Linwan Euwell didn't expect to make a decision so early in the process, but he had a feeling a few years back that he wanted to play for NC State and when the Wolfpack offered a scholarship he jumped all over it.
"I've been leaning to them since my 8th grade year," he said. "I remember at the end of my 8th grade year my parents asked me where I wanted to go to college, and I said [NC] State. I used to watch them and see how their defense really gets after it.
"I've always been a State fan. I grew up one, and they had some of the things I was looking for. They've always had a great defense and with me being a defensive player that's what I've been looking at. I'm trying to go somewhere that I've got the potential to start and that has a great defense that can make it to the national championship.
"I'm trying to go somewhere that I can get a ring on my finger and get some pro scouts looking at me so I can go to the pros."
One of NC State's earliest verbal commitments, Euwell committed to the Wolfpack coaching staff while on an unofficial visit in May. His father joined him on the trip, and he stated his parents are behind his decision.
"My family was behind what I wanted to do," said Euwell. "They said it was my choice, and they are 100% behind me. All they asked me is that I didn't do anything crazy that would take the chance away. I need to keep my head in the books and keep putting God first."
|"I've been fousing there just trying to get better because that's where I'm wanting to play."|
The NC State coaches had to be happy to land a prospect like Euwell so early in the recruiting period.
"I think they were excited," he said. "They said I'm a good player, and I have a good work ethic... I think they feel I will be a good contributor to their team."
As a junior, Euwell tallied 98 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks while earning all-conference and all-state honors. Checking in at 6-foot-3 and 210-pounds, he projects as a defensive end on the next level, and wants the opportunity to impact early in college. After talking with the NC State coaches, he knows what he needs to work on before arriving in Raleigh.
"The State coaches told me that they need defensive ends so I've been working at it," he said. "I've been working on my take-off, my pad-rushing move, and my get-off move. I've been fousing there just trying to get better because that's where I'm wanting to play."
At defensive end, Euwell remarked that two of his favorite players were former NC State standouts Mario Williams and Manny Lawson. Williams and Lawson are now multi-millionaires after being selected in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
"I see that they went out there and worked hard and made it to the next level," said Euwell. "I need to go out there and do the same thing so I can make it. If I keep improving on my potential and keep my grades up, I'll have a good chance of making it to that level."
Colleges didn't back off of Euwell following his commitment to NC State. East Carolina had already offered and are still vigorously recruiting the defensive standout, and South Carolina offered a few months later.
Euwell also earned an offer from North Carolina after camping with the Tar Heels this summer. He attended North Carolina's invite-only combine and dazzled onlookers with his pass-rushing ability at defensive end. The Tar Heel coaches extended an offer that weekend.
"I had already signed up for that camp before I committed to State... I had already paid my money," he said. "I'm a man of my word, so I went up there with Sam [Battle] and Michael Webb.
"I'm still firm to State. I'm still with State, and I plan to keep it that way. I'm wanting to make it up to the first couple of games, at least until I make it deep into my season."
Like fellow commitment Steven Howard, Euwell admits that he tries to keep track of NC State's incoming class. He talks frequently with recruiting coach Curt Cignetti about the Wolfpack's season and the other recruits who have verbaled.
"I keep up with the recruiting,"he said. "I'll call coach, and after we talk football I'll see who all they are recruiting. I know they got Russell Wilson, Sam Jones, and I know the corner they have committed. I keep up with it to see who will pretty much be my teammates."