2007 Commitment Class Bios

It was a "big" signing day for the Wolfpack, as O'Brien's inaugural class contains 11 linemen. In addition to adding that much-needed depth up front, the Wolfpack also added at least one player at every position on offense and defense, as well as a punter.

"Our coaches have done an excellent job, especially considering we only had three weeks to put this signing class together," said O'Brien on Wednesday. "We followed the blueprint made by the previous staff with the commitments that were in place and we supplemented that with players who had been on our lists and that we had known for a while and had history with. We ended up with a group of players that I believe has a great work ethic, strong character and good academic backgrounds.

"We knew we needed to shore up our offensive and defensive lines and we filled that need by signing 11 linemen, including some defensive players who could play either on the line or at linebacker. The skill players we signed are very talented as well. Another one of our goals was to try to get as many quality instate players as we could and if you count three players who came in at midyear, more than half of our signing class comes from North Carolina.

"We are happy with where we are and I know that this signing class is another step toward our goal of becoming champions in the classroom, in the community and on the football field."


Thomas Barnes • 5-11 • 200 • Linebacker
Dublin, Ga. • Dublin HS

Outside linebacker who finished with 67 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, and an interception return for a touchdown as a senior at Dublin HS … Added 765 yards and seven touchdowns as the starting fullback … Scored on a 77-yard kickoff return … Helped lead his team to its first state title in 43 years with a record of 14-0-1 in Class AA … Garnered all-conference honors and was named conference player of the year … A first-team all-state selection and the Class AA Defensive Player of the Year … Ranked among the top-50 players in Georgia and a three-star player overall by Rivals.com … Won a state championship in basketball as a junior … Played for head coach Mike Holmes.

George Bryan • 6-5 • 250 • Tight End
Wilmington, N.C. • New Hanover HS

Tight end prospect who reeled in eight touchdowns as a senior … Earned all-conference honors and all-area honors … Earned a No. 17 ranking in North Carolina by Scout.com … Ranked among the top-30 prospects in North Carolina by Rivals.com … A PrepStar all-region selection … A member of the North Carolina Shrine Bowl team … Played both tight end and defensive end for New Hanover HS under head coach Kevin Motsinger.

Justin Byers • 6-0 • 170 • Defensive Back
Charlotte, N.C. • Zebulon B. Vance HS

Took home defensive MVP honors from the Shrine Bowl as a senior … Scout.com ranks him No. 47 in North Carolina … Was named to the 2006 first-team Charlotte Weekly Football Super Team … PrepStar all-region selection … Three-star recruit by Rivals.com and is their No. 70 safety nationally … Notched 75 tackles, four interceptions and one fumble recovery as a junior in 2005 … Also played offense, scoring two touchdowns on four receptions for 145 yards, a 36.5 average … Scored a pair of touchdowns on punt returns as a junior … Played for coach Jeff Simpson at Zebulon B. Vance.

Audie Cole • 6-5 • 215 • Linebacker
Monroe, Mich. • Monroe HS

Played quarterback, safety and linebacker at Monroe HS for coach Greg Hudkins … Rivals.com top-30 player out of Michigan …Threw for 3,285 yards and 23 touchdowns in his career and was named all-league as a senior … Rushed for 10 touchdowns his final season and threw for more than 1,700 yards … Was a three-year starter at quarterback and also played defense as a senior … Lettered in baseball and basketball in addition to football.

Wayne Crawford • 6-4 • 290 • Defensive Tackle
Philadelphia, Pa. • Chesnut Hill Academy

First-team Class AAA all-state selection as a senior, he was also named all-league, all-area and all-city… Tallied 50 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles in 2006 … Also played on the offensive line … Team captain his final season … Ranked as the No. 86 defensive tackle nationally by Scout.com … Was also a standout track athlete, leading the state in throws and ranking in the top-10 nationally in the shot put … Played for head coach Richard Knox at Chestnut Hill Academy.

Dominique Ellis • 5-11 • 190 • Defensive Back
Wendell, N.C. • East Wake HS

Ranked among the top-30 prospects in North Carolina by Rivals.com … The nation's No. 41 cornerback by Rivals.com … Ranked No. 60 nationally as a safety by Scout.com and among the top-30 prospects overall in the state … A PrepStar all-region selection … Coached at East Wake HS by Jimmy Williams.

Mike Golder • 6-4 • 286 • Offensive Line
Apex, N.C. • Apex HS

An all-conference selection as a junior at Apex HS … Helped lead his team to the state playoffs as an offensive lineman with good mobility and versatility by playing both guard and tackle spots … Coached at Apex HS by Bob Wolfe.

Antoine Holmes • 6-3 • 290 • Defensive Line
Scranton, Pa. • Lackawanna JC

Had 44 tackles, including 18 for loss, in 2006 at Lackawanna Junior College … Also notched 11 sacks, two fumble recoveries, a blocked kick and a safety … Ranked No. 35 among all junior college prospects by Rivals.com … A four-star prospect by Rivals.com … Named Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year … First-team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association … JC Grid-Wire named him a second-team All-American … Played for coach Mark Duda at Lackawanna JC and has two years of eligibility remaining.

Steven Howard • 6-2 • 185 • Wide Receiver
Charlotte, N.C. • Olympic HS

Competed at the Shrine Bowl … Snared 51 balls for 637 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior … Caught 49 passes for 748 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and earned all-conference honors… Rivals.com ranked him No. 17 among North Carolina prospects … No. 54 wide receiver nationally by Rivals.com … The No. 76 wideout in the nation according to Scout.com … Was named to the 2006 first-team Charlotte Weekly Football Super Team … PrepStar all-region selection … Coached by Maurice Flowers at Olympic HS, that team went 10-2 and made the playoffs last season.

Markus Kuhn • 6-5 • 275 • Defensive Line
Viernheim, Germany • Weinheim

Played outside linebacker and defensive line for his team, the Weinheim Longhorns … Named to the league's all-star team all four seasons and was the league rookie of the year … Was his team's leading tackler his final campaign and was the Weinheim defensive MVP all four years… Played for coach Marvin Washington at Weinheim in the highest division of the German Football League … Coached by Marvin Washington at Weinheim.

Henry Lawson • 6-3 • 285 • Offensive Line
Charlotte, N.C. • Charlotte Catholic HS

Was a key offensive lineman for back-to-back state championships at Charlotte Catholic as a sophomore and junior, the team returned to the championship game his senior season … Was named all-state by the Associated Press, receiving the second-highest vote total in the state … Team rushed for over 4,600 yards in the wing-T offense … Was named to the 2006 first-team Charlotte Weekly Football Super Team … Coached by Jim Oddo at Charlotte Catholic HS.

Kyle Linney • 6-2 • 285 • Defensive Tackle
Hiddenite, N.C. • Alexander Central HS

Notched 67 tackles as a senior at Alexander Central and was named to the North Carolina Shrine Bowl roster … Was explosive as a nose guard in Shrine Bowl, recording a tackle-for-loss and multiple quarterback hurries … Ranked as the No. 67 defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com … Scout.com ranks him No. 84 nationally among defensive tackles … Earned all-conference honors as a junior … Coached by Chris Deal at Alexander Central HS.

Jeff Rieskamp • 6-3 • 235 • Defensive Line
Cincinnati, Ohio • Elder HS

Tallied 56 tackles and nine sacks as a senior … Was named all-state, all-district and all-league that season as well … Ranked as one of the top-50 players in Ohio by Rivals.com … Made 50 tackles as a junior with 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and three forced fumbles … Also swam in high school and competed in track and field … Ranked as a three-star defensive end by Rivals.com … Coached by Doug Ramsey at Elder HS.

Desmond Roberts • 6-5 • 265 • Offensive Line
Gaston, N.C. • Northampton High-West

Ranked by Rivals.com as the 11th-best center nationally and the No. 24 player overall in the state … Rated the No. 76 guard nationally and No. 34 in North Carolina by Scout.com … PrepStar All-Region selection … Played for head coach Diego Hasty at Northampton.

Jay Smith • 6-2 • 197 • Wide Receiver
Norfolk, Va. • Lake Taylor HS

Four-star prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com … Rivals.com ranked him as one of the top-250 players nationally, No. 2 in Virginia and No. 22 nationally among wide receivers … Scout.com ranked him No. 29 among wide receivers … PrepStar top-100 selection … The Atlanta Journal-Constitution named him one of its top-100 players in the south … Caught 17 balls for 276 yards and six touchdowns as a junior … Named to the All-Beach district team as a junior … Played for coach Hank Sawyer at Lake Taylor HS.

J.R. Sweezy • 6-5 • 245 • Defensive Line
Mooresville, N.C. • Mooresville Senior HS

Recorded an impressive 195 tackles in 12 games as a senior at Mooresville HS for coach Barclay Marsh … Recorded 14 tackles for loss, including six sacks, and recovered four fumbles as a senior … Notched 115 tackles, eight tackles for loss and three sacks as a junior … Ranked as the No. 38 player in the state by Scout.com … PrepStar all-region selection … Ranked the No. 6 heavyweight in Class 3A wrestling.

Curtis Underwood • 5-11 • 215 • Running Back
Lackawanna, N.Y • Lackawanna HS

Ran for 2,124 yards as a senior in 10 games for head coach Bruce Lasko at Lackawanna HS … Scored 20 touchdowns and averaged 8.7 yards per carry … Earned the Connolly Cup as the Western New York player of the year in 2006 … Named first-team Class B all-state … Ran for 1,344 yards as a junior and score 14 touchdowns … Scored two touchdowns on kick returns in his career … Earned All-Western New York honors and second-team all-state honors as a junior.

Jake Vermiglio • 6-4 • 297 • Offensive Line
New Berlin, N.Y. • Milford Academy

Played for Bill Chaplick at Milford Academy … Was a starter at left tackle and also played guard in high school … A three-star prospect by Rivals.com … Attended Stoney Creek High in Rochester, Michigan, before enrolling at Milford.

Justin Whaley • 6-4 • 270 • Offensive Line
Wilson, N.C. • James Hunt HS

In-state offensive line prospect who played for Randy Raper at James B. Hunt High School … Scout.com ranked him as a preseason top-50 player in North Carolina for 2006 … Played on both sides of the ball at Hunt, recording 57 tackles and six sacks on defense and 17 pancake blocks on offense … Notched 43 tackles and eight sacks as a junior.

Russell Wilson • 5-11 • 191 • Quarterback
Richmond, Va. • Collegiate School

Threw for 3,009 yards and rushed for an additional 1,132 yards as a senior for coach Charlie McFall at Collegiate School … Completed 59.7 percent of his passes and threw for 34 touchdowns with only seven interceptions … Rushed for another 18 touchdowns as a senior … Named all-state, all-conference and conference player of the year as a senior … Featured in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd section for his state championship game performance as a senior, when he completed 21 of 37 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns and ran 30 times for 223 yards and three more scores in a 38-17 win over Fork Union … Threw for 3,287 yards and 40 touchdowns as a junior while rushing for another 634 yards and 15 scores … Won the state title as a junior with a perfect 11-0 record … Earned all-state, all-region, all-district honors and was named the 2005 Richmond Times-Dispatch Player of the Year as a junior … Also played shortstop in baseball and hit .467 at the plate with 15 runs batted in … Plans to walk-on in baseball at NC State.

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