Ohio is not an area that NC State has regularly targeted in the past for football prospects. However, that's exactly where the Wolfpack coaches have gone to land as one of the favorites for two defensive standouts from Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio.
Defensive end Solomon Thomas has become a well known name to Wolfpack recruiting fans over the last several weeks. The talented defender earned a Wolfpack offer earlier in the year and is recognized as one of the midwest's top defensive ends. Apparently, while scouting Thomas, the Pack also caught a glimpse of another impressive Firebird and soon made an offer to linebacker Alex Kaufman.
At this past weekend's Nike Combine held in Columbus, Ohio, Kaufman checked in at 6-2, 220 pounds and ran a respectable 4.77-second 40-yard dash. His 4.25-second pro shuttle was even more impressive and he added a 31.2" vertical jump.
Last season, Kaufman did not put up eye-popping numbers from his linebacker spot but he did show a flair for the big play on defense. He finished off 2005 with 37 tackles but had nine tackles for loss, five sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles. The rising senior also snagged an interception and returned it 35 yards for a score. Kaufman was named all-league for his efforts.
For a junior in high school, few things are bigger than the dream of getting a shot at big-time college football. That was the case for Kaufman and he told Pack Pride it's something he's focused on for years. When his first major offer came from the Wolfpack, it left him stunned.
"I was sitting on my bed when coach called and told me NC State had offered," said Kaufman. "I just sat there smiling for like ten minutes because I couldn't believe it. I was on cloud nine for three days because I never thought something like that would ever happen. It was something I'll never forget and being that it was from a school like NC State, that was big."
While NC State was his first offer, it certainly wasn't his last and there will likely be more after an impressive showing at Nike.
"Well, my coach said Ohio and Toledo have offered," said Kaufman. "I've gotten calls from Duke and Michigan State and I've had a lot of contact with them. Michigan State, NC State, Duke and Miami (Ohio) are the ones that seem to be the most interested."
In the early going, however, it appears NC State has made a huge impression and Kaufman spoke highly about the Wolfpack program.
"I'm highly considering them right now," he said. "They're my top offer, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they're all about when me and Solomon visit down there this summer. They're a top school both academically and sports related.
"When I talked to coach Stroud, he was a really nice guy and he talked to my dad, too. I'm looking forward to meeting him this summer and coach Amato is coming to my school on Tuesday."
Another factor in Kaufman's recruiting could be his teammate, Solomon Thomas. He talked about Thomas and their relationship.
"Solomon and I were just named captains for this year," said Kaufman. "He is a super defensive end and a great teammate and friend. I know he's real interested in State because he's been trying to persuade me to come with him down there as a package deal."
Kaufman plans to camp at Miami (Ohio) and Ohio State this summer. He has not set a timetable for making a commitment and plans to wait a while to see which schools come forward with offers. Kaufman plans to major in Industrial Engineering in college, following in the footsteps of his father.
Alex Kaufman Video
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