Spotlight: Tobias Palmer, Part I

PITTSBORO, N.C. -- Northwood star tailback Tobias Palmer has always been a fan of NC State.

Growing up in Raleigh, he followed NC State in football and loved to cheer for Duke in basketball.

"When I stayed in Raleigh, I attended West Millbrook Middle School, and my people there are State fans," Tobias Palmer told Pack Pride. "I liked T.A. McLendon... he was a pretty good player. He kind of inspired me. [Jerricho] Cotchery did pretty good at wide receiver, and Mario Williams was the No. 1 pick.

"I'm on the State side, but then I still have my thing for Duke. Now that I'm committed to State, I'm a true State fan."

NC State offered the standout tailback a scholarship last winter, and new Wolfpack head coach Tom O'Brien firmed up the offer last month. This week, Palmer chose to end the recruiting process when he verbally committed to NC State after receiving interest from Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Clemson among others.

"I'm not really surprised," said Northwood head coach Bill Hall. "He grew up in Raleigh, and he was born and raised a State fan.

"We talked about it the last three or four months, so I'm not real surprised that he was ready to make a commitment."

Early on Palmer realized that he would attend either NC State or Florida State. He visited North Carolina unofficially for their Junior Day, but wasn't as interested in the Tar Heels as the other two programs. He considered unofficial visits to Virginia Tech and Clemson, along with a Junior Day to South Carolina.

After Florida State didn't pursue him as hard as he had hoped, Palmer realized he was ready to make a decision.

"I went to the Carolina [Junior Day] so I could watch them play against Duke," he said. "I had a little interest in them, but not as much as I do in NC State.

"I really do like Florida State, but they weren't recruiting me right. Maybe they weren't ready to give me a scholarship. I'm going to State, and I can play in my hometown."

"[On Sunday] I started thinking about how it would be tough for my parents to come see me play if I left the state," Palmer added. "I didn't want to put them in any kind of tough situation, so I decided to stay home so they can come see me play."

Palmer called Wolfpack assistant coach Mike Archer to inform him of the news, and later talked with head coach Tom O'Brien.

"He told me that if I'm committed to them then they are committed to me."
"[Coach Archer] was excited," said Palmer. "He and coach O'Brien were both excited about me coming up. I'm the first commitment in the class of 2008, so they are very excited to have me coming."

O'Brien, who strictly believes in a player honoring a verbal commitment, stressed the importance of a verbal commitment to his newest recruit.

"He told me that if I'm committed to them then they are committed to me," said Palmer. "As long as I'm locked in to NC State, I won't have to worry about anything. My scholarship is always going to be there."

Coach Hall has been impressed with the new coaching staff at NC State.

"They are very professional," said Hall. "They were there only about two weeks and they had already been by the school. Coach O'Brien and coach Archer came by the school and met with me and talked with me. Obviously they couldn't speak with Tobias, but they saw him in the hallway and he saw them. I think they are going to do good things."

As a junior, Palmer led the area in rushing, as he tallied 1,500 yards and 31 all-purpose touchdowns, including 24 on the ground. He rushed for 1,543 yards and 22 touchdowns as a sophomore.

He will likely begin his career as a tailback, but the 5-foot-11, 170-pound prospect could end up on the defensive side of the ball. Blessed with 4.3 speed, Palmer had five interceptions in limited time last season.

"I think if he keeps getting stronger like he's doing he's got a chance to play tailback," said Hall. "He's a natural return man and a natural defensive back, so they are going to have their options."


Check back tomorrow for Part II of Pack Pride's exclusive feature on NC State commitment Tobias Palmer ...

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