Spotlight: Tobias Palmer, Part II

PITTSBORO, N.C. -- Bill Hall isn't sure where his star player will play on the next level, but he is confident that Tobias Palmer can excel at any position.

  • Spotlight: Tobias Palmer, Part I

    "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."

    Checking in at a shade under 5'11 and 170 pounds, Tobias Palmer led the area in rushing in 2006. Sharing carries, Palmer rushed for 1,500 yards and 24 touchdowns as he led Northwood High to the state playoffs. He added seven non-rushing touchdowns and five interceptions on defense. An all-state selection, Hall expects Palmer to play both ways as a senior.

    "We two-platoon for the most part, but he'll get his 25-30 carries a night this year," said Hall. "He'll play some defensive back on definite passing situations. He had five interceptions for us this past year, and he didn't play a lot of defensive back.

    "I do know we will have the ball will be in his hands."

    Palmer is the type of athlete that can score everytime he touches the football. Last year's runnerup in the state 100-meter dash, where he posted a 10.6, Palmer has been timed as low as 10.4 this season and 4.25 in the 40-yard dash.

    "His speed is his best attribute," said Hall. "Tobias isn't a 4.4 guy... try 4.2. He's been timed between 4.2 and 4.3 at some combines [last] summer."

    "I just have that mentality that when I get ahead of someone I'm out there by myself," said Palmer. "I can't see anyone catching me." Recruiting Analyst Miller Safrit agrees. After watching Palmer on film, Safrit believes he has the speed to excel at cornerback on the next level.

    "Speed is the name of the game for Palmer, who could eventually play running back, slot receiver, and probably his best projected position of cornerback," said Safrit. "He has excellent burst into the secondary on plays to the outside, huge top-end speed, and overall solid acceleration through his cuts.

    "As a running back, he does not keep great contact with the ball in traffic and always seems to bounce his plays to the outside. In limited time as a cornerback, he shows excellent hips and ball-awareness. Palmer is willing to come up and make a tackle."

    So the question is, where will Palmer play once he matriculates to NC State?

    "I can't see anyone catching me."

    "I think he wants to play tailback, but at the college level they are going to put you where they want you and go from there," said coach Hall. "He's got a great nose for the endzone, and defensively he reads the quarterback well and has got a great nose for the football. Wherever he plays he'll be successful."

    "I want to try and put 20 more pounds on so I can maybe play running back," said Palmer. I just feel more experienced there, but if it comes down to the team needing me on defense, I'll do it. I'll do everything I can."

    Northwood has high expectations in 2007. The Chargers return Palmer, and fellow halfback Bernard Palmer, his cousin. The starting quarterback returns along with three offensive line starters, including D1 recruit Kemory Mann, and several starters on defense.

    Palmer is hoping to lead the Chargers to a state title, but he also has a few individual goals in mind.

    "My individual goal is to break all the records I have set here at Northwood," he said. "I just want to break all those records in my senior season."

    As for his decision, he is glad it is behind him. Now he can focus on his senior season as he will be trying to attend as many NC State games as possible.

    "I didn't want to stress myself out with school, sports, and the recruiting process," said Palmer. "I'm going to try and go to as many State games as I can. I feel as though I can be sort of a role model to help other kids come play for the Wolfpack."

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