The ink has barely dried on the letters-of-intent for the football recruiting class of 2006 and, already, the NC State coaching staff is hard at work laying the foundation for the class of 2007. For months the upcoming in-state recruiting class has been lauded as one of the most talented in recent memory and the Wolfpack have come out with all guns blazing.
By our count, NC State has offered nearly 20 players from the state of North Carolina. That number is way over what would usually be expected by the first week of March. From the outer banks to the western part of North Carolina, the Pack coaches have identified targets across the state and the groundwork has been set for what should be one of the most interesting in-state recruiting seasons in years.
While still extremely early, Pack Pride takes a look at 30 of the top players in North Carolina. This list should not be taken literally as many new names will certainly surface along the way but it gives a start for the class of 2007.
Author's Note: This listing should not be viewed as a concrete top thirty ranking. Instead, it is simply an early listing of 30 prospects to watch headed into the spring evaluation period.
1. OL Trinton Sturdivant...6-6, 280 pounds...Anson County High School...Sturdivant is a super offensive tackle prospect that has already accrued better than a dozen scholarship offers including NC State, Georgia, Florida and UNC among others. Super all-around student-athlete. Attended NC State's junior day and the Pack made his early top three several weeks ago. He's more open now but UGA looks tough.
2. RB Ryan Houston...6-2, 240 pounds, 4.58/40...Butler High School...Incredible physical specimen that dominates on the high school. Most schools will recruit as a RB but has all the tools to be a dominating defensive end. Has earned several offers including NC State, UNC, Michigan, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Right now it's hard to say exactly who he may be favoring.
3. WR Greg Little...6-3, 205 pounds, 4.5/40...Hillside High School...Another fabulous skilled athlete with the talent to play any number of positions. Probably would make a super safety in college but schools will likely target as a WR. Offer count is approaching a dozen with NC State included. Watch out for the out-of-state schools, particularly Texas if they decide to offer. Keeping him home may be tough.
4. DE Kerry Neal...6-3, 220 pounds, 4.6/40...Bunn High School...Super talented athlete that makes plays where ever you put him on the field. Can block punts, run with wide receivers and make interceptions, drop back in coverage as a DE and snare interceptions, tremendous burst off the line as a DE and TE and has solid hands. Has ability to beat the tackle off the line and from there, it's over for the QB. Neal committed to ND in February.
5. DE Travian Robertson...6-4, 220 pounds, 4.6/40...Scotland County High School...Was sensational as a sophomore but missed most of junior season. Despite questions about his recovery, NC State, UNC and South Carolina have offered. Robertson, if he recovers fully from his injury, has all the tools to emerge as a dominant defensive end. UNC looks like a good bet early on.
6. QB/ATH Rodney Cox...6-6, 225 pounds, 4.65/40...Harnett Central High School...Cox will likely be one of the nation's top five jumbo athletes when rankings are released later this year. Could project as a QB but mechanics need much work. Has unbelievable agility and athleticism for his size. Could project at TE or DE. NC State has offered and many feel like the Pack leads.
7. DT Tydreke Powell...6-3, 290 pounds, 4.9/40...Hertford County...Run-stuffing, hard-working defensive tackle and likely the state's best. Has earned offers from NC State, UNC, Florida State, Virginia and Virginia Tech. UNC has been a favorite for quite a while and appears to be the team to beat. Powell's teammate, LaMarcus Bond is a 2005 Wolfpack signee.
8. WR Dwight Jones...6-5, 210 pounds, 4.6/40...Cummings High School...Super, two-sport athlete with fabulous size. Had a huge season as a junior with nearly 1,000 yards receiving. Chose UNC over offers from NC State, Virginia and Wake Forest earlier this month.
9. RB Tyrell Worthington...6-0, 185 pounds, 4.53/40...South Central High School...Hasn't received much publicity but was super as a junior. Rushed for 1,129 yard on 140 carries. NC State and Virginia Tech have offered with interest coming from Clemson, UNC, Virginia and South Carolina. Has no favorites currently. Pack recruiting as RB/DB. Also a baseball prospect.
10. CB Marcus Gilchrist...5-11, 180 pounds, 4.45/40...TW Andrews High School... another prospect with smoking speed. Absolutely electrifying on kick and punt returns and all the tools to become a super cornerback in college. Getting looks for basketball as well. NC State and UNC have offered so far and the Pack is in solid shape early.
11. QB Quan Sturdivant...6-2, 220 pounds, 4.5/40...West Stanly High School...Sturdivant has the tools to get a serious look for his ability as a QB in college. However, his combination of size, speed and athleticism could get him looks at a number of other positions. Boasts NC State and UNC offers. Nothing firm on his favorites yet but we think State's in good shape.
12. LB Barquell Rivers...5-11, 200 pounds, 4.51/40...Anson County...Early on, looks like he will be the state's most highly recruited LB. Doesn't have prototypical size but makes plays all over the field. Has better than a half dozen offers including NC State. State appears to be in pretty good shape early on
13. WR Steven Howard...6-2, 185 pounds, 4.45/40...Olympic High School...Game breaking wide receiver with tremendous speed and reliable hands. Has earned early offers from Wake Forest and NC State but will likely earn many more after the combine and camp circuit this summer. NC State, Clemson and Virginia Tech look strong early.
14. OL Desmond Roberts...6-5, 260 pounds...Northampton High School...Very talented lineman with a ton of upside. Moves extremely well and goes hard on every play. Has the frame to play much bigger. Good work ethic. NC State has offered and leads. UNC and South Carolina have offered as well.
15. OL Doug Weaver...6-7, 290 pounds...Person High School...Tremendous frame and moves well. Big, old nasty lineman that was impressed with his visit to Duke. In fact, he liked it so much he committed to the Blue Devils last September. NC State has offered.
16. TE/DE Wes Saunders...6-5, 245 pounds...Riverside High School...Saunders was a dominant player for Riverside in 2005 and has the talents to play either TE or DE on the next level. UNC and NC State have offered early but that is likely just the beginning. Saunders says he likes ND but the Irish have yet to offer.
17. LB Albert Craddock...6-3, 200 pounds...SW Guilford High School...Craddock burst onto the scene recently after rushing for better than 1,000 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns in just eight games of action as a junior. Picked up an offer from Auburn but jumped on UNC when the Heels offered this past weekend. Projects to LB in college.
18. OL Landon Walker...6-6, 255 pounds, 4.9/40...East Wilkes High School...Physically, reminiscent of Hutch Eckerson at this time last year. All-conference, all-county, all-region as a junior. The Pack recently offered at junior day but look for UNC and Clemson to get heavily involved and we think he'll have numerous offers before all is said and done. Solid student in the classroom.
19. LB/S Matt Thompson...6-2, 190 pounds, 4.6/40...Eastern Alamance High School...Head hunting defensive back that looks for contact and the opportunity to blow up ball carriers. Has solid size and ability to cover much ground. Georgia Tech has offered and State could be offering soon. We think he could grow into an OLB. Pack leads.
20. RB Daronte McNeil...6-2, 220 pounds, 4.6/40...Northeastern High School...McNeil is a big, physical RB with deceptive speed and quickness. Moves extremely well for his size. Doesn't have game-breaking speed but has the physical attributes that he could play anything from RB to FB to LB to DE. If academics are there, he'll likely become a very heavily recruited prospect in 2006. Louisville, East Carolina and Virginia have reportedly offered The Pack doesn't appear to be heavily involved at this point.
21. RB Carter Sharpe...5-11, 215 pounds, 4.5/40...EE Smith High School...big, bruising back with super strength, agility and decent speed. Rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior. Sharpe is currently hearing from UNC, NC State, Miami, South Carolina, Clemson, Florida and Wake Forest among others.
22. RB Jonathan Williams...6-1, 190 pounds, 4.5/40...Rose High School...people in Greenville rave about Williams and what he means to the Rose program. Super athletic ability could mean Williams could end up at RB, WR or DB on the next level. No reported offers at the current time but all the in-state schools are involved.
23. CB/RB Michael Bowman...5-11, 168 pounds, 4.4/40...Anson County High School...Bowman has good speed, balance and quickness but size could hinder him being pursued as a RB for D-1. Would appear to have the physical talents to become a solid cornerback. Could potentially play the slot as well. Reports offers from Virginia Tech, Florida and South Carolina. NC State and UNC are involved as well. No reported favorites.
24. RB Darryl Vereen...6-2, 205 pounds, 4.5/40...North Mecklenburg High School...Great size and a very talented prospect that could play RB, S or grow into an OLB. Rushed for 1,200 yards last year despite missing three games. Duke has offered with Virginia, Virginia Tech, NC State and UNC all in the mix as well.
25. S Emanuel Davis...5-11, 175 pounds, 4.6/40...Manteo High School...Versatile, speedy athlete that could project at several positions in college. Rushed for 1,154 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. Plays QB in high school.
26. CB Justin Byers...6-0, 180 pounds, 4.41/40...Vance High School... from same school as UVA signee Rico Bell. Had 70 tackles, three picks and three defensive touchdowns as a junior. No offers yet but lists a top five of Georgia, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Clemson.
27. LB Kyle Jarrett...6-3, 215 pounds, 4.5/40...West Forsyth High School. Big, hard hitting LB that tallied nine tackles for loss as a junior. Was receiving interest from schools around the country but committed to Wake Forest last fall.
28. S Julius Graves...5-11, 170 pounds, 4.5/40...Reidsville High School...Versatile athlete that has excelled at RB, WR and on special teams. Needs to get bigger but has decent speed and the ability to turn small plays into big gains. No offers yet but serious interest from NC State, UNC, Clemson, Duke, Wake Forest and Michigan. Graves' brother (sophomore) will likely be a serious D-1 prospect as well.
29. WR Dominick Magazu...6-2, 190 pounds, 4.6/40...Providence High School...Solid wide receiver with reliable hands. Not necessarily a game breaker but catches everything that comes his way. Good concentration and height give him an advantage over smaller DB's. Has an offer from Kent State and is looking at UNC, Boston College, NC State and Duke.
30. DT Marcus McLean...6-4, 280 pounds...Independence High School...McLean has good size, does a good job of getting under the opposing OL and pursues well. Plays for one of the top programs in the state. Not that quick and may project as an OL in college. Currently looking at all the in-state schools plus Clemson and South Carolina.
Others to consider
OL Rob Kent...Ravenscroft High School
OL Matt Ruff...Providence High School
S Carl Brooks...East Wake High School
WR Avyyd Baldwin...The Christ School
RB Josh Oglesby...Garner High School
RB Quan Warley...Thomasville High School
QB Brandon Miley...Hoggard High School
LB Melvin Ingram...Richmond County High School
RB Shawn Porter...Parkland High School
CB Tyree Bullock...Hillside High School
QB Darryl McPhadden...Independence High School
S John Stamper...West Forsyth High School
QB Dewain Clark...West Iredell High School
TE/DE LaMarcus Jenkins...Hertford County High School
ATH Kelvin Hardesty...New Bern High School
RB Kevin Snelling...Harnett Central High School