Coach: Wolff an Explosive Player

Raeford (NC) Hoke County head coach Greg Bryant raves about the versatility of his star player, Earl Wolff.

Raeford (NC) Hoke County head coach Greg Bryant raves about the versatility of his star player, Earl Wolff.

"Earl is very explosive," said coach Bryant. "Anytime he can break a long run, and he is always making great plays on defense. He really flew under the radar.

"He had a good season for us as a junior, and I think he can be even better this year. He plays free safety for us, and he was one of our better running backs, but we did have a senior who was a pretty good running back and he ended up at Western Carolina after being our conference's Offensive Player of the Year.

"Earl returned kickoffs for us and played on a lot of special teams... he did it all, and he's going to do more of the same this year."

"He did it all."

Hoke County plays in the strong 4A Mid Southeastern Conference, which features traditional powers Richmond County, Scotland County, Jack Britt, and Douglas Byrd. The Bucks finishing 5-7 in 2006 with a first-round playoff loss at Winston-Salem (NC) Mount Tabor, and have been down over the past few seasons. Coach Bryant believes that led to Wolff flying under the radar.

"Earl just played for a very average team last year," said coach Bryant. "That is our fault as coaches, and we are going to do an even better job with our players this season. A lot of programs may not come through here because we have been average the past couple of years, but I told NC State assistant coach Jim Bridge about Earl this spring when he visited our school."

During a tour of his recruiting territory, NC State tight ends coach Jim Bridge visited Hoke County. A former assistant at The Citadel, Bridge and Bryant were familiar with each other due to a previous recruitment.

"I met coach Bridge years ago when he was at The Citadel recruiting a lineman of mine," coach Bryant stated. "He called me in the spring and said he was going to stop by our school. He told me about his travels to Boston College and NC State, and I was real pleased to see him because I know he does a great job recruiting. He won't shoot you any bull, and he will tell you what you need to hear.. not what you want to hear.

"I told coach Bridge that Earl was a good one, and when he got to their camp he would see it. I told other coaches about it, but coach Bridge took my word for it, got him up to camp and called me back right away just raving about how explosive Wolff is."

At 6-foot and 190 pounds, Wolff played free safety for Hoke County, where he tallied six interceptions and returned three for touchdowns. At NC State's camp, he worked out at safety, cornerback, tailback, and even wide receiver, excelling at all positions. A week later the Wolfpack extended a scholarship offer and Wolff accepted.

"I like what is going on at NC State right now," said coach Bryant. "I think it's a great fit for Wolff and the Wolfpack.

"He's still raw, but Earl is very coachable."

"I think he's going to play free safety or cornerback at NC State. He's still raw, but Earl is very coachable. He just has so much upside. I think he's going to be a great college football player. NC State is a real good fit for him."

"He has great closing speed and he's going to blow up once he gets on the training table and a college weight program," coach Bryant added. "I think he brings a lot to the table as a free safety. He has a nose for the football, and he will really come up and hit you. He's so big, quick, and physical, we're going to probably use him some at outside linebacker this year. We play a lot of cover three and he will be able to drop back there and cover easily."

Wolff projects as an academic qualifier as he has already taken the SAT and will be taking the upcoming ACT.

"Earl is just a great kid and a fierce competitor," said coach Bryant. "He's very polite and all of the teachers here just love him. He is the type of kid that you want to have on your football team."

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