Based on the sheer number of players NC State has targeted and offered, the offensive line- with an emphasis on offensive tackles- appears to be a major priority for the Wolfpack coaching staff in 2007. One prospect that caught their eye early in the process was T.J. Johnson from Aynor (SC) High School.
Johnson recently participated in the Scout.com combine held in Charlotte, NC and proved to be one of the most talented lineman in attendance. He measured in at 6-4, 275 pounds and ran a 5.23-second 40-yard dash. However, it was in individual drills where the rising senior really stood out. He showed a nasty demeanor and solid OL fundamentals and those assets have helped him land a bevy of early scholarship offers.
To date, Johnson has accrued early tenders from NC State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Maryland, Duke, Tulane, Troy and East Carolina. He's also watched as a host of schools have stopped by Aynor over the last several weeks to check in on the standout lineman.
"Coach O'Brien came by the school," said Johnson. "Coach Johnson from Vanderbilt has been by. I've also had coaches from Clemson, UNC, South Carolina, Duke and Maryland in."
The Pack got an early jump on Johnson when they hosted him at their spring game several weeks back.
"I enjoyed my trip up there," said Johnson. "I like coach O'Brien and I like coach Petercuskie who is my recruiting coordinator. The facilities were really nice and I liked the players up there. It was a pretty nice visit.
"They told me about Jeremy Trueblood at Boston College and how big-time he was. They talked about how he came in at 245 (pounds) and then blew up. They've talked to me about their OL history a lot."
While Johnson has numerous schools to consider over the coming months, he knows exactly what he'll be looking for in a future program.
"I want to go to a place where I like the coaches and fit in with the program," he said. "I'd like to go somewhere that has nice facilities and coaches that can get me to the next level."
For now, the Wolfpack seems to be in fine position to be a major player when Johnson finally makes a decision.
"I really like NC State right now as far as the offers I've got," he said. "I like them as much as anybody."