attempt to bring Eckerson in on an unofficial visit on Jan 27 to have any shot at landing him. Right now, Eckerson would still appear to be a longshot.
The Pack definitely needs LB's and three-star prospect Antonio Lowery from Miami, Fla certainly fits the bill. State did a great job with their official visit a few weeks ago and will reportedly go in-home with him this Wednesday. Lowery may still visit Pittsburgh but it's not out of the realm of possibility to see him make a decision this week although that may be a slight stretch. However, a commit to State wouldn't surprise us.
OL Ryan Wischnefski from Melbourne, Fla is an impressive prospect that the Pack decided to offer in the last week. There's no secret that he favors Florida State but with the Noles getting a commitment from OL Brandon Davis, we think it unlikely FSU offers. As things stand now, and short of a Seminole offer, we feel Wischnefski could commit to NC State following an official visit to Florida Atlantic this weekend.
Three-star S Darin Baldwin from Homestead, Fla has been another critical recruit to the Wolfpack nation for much of the last year. At this point, it has become increasingly evident that Florida is unlikely to offer. The Wolfpack staff will reportedly go in-home with Baldwin and teammate Jevon Walker on Thursday and we really like the chances of this duo ending up in Raleigh.
TE Rashad Phillips from Virginia Beach, Va will likely see a nice bounce in his recruiting rankings before all is said and done after picking up several solid offers over the last two months. For now, it would appear Syracuse and NC State are the front-runners and we feel really good about NC State's chances, especially after the Pack's in-home visit on Monday. A decision could come as early as Thursday and this could be a solid breakthrough for NC State into the Tidewater area of Virginia.
Based on information we've heard, Marcus Lind from Ft Lauderdale, Fla is one of the top OL still on the Wolfpack's board. According to one report we heard, Duke put a squeeze play on Lind this weekend and gained his commitment. However, the Pack continues to pursue him and will make an in-home stop this week. If the Pack can convince him to make an official visit to State this weekend, then the Pack will have a fighting chance.
SuperPrep all-american Josh Adams from Cary, NC is the highest ranked in-state recruit still on the board for NC State. The Pack has been in a tough position all along due to the talented freshman duo of Toney Baker and Andre Brown. At this point, it would appear Wake Forest may hold a slight upper hand but we expect State to put an all out blitz on Adams this week, concluding with an official visit this weekend. It's worth noting that Adam's stepfather is a huge NC State fan and that's a plus for the Pack. Also, Adams has made countless unofficial trips to NC State over the last two years. What it may boil down to is how good of a job NC State can do to make Adams feel like a part of the Wolfpack family. If that happens, the Pack may just be able to land him.
Finally, it would be foolish to call DL Aleric Mullins from Wendell, NC anything but a long shot for the Pack at this point. However, there are some points in the Pack's favor. NC State was the first to offer. State has had obvious success with preparing DL for the next level and there will be ample playing time available for him in Raleigh over the next several years. There are also a couple of former NC State grad assistants working at East Wake now. While Tennessee is still the smart play for Mullins, we would list him as the one possible surprise for the Pack between now and signing day.