European Star Headed to NC State

NC State fans may not have heard of him, but the Wolfpack coaching staff knew all about Viernheim (Germany) defensive lineman Markus Kuhn.

"I actually committed to coach Amato at NC State in July of last year," Markus Kuhn, who is fluent in English, told Pack Pride. "I met coach Amato and coach Cignetti when I first visited North Carolina State last year and when coach Amato offered me a scholarship I committed to him.

"With the coaching change, I thought I would get lost in the recruiting process. The last time I talked to coach Cignetti was earlier this month in January. He was telling me that he wasn't sure he would still have a job, but that NC State was still a very good school."

NC State was still interested in Kuhn, a defensive lineman who impressed the previous staff with his natural athleticism and ability to make plays on film. Wolfpack Director of High School Relations Chad Jamison maintained contact with Kuhn, who quickly flew into Raleigh for an unofficial visit.

"I received an email from Chad Jamison saying they still wanted me to attend North Carolina State, and coach O'Brien was interested in meeting with me," said Kuhn. "He said the new coaches liked my tape and wanted to meet me, but it was so quick that they couldn't fly me in right away. I decided to buy a ticket with my dad to fly over and stay in Raleigh a few days.

"We arrived on Monday, and we will fly back on Thursday. This is an unofficial visit for me because we are paying all the expenses."

Kuhn, who has already reaffirmed his committed to the Wolfpack with the new coaching staff, loves the atmosphere in Raleigh.

"It's amazing," he said. "Especially if you're from Germany like I am... you don't have facilities like this. Some professional soccer teams have facilities like this, but there's really nothing in Germany that can top this.

"It's amazing."
"I've been to other universities also, but nothing can top this. I've been to the University of Virginia, UNC, some I-AA schools... it's just awesome here."

Kuhn was equally impressed with new Wolfpack head coach Tom O'Brien.

"I met him, and he's a much different person than coach Amato," said Kuhn. "I really liked coach Amato, but they are just different in some ways. You can tell coach O'Brien really thinks about everything he is about to say. He acts serious, and I think he just represents something special.

"He told me that he was looking forward to having me on his football team. He said it's something special to have an international player, and he was impressed when he saw my DVD. He told me that they are going to use me on the defensive line."

"I also met the defensive backs coach, coach Reed, and he used to play in NFL Europe," added Kuhn. "NFL Europe invites the best European football players to Tampa Bay for a tryout and I was invited to go there, but I turned it down because I wanted to play college ball."

Kuhn, who is already 20 years old, checks in at 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds. He stated that prior to departing for the United States he was timed in the 40-yard dash and posted a 4.79. Because of his quickness and athleticism, his club team, Weinheim, used him mainly as an outside linebacker.

"I'm 275 pounds right now, and I'm right at 6-foot-5. I used to play linebacker in Germany because they say I'm too fast for the defensive line, but in the states I think that will be different. I won't mind playing defensive line. I just like playing defense."

The talented athlete pointed out that in Germany individual stats don't carry the same weight they do in the United States. He starred for the Weinheim Longhorns, an amateur club football team consisting of players ranging in age from 15-20.

"We don't really do that in Germany," Kuhn said, laughing. "All I know is that I was the leading tackler for my team, but we don't keep the individual stats.

"I played a lot of positions for my team because my coach felt that I was the best player. They also played me some at quarterback, running back, and tight end. I've been on the all-star team all four years, and I was Rookie of the Year in our league my first season with Weinheim. I've been our defensive MVP every year, and so I've won a lot of individual awards, but I don't know the stats."

"I used to play linebacker
in Germany because they say
I'm too fast for the defensive line."

Kuhn received scholarship offers and interest from a host of universities, but he believes the fact that he didn't play high school football in the United States and is still mainly an unknown prevented him from receiving even more attention.

"Both the University of Virginia and Hawaii had offered me scholarships," said Kuhn. "Some other smaller programs had as well... they also wanted me to take visits and Cal-Berkley was showing a lot of interest. They wanted me to visit too. I think it could have been a bigger process for me, but I was more of an unknown because of my background.

"I can certainly understand why some colleges may have questions because I didn't play here in the United States. They may feel they can go and get an American high school player that they know more about, but I feel good to be at NC State. I think you want to get a degree and play with a good football team, and for me NC State is the best choice. Virginia wanted me to visit again before I headed back to Germany, but I won't be doing that."

With his commitment firm, Kuhn plans to return to NC State in April for the annual Red-White Game, and he will enroll this summer as he is fully qualified with the necessary test scores and college course requirements.

"I'm going to come back for the spring game and that will be my official visit," he said. "I will start in school the first summer session and that will be the 21st of May."

"My parents are really happy for me," he added. "My dad said it's really something special for Germany that a German player can get a football scholarship to an American university. My mom and dad say that I'm living a boy's dream."

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