Ten of North Carolina's Most Wanted for 2008

NC State head coach Tom O'Brien and his staff have placed a tremendous amount of emphasis on in-state recruiting for the class of 2008. With all nine of his assistants fanned out across the state, the Wolfpack appears to be in solid shape with many of next year's very best. Today we take a look at ten in-state players that Wolfpack fans will need to know as the recruiting year begins to unfold.

NC State head coach Tom O'Brien and his staff have placed a tremendous amount of emphasis on in-state recruiting for the class of 2008. With all nine of his assistants fanned out across the state, the Wolfpack appears to be in solid shape with many of next year's very best. Today we take a look at ten in-state players that Wolfpack fans will need to know as the recruiting year begins to unfold.

LB Terrell Manning...6-2, 205 pounds...Scotland County, Laurinburg, NC

  • If you were to combine NC State's needs with Manning's talent then it certainly wouldn't be a stretch to conclude that he may very well be the top prospect on the Pack's recruiting board. Scotland County has produced a ton of division one players but Manning may be the most critical of them all for NC State. The Pack may have held a silent, early lead but Manning will have his choice of colleges and schools like UNC, Florida, South Carolina and Clemson will give State a dogfight. Manning hopes to graduate early and, although a rarity, it is absolutely possible that he could start as a true freshman for NC State.

    Early odds...NC State...but keep an eye on...UNC

    LB Duane Maddox...6-2, 220 pounds...Crest High School, Shelby, NC

  • If Manning is prospect number one, then Maddox is number 1-A. While Manning may end up rated a little higher, Maddox is closer to division one size now. Maddox listed the Wolfpack as his top school early on but several teams have turned up the recruiting heat over the last several weeks with UNC and Clemson leading the charge. Another school to keep a very close eye on is Florida, who already has former Crest LB Brandon Spikes on their roster. In the Pack's favor is that their recruiting of Maddox is being led by LB coach Andy McCollum and he is known to be a tremendous recruiter.

    Early odds...NC State...but keep an eye on...UNC

    RB/CB Tobias Palmer...5-10, 165 pounds...Northwood High School, Pittsboro, NC

  • Palmer is a fabulous all-around athlete that would prefer to play running back in college but has the skills to excel at special teams or cornerback. He has tremendous top end speed and is one of the state's top returning rushers for 2007. Palmer was offered by the old NC State coaching staff and coach O'Brien has honored that pledge as well. If you're looking for a player that could potentially make an early commitment then Palmer may be that guy. He's one we'll be keeping a close eye on during State's spring practice.

    Early odds...NC State...but keep an eye on...Florida State

    TE Mario Carter...6-6, 240 pounds...Independence High School, Charlotte, NC

  • Independence High School is another program that has churned out numerous D-1 players over the years. Unfortunately, NC State was typically not a major player for many of them. The Wolfpack will hope to change that this year and there's a good chance they just may do that with Carter. For now it's a two team race between South Carolina and NC State but the Pack got in on the ground floor and has been consistently listed as one of Carter's favorites. State's connections to Independence are probably better than in year's past and that could bode well for State down the road.

    Early odds...NC State/South Carolina

    TE D'Wayne Allen...6-4, 230 pounds...Terry Sanford High School, Fayetteville, NC

  • Had Chuck Amato remained as the head coach at NC State then the Pack likely would have been a top choice for Allen in 2007. Once he was fired, it didn't take long for Allen to commit to Georgia. It would be easy to write Allen completely off- he's obviously committed and his head coach has a son that played for UGA. However, his mother would apparently prefer him to play closer to home and one of his closest friends, CJ Williams, is already committed to play basketball for NC State. There's a very strong chance that Allen will make numerous trips to NC State over the next several months and should the Pack put together a successful season, they very well could maneuver their way into becoming a team to watch.

    Early odds...Georgia...but keep an eye on...NC State/UNC

    OL Nick Becton...6-7, 285 pounds, New Hanover High School, Wilmington, NC

  • Becton may be the most physically imposing offensive lineman in a year where most of the top prospects appear somewhat under-sized. He is raw having played just one year of football but his athleticism and sheer potential make him one of this year's most intriguing prospects. NC State got in on the ground floor along with East Carolina by making early offers and the Pack signed Becton's teammate last year- TE George Bryan. State hosted Becton for junior day and, although his favorites are unknown, the Wolfpack will likely be a major player.

    Early odds...NC State...but keep an eye on... Clemson/ECU

    DE Quinton Coples...6-6, 230 pounds...Kinston (NC) High School

  • Coples will likely be the state's top defensive end for the class of 2008 and a potential top five player in the state. Coples is a fine basketball player and those skills have helped him to develop into a super football prospect. It is not known whether NC State has officially offered Coples yet but it's likely they will at some point if not already. Currently, there appears to be an in-state battle shaping up between UNC and NC State. Probably one of the key factors that may surface is Coples' love for basketball and that will be an angle both schools are likely to work.

    Early odds...UNC...but keep an eye on...NC State

    ATH Brandon Barnes...6-0, 180 pounds...Bunn (NC) High School

  • After NC State and UNC whiffed on Bunn standout Kerry Neal last year, neither wasted time jumping on Barnes with a scholarship offer. While his stats have been anything but gaudy, Barnes is a solid alla-round athlete that could help at a number of different positions whether it be running back, slot receiver or defensive back. Auburn joined the Pack and Heels with an early offer and Tigers are the leader according to Barnes. However, there are those that feel Barnes will likely stay close to home when all is said and done because of his strong family ties. Ken Browning is a formidable recruiter for UNC while Tom O'Brien and his staff have smoothed over the wounds left by former head coach Chuck Amato.

    Early odds...Auburn/UNC...but keep an eye on...NC State

    LB EJ Abrams-Ward...6-5, 210 pounds...Thomasville (NC) High School

  • The Pack was one of the first schools to offer Abrams-Ward along with South Carolina, UNC, Clemson and Tennessee. He projects as a LB in college although he indicated to Pack Pride that he felt he was better suited for QB. For now, State, UNC, Clemson, East Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee lead the way. Based on our conversations with him, we felt State had ground to make up with him but the good news is that he doesn't plan to make an early decision which should give the Pack a chance to do just that.

    Early odds...UNC...but keep an eye on...Tennessee

    OL R.J. Mattes...6-6, 260 pounds...Jay M Robinson High School, Concord, NC

  • RJ Mattes projects as one of the top offensive linemen for the class of 2008 with offers on the table from NC State, UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, South Carolina, East Carolina and Virginia. The Pack figured to be a major player for Mattes since Mattes' father played under coach O'Brien at Virginia. However, even after a junior day trip to NC State, Mattes recently stated Virginia, UNC and Clemson were his top schools. To make up ground, it is critical that State host Mattes on some future visits. For now, we think Virginia may hold a slight, silent lead.

    Early odds...Virginia...but keep an eye on...UNC/Clemson

  • Pack Pride Top Stories