Key losses...Jay Davis
Number signed at this position over the last two years...2
How important was this spot in relationship to other positions...crucial
Did the Pack met their needs based on sheer numbers...Grade A
NC State typically sets out to land at least one signal-caller in every class. That was the case again in 2005. The Pack was able to land Justin Burke relatively early in the recruiting season, effectively filling a critical position on the Wolfpack's recruiting board
Did the Pack get their top prospects...Grade B
NC State made early offers to Burke, Pat Devlin (Penn State) and Zach Frazer (Notre Dame) during it's initial evaluation of prep QB's for the class of 2006. Landing one of these three was a huge success for Wolfpack offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and the NC State staff. The Pack then turned their attention to College of the Sequioas QB Brent Schaeffer. Schaeffer made official visits to Ole Miss, NC State and Wisconsin before whittling his list to the Rebels and Pack. One of the reported points of contention between Schaeffer and NC State was his desire to be guaranteed a starting spot at State- a request that coach Amato balked at.
At his signing day press conference, Chuck Amato playfully mentioned a cerebral connection between offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and QB Justin Burke. When Burke visited NC State in late June, the two hit it off and that relationship played a huge part in NC State landing the prep all-american in early August.
What the Pack got was a player that some have a deemed a "thinking man's" quarterback. That seems to mesh well with Trestman's "cerebral" style which emphasizes the ability to make quick, smart decisions as opposed to jaw-dropping throws.
Burke's decision-making is best summed up with an eye-popping touchdown to interception ratio of 120 to 17. Those numbers are unheard of at any level but underscore Burke's ability to read defenses, locate the open man based on what the defense is presenting and then complete the play with an accurate throw.
Equally important is simply Burke's history as a winner. He was 34-5 as a starter during his career, including a 14-1 record as a senior and a 3A state championship.
Physically, Burke does not have the prototypical size that State has often targeted in its QB's. At 6-2, 195 pounds, he is more Rex Grossman-like than Philip Rivers exiting high school. Burke does have solid speed, however, and was timed as low as 4.58-seconds in the 40 at his high school over last summer. He also used that quickness to rush for 471 yards and seven touchdowns in 2005.
Academically, Burke is a fabulous student and could have enrolled at NC State in January had he chosen. While it is unlikely that he will unseat Marcus Stone as the starter for the Pack in 2006, Burke is the future at QB for the Wolfpack. An optimal situation may be for him to use the next two years to mature physically while adjusting to the rigors and demands of division one college football. When the 2008 season rolls around, the Pack could be unveiling a player with all the tools to become a huge star for NC State.