Despite a tough season thus far, NC State continues to have success on the recruiting trail. With a stellar on-the-field and off-the-field track record at Boston College and early playing time to sell, the Wolfpack coaches have positioned themselves well with several talented high school seniors. Pack Pride takes a look at 10 of State's top prospects and evaluates the Pack's chances with each.
1. CB Marcus Udell...6-1, 195 pounds...4.4 in the 40...College of the Canyons...Santa Clarita, Ca
Where the Pack stands...NC State will be hoping that the second time is the charm to landing Udell. State recruited him and landed an official visit after his senior season but missed out when Udell committed to Alabama. Since moving on to junior college, the Pack was the first to offer and are clearly recruiting him the hardest currently. State leads and could land a commitment when he officially visits between now and December. DB coach Mike Reed's persistence has been key to winning Udell over and an offer from the Florida Gators may be the only obstacle standing between NC State and this talented CB.
2. S Okechukwu Okoroha...6-2...190 pounds...4.6 in the 40...Eleanor Roosevelt High School...Greenbelt, Md
Where the Pack stands...Okoroha is one of the most talented defensive backs on the east coast and State has been on him particularly hard. DL coach Keith Willis has a strong bond with Okoroha and that was instrumental in persuading Okoroha to make the drive down to NC State a few weeks back. Landing him will be tough as the senior safety boasts nearly 20 scholarship offers however, the Pack does look to be in good shape to land an official visit. One interesting tidbit with Okoroha is that he plans to major in kinesiology which would give the Pack a chance to sell current strength and conditioning coordinator, Todd Rice.
3. JUCO OL
Where the Pack stands...We can't tell you exactly where the Pack stands in regards to junior college offensive linemen but we can say that this is an area that State will hit especially hard over the next week. Given the Pack's troubles along the OL, State needs to locate players that can help immediately and simply aren't in a position to wait until high school linemen develop. Two names we can throw out are Mike Diaz from Cerritos Junior College in Norwalk, Ca and Andrew Mitchell from Snow College in Ephraim, UT. Diaz has been offered by NC State and the Pack should get an official visit. We don't believe Mitchell has been offered just yet but State appears to have a keen interest with coach Petercuskie calling him this past Monday. Look for more information on these two and others down the road to surface.
4. S Elton Ford...6-0, 200 pounds...4.5 in the 40...Chattahoochee High School, Alpharetta, Ga
Where the Pack stands...Ford is the classic sleeper prospect that got lost in the shuffle a bit when he transferred from Lithonia (Ga) to Chattahoochee High School in Alpharetta. Ford looks great on film, has a good frame and size for strong safety in college and proven speed. The Pack was the first to offer and has made him a priority with several other schools in pursuit as well. While he would probably like to land more offers down the road, Ford gave us the impression that he would be perfectly content if State were to end up his only offer. He plans to visit State in December and a commitment at that time is a definite possibility.
5. DE Everett Dawkins...6-2...250 pounds...4.7 in the 40...Byrnes High School...Duncan, SC
Where the Pack stands...Make no mistake about it, Florida State leads for Dawkins as things stand now. However, it's worth pointing out that the Noles currently have two defensive ends committed and are in solid shape with several others. In this particular case, time is on the side of NC State. The longer Dawkins holds out, the more time it gives the Wolfpack to improve their chances. State missed out on a golden opportunity to get Dawkins on campus a few weeks back when his teammates, Randall Hawkins and Curtis Thompson visited State unofficially. Behind FSU, Tennessee and NC State appear to be neck and neck for second and it's obvious that the Wolfpack's hard work in South Carolina is starting to show. Barring an unforeseen commitment in the near future, the Wolfpack should land an official visit from Dawkins in December.
6. OL Nick Becton...6-6...290 pounds...5.24 in the 40...New Hanover High School...Wilmington, NC
Where the Pack stands...After announcing State as his leader early in the process, Becton has been a little more evasive when naming favorites as of late. However, behind the scenes, it still appears that State is in good shape. The Pack made a very good connection, not only with Becton, but with his parents as well. He is has unofficially visited State several times and the Pack should land an official visit in the next couple of months. The main two programs to keep an eye on are South Carolina and Virginia Tech. The Hokies are the only program recruiting him for defense while Spurrier is a solid selling point for the Gamecocks. Because of their needs for developing talent along the offensive line, Becton is almost a must-have at this point.
7. OL Sam Jones...6-5...300 pounds...5.25 in the 40...Hargrave Military Academy...Chatham, Va
Where the Pack stands...NC State landed Jones last year when former DL coach Todd Stroud and the Pack offered. However, Jones didn't qualify and is now at Hargrave where he has turned heads with his play so far. The new Wolfpack coaching staff didn't immediately offer Jones but have since solidified their scholarship and appear to be the front runner. It was key to get Jones back on campus recently for a game and some one on one time with head coach Tom O'Brien helped. With an offer on the table from Tennessee, the battle to land Jones may be a little tougher the second time around but the Pack would still appear to be the team to beat at this time.
8. OL R.J. Mattes...6-6...260 pounds...5.2 in the 40...Jay Robinson High School...Concord, NC
Where the Pack stands...From March of last year until now, little has changed with Mattes. He continues to list a top five of NC State, Clemson, Virginia, UNC and South Carolina. The conventional wisdom has been that the Tigers hold a lead and that still might be the case. However, we do know that Mattes is keeping a close eye on the Tiger's coaching stability and a couple of recent losses certainly haven't helped their cause. The Gamecocks have had particular success stealing talent from North Carolina and the relationship between Mattes' father and Virginia head coach Al Groh can't be discounted. One interesting comment that Mattes has made recently is that he is looking at the future of the programs he is considering and not necessarily the results from this season. That statement would seem to bode well for NC State and UNC as both of their head coaches will be around for years despite struggling in 2007.
9. CB/S J.T. Floyd...6-0...190 pounds...4.43 in the 40...Mann High School...Greenville, SC
Where the Pack stands...The Wolfpack has done a stellar job of recruiting Floyd despite his "soft verbal" status with Tennessee. Outside of the Vols, NC State and Michigan appear to be the two main players and we have to believe that location would play some factor in his recruiting. Another selling point for State is early playing time and that may be the biggest factor the Pack can push. As it is, Tennessee will likely have to struggle down the stretch and create uncertainty with the job status of their coaching staff for State to have a realistic shot. However, no one has worked any harder to land Floyd than NC State and this is definitely one to keep an eye on.
10. WR Deion Walker...6-3...185 pounds...4.45 in the 40...Christchurch (Va) School
Where the Pack stands...We don't want to create any false impressions because landing Walker is probably going to be tough for the Wolfpack. However, State does have a few things that they can sell. First is location and familiarity with the program. Walker has probably visited State more than any other school. Secondly, the Pack can push early playing time. With wide receivers Darrell Blackman and John Dunlap set to graduate, PT could be available. Thirdly, State has a laid a solid foundation with the class of 2008 headed up by all-american QB Mike Glennon. We continue to feel that Glennon is a factor that the Pack could push even harder. Working against NC State is the fact that Walker seems to like the glitz of the bigger name programs and the Pack's struggles this year certainly haven't helped the cause. Walker has also visited all over the country over the past several months so distance doesn't appear to be a major consideration. When all is said and done, Florida State and Penn State continue to look like the odds on favorites. However, if the State coaches can somehow convince Walker to give them one of his official visits, they will stand a fighting chance. Without that visit, State has virtually no shot.