O'Brien: 'We're Excited About This Class'

RALEIGH, NC -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media today to discuss his 2007 recruiting class. Here is the audio from coach O'Brien's press conference.

O'Brien: 'We're Excited About This Class'
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Tom O'Brien Press Conference

Opening Statement:
We have received letters from 21 players today. I think this staff did an excellent job for being able to recruit three weeks, to put together a class like this.

What we did is try to look at the kids they had committed previously, when we looked at that committed list plus the thought they had three skill kids already in school, it was pretty obvious that we needed to bring more linemen in this program.

Our focus had been to maintain the linemen they had recruited and go find some more guys that could play in the offensive and defensive line.

We went back to kids that we knew about, had history with, had either been in our camp, or we had recruited in the past. I think one thing that is important is to know about the character of a kid, his work ethic, and everything else involved.

I was very happy with the athleticism of the skill kids that they had committed here. With those three individuals that came in, more than half the class is kids from out of the state of North Carolina which will definitely be a point of emphasis for us here.

Are you expecting anymore?
There is one individual that we're still in the process of recruiting. That hasn't been resolved yet.

Have you had a chance to evaluate the talent here?
We've looked at them... I know the coaches have looked at tape from last year, but as I said earlier, we're going to try and refrain from making judgements on kids until we can coach them in spring practice.

There is a want-to... I think these kids want to be a good football team and that's a good start.

When people talk about recruiting they talk about stars, how much emphasis or lack of emphasis do you put on that? Do you worry about that?
No I think that's really good for the alumni and the chat rooms and all that... it causes conversation which is good.

If I look back, we had been ranked four of the last six years in the top 25, one year I think we were #26, and I wouldn't say that we ever had a ranked recruiting class.

How much is that worth? I thought it was a great article in the paper about Wake Forest and there way to go about recruiting, which is something that we've always been involved in. We worry about kids that fit our profile at the school's that we were at and then we coached them. That's the bottomline.

These kids, we were very happy with the athleticism in this class, and as I said a lot of them we know about and we're learning more and more about the kids that had been committed before. They have the right work ethic and they look athletic enough that we can make something out of them.

In terms of keeping the top players in the state, has that been difficult and will it be a problem here?
Well I don't know if you could say... we only had three weeks. A lot of the top players in the state had already been committed somewhere else or had ideas where or what they were doing and didn't include North Carolina State in their plans.

That will definitely be an emphasis for this staff. We divided the state into nine different pieces of the pie and we're going to try to make sure this spring we're in every high school in this state and do that every year... to get a rapport with the high school coaches and they are a part of the process too.

As I go back, you have those ten and the three individuals who started school in January and that brings the number to 13.

Do you find yourself having to study the state?
Some of our people, Jerry Petercuskie our recruiting coordinator, he's recruited this state before. Jim Bridge, who was the recruiting coordinator at The Citadel, he's recruited this state before. Andy McCollum has been around this state before... I've been around this state in the three weeks and talked to some coaches... it's about building relationships and I definitely think I've got the right staff who is going to go out there and do that with these coaches.

Thoughts on George Bryan:
We liked his athleticism and we certainly liked his size. He looks like the type of player that can help us down the road, and the institutional motivation in his situation is very strong for him to come to NC State, which is very good.

Do you feel any pressure to make a big splash in recruiting?
No, not really. It goes back to recruiting what we were able to sign and we're very comfortable with this list of people that we signed right now. That's what we've got to be concerned with. These players, they are athletic, a lot of them... they are very good... they've got size and speed. You've got a little bit of everything in this class. We're excited about this class.

Thoughts on Markus Kuhn:
He was a player that once we decided the need was for linemen we started searching our past records and players the previous staff had considered before. As we investigated him, the coaches came in and looked at his tape, and a couple of our coaches had been in NFL Europe and worked with European players before so it was a pretty good evaluation for us.

Looking at his size and speed on tape we thought he could be a player. He came in last week and he certainly looks the part.

Thoughts on redshirting:
We'll have three scrimmage opportunities in the fall. If they are good enough to play they'll know it and we'll know it. If they can help this football team and make sure that they can play enough plays to letter and contribute then they will play. If not, they'll be looking at a redshirt year. I could never pick out the two or three guys each year. It's all a matter of who learns and who's able to retain all that information and translate it onto the football field.

National outlets cover who's making up their mind today and who's switching today. Were you into that or were you pretty much done with recruiting in July?
We never had anyone switch... we were probably pretty much done a week to ten days before signing day, with maybe just one or two guys. Our kids who were committed stay committed and were solid throughout this whole thing.

It's a little different, all the switches down here... I don't know it's something that we're going to have to deal with... or not.

Will Florida still be an emphasis?
We will recruit... as I said before we'll start here with this state and then work our way north or south. We'll recruit Florida. We had a player or two committed from Florida to Boston College before we left.

It's not that we don't have ties there or will not go back there but it just did not fit what we were doing this year. One thing, when you look for linemen... they are not in Florida... you tend to go North.

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