With less than four months to go before signing day, recruiting will become more and more of a priority for coaching staffs with each passing week. NC State will likely look to sign around 25 players in the class of 2007 and Pack Pride takes a look at the major names on the Wolfpack's defensive recruiting board.
Having two defensive ends taken in the first round of this year's NFL draft gave the Wolfpack a solid kick-start with their recruiting efforts at that spot for the class of 2007.
The Pack landed talented DE Linwan Euwell earlier in the year and he will likely prove to be a great addition to NC State's defense down the road. In addition to Euwell, State will likely work to add two or three more DE's in this class. Headlining the Pack's prospects are a trio of bluechippers including Solomon Thomas from West Chester, Oh, Adewale Ojomo from Miami, Fla and Derrick Morgan from Coatesville, Pa.
Thomas was an NC State lean early in the process and he actually initiated contact with the Wolfpack coaching staff. However, an offer from Ohio State changed all that and State's best hope at this point is to simply get him on campus for an official visit and hope they can sway him back in their corner. As mentioned previously, grades are somewhat of a concern and it may play to State's advantage if he qualifies late in the process.
It has seemingly been a two team battle for Ojomo all year between Miami and NC State. While the turmoil surrounding Miami's program may work in the Wolfpack's favor, the big question is whether State can win enough games to keep themselves in the race. For now, it appears the Canes may still hold a slight lead but State is right there.
Morgan is probably the most talented of the three and State looked extremely strong early on. He camped at State over the summer and has connections to NC State through his high school coaching staff. Ohio State was his childhood favorite growing up and he is probably most familiar with Penn State. The recent announcement that he would not officially visit NC State was a blow to the Wolfpack's chances although he still plans to be in town unofficially for the GT game.
State doesn't do package deals often but they very well might to land teammates Jameil Farrington and Maurice Harris from Homestead, Fla. Farrington will be in Raleigh for an official visit in December and State currently co-leads along with Auburn. This is definitely a player State can land if they turn up the heat.
The Pack has landed a couple of versatile players that could project at a number of positions. Both Curtis Bryant and JR Sweezy have the potential to play several spots including OL, DE or DT. State appears to have focused on at least three other tackles to help round out the defensive line.
Kyle Linney from Taylorsville, NC has been a Wolfpack lean for months but we feel South Carolina has definitely closed some of the gap. Linney is almost a must-have for this class but a nervous eye will have to be kept on Clemson and Tennessee as well.
The Pack looked dead in the water for Tydreke Powell from Hertford County High School earlier this year but they've stayed on him relentlessly and appear to have a fighting chance to land him. He grew up a UNC fan and they are still a factor but sources seem to indicate that State has made up some ground. First and foremost will be to somehow convince him to make an official visit to NC State at some point.
We haven't talked much about DT Terrell McClain from Pensacola, Fla but we think State may start to turn up the heat on him in the coming weeks. For now, Alabama looks like the main contender but if he doesn't commit to the Tide in the near future, look for the Wolfpack to set up an official visit soon.
No position is more critical than linebacker in the class of 2007. State desperately needs to infuse talent at that spot and they've got about a half dozen targets that they have a decent shot at currently.
Probably the headliner of the group in our opinion is Maurice Harris from Homestead, Fla. The Pack was the first to offer, has recruited him extremely hard and is also after his best friend Jameil Farrington. State has been named the leader and their promise of early playing time is likely a major selling point. Auburn is a team to keep an eye on as is Florida. Should either of them offer and go all out for him then the Pack's job becomes a lot tougher.
State has been strong for months with LB Alex Kaufman from West Chester, Ohio. While State seemingly forged an early lead for him, Kaufman has been tough to reach lately so we're not sure where he may be leaning currently. He also has an offer from Minnesota.
The top LB in NC this year has to be Melvin Ingram from Richmond County. He has been a player that has done a little bit of everything for the Raiders. NC State, South Carolina and UNC are the main players but we feel pretty good about State's chances. Grades are a concern and a year at prep school is a distinct possibility.
Killian High School in Miami, Fla has been kind to NC State and the Pack will hope for more of the same with their talented LB, Ronnie Thornton. State and Pittsburgh represent his top two but we feel the Pack has strong ties here. Look for Thornton to visit State in December.
Adam Herring is a new name to surface for the Pack. Herring is from Fayetteville, Ark and is the son of former NC State defensive coordinator Reggie Herring. Arkansas has offered but the Razorback's defensive coordinator said it is unlikely he will sign with Arkansas. Our sources indicate Auburn may be the team to beat and they have offered. We hope to have more on him in the future.
We continue to feel good about State's chances to land LB Josh Hartigan from Oakland Park, Fla. We thought the Pack may have landed him by now but it appears he will at least visit Pittsburgh before deciding. Hartigan is a January enrollee so he will decide in the not-so-distant future.
The Pack landed early commitments from Justin Byers of Vance High School and Dominique Ellis from East Wake High School and may take one more CB in this class although the pickings appear slim. The main target is Darin Baldwin from Homestead, Fla. By now everyone knows the story with Baldwin. However, he says he is now qualified and his decision will likely come down to Florida or NC State.
At safety, NC State landed an early commit from Chris Culliver from Garner High School. However, he has since earned several other offers and with each passing day appears to be more and more of a longshot to sign with the Wolfpack. He has been to numerous NC State games and has strong ties to several current commits and players. However, Florida State and Clemson have made the biggest strides and may hold the lead.
Another player State has recently offered is Charleston Sinclair from Jacksonville, Fla. The Pack may host him on an official visit in December. The main competition will like come from Clemson or South Carolina should they offer. His brother is currently at Clemson but short of a Tiger or Gamecock offer, State has a tremendous chance.