Sweezy informed Pack Pride that he committed to NC State defensive coordinator Steve Dunlap this morning.
"Yes sir, I just committed to NC State," he said. "I called coach Dunlap to let him know I was going to play there for him. He was really excited about it.
"I wanted to do it before my season, and I knew it was the place I wanted to go all along."
Sweezy, who was offered by NC State after impressing at the Wolfpack's invite-only combine, also held an offer from East Carolina and James Madison and believed an offer was on the way from Virginia.
A sleeper on the recruiting radar, Sweezy initially impressed NC State with his performance at the Ragsdale Shrine Bowl combine. Sweezy ripped off a 4.77 40-yard dash, a 4.67 shuttle and posted a 29.8 inch vertical jump. At the Wolfpack's camp, Sweezy measured in at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds.
He tallied 115 tackles as a junior playing linebacker for Mooresville but was offered a scholarship to play defensive end for the Wolfpack.
Mooresville will be counting on Sweezy to step up his game in 2006, and head coach Barclay Marsh has already noticed a maturity in his top player, who is now considered his team's leader. The season opener against Davie County is scheduled for Friday night at Mooresville.
"One of the good things about J.R. is that he was voted a co-captain by his teammates," said Marsh. "That shows that his team has great respect for him, and they see his leadership capabilities. For J.R. and the other seniors, this is their last time through, and I always tell them that it's not my team, I tell the seniors that it is their team.
"He's taken that leadership role very seriously. The biggest thing with being a leader is you also have to be a good player. He's trying to get the best out of our team."
"J.R. was a good player for us last year, but I would not have called him a leader," added Marsh. "Now I think that he is the leader of our team. It's not that he's a vocal guy, that's not his style, but he leads by example. People see it... and you can't miss him. At his size, you can't miss him."
|"He's a tremendous asset to our team."|
Opponents likely won't recognize No. 52 this year. Checking in at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds as a junior, Sweezy officially checked in at his team's first practice at 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds, and his physical development has even caught his head coach by surprise.
"It's one of the damnedest things I've ever seen," said Marsh. "Literally, he played for us at 205, he wrestled at 215, and he never had to cut weight... at the end of February he was 215 pounds. When we had spring recruiting and the coaches would come in and ask about his weight, I would say yesterday he was 235 and two weeks later he'd be 240. It's not fat either.
"He had weight training the last period of the day and worked like crazy. He would then leave here, go to a private gym, and work out there. He hired a personal trainer... his work ethic is unbelievable. His body has taken off, but his work ethic has helped all of that. He just turned 17... he's still a real young kid."
"His body has grown and he has become a weightroom warrior," added Marsh. "He's lost no speed, he's probably gained speed, and he's added 40-plus pounds. It's going to be a tremendous asset to him, and he's a tremendous asset to our team."
"My growth plates are still open so I hope I can get a few inches taller," said Sweezy. "I'll still be able to put more weight on, so I'm hoping to get up to 260, 270 or maybe 280."
A legacy recruit, Sweezy has always wanted to play at NC State, and now he will get his chance.
"Like I said, it has been my childhood dream," he said. "My grandfather played there as a fullback."
Sweezy checked in at No. 44 in Scout.com's Preseason Top 50 Prospects in North Carolina, but Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Miller Safrit believes he could end up much higher given his upside.
"With a strong year thanks to his much-increased size, he certainly would be a candidate to move up this fall," said Safrit. "Sweezy is a player with a great frame, a terrific motor, and good instincts from his linebacker position scraping to the ball and getting through traffic well.
"With his added weight he could be a dangerous player in space this year, but with that motor and a quick first step he certainly looks like a future defensive end in college."
Sweezy is NC State's 11th commitment in the 2007 class and the Wolfpack's 10th in-state verbal.
Pack Pride will have more on J.R. Sweezy in the near future so stay tuned!