Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Miller Safrit has released his postseason rankings of the top 40 prospects from this year's senior high school class in North Carolina, and Laurinburg (NC) Scotland County linebacker Terrell Manning headlines the list. Manning committed to NC State prior to his senior season, spurning offers from Clemson, Virginia Tech, Florida, North Carolina, and Alabama among others.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker totaled an astounding 219 tackles for Scotland, but suffered a knee injury in his team's final game. Expected to fully recover from his injury and possibly be ready to play at NC State as a freshman, Manning's size, athleticism, instincts, and productivity make him the state's most complete college prospect.
Thomasville athlete E.J. Abrams-Ward and Notre Dame verbal Robert Blanton check in at No. 2 and No. 3 respectively while Concord (NC) Robinson offensive tackle R.J. Mattes (No. 4) and NC State commit Brandon Barnes round out the top five.
Under head coach Tom O'Brien, NC State has clearly made recruiting North Carolina a priority this year and their emphasis is noticable right away as the Wolfpack has eight commitments listed in the top 40, more than any other program. East Carolina has six commitments and Virginia Tech has five commitments while Maryland has two.
Along with commitments from top-five prospects Manning and Barnes, the Wolfpack have landed verbals from Dwayne Maddox (No. 12), Andrew Wallace (No. 14), Tobias Palmer (No. 17), and Mario Carter (No. 18).
Maddox and Palmer both turned in solid performances at the Shrine Bowl, and Wallace is the state's most athletic offensive lineman. Carter, who entertained a host of offers before verbaling to the Wolfpack, is regarded as the state's second-best tight end prospect behind Dwayne Allen. He missed his senior season with a knee injury but is expected to be a major contributor for the Wolfpack and is nearly back to 100% from his injury.
Two other Wolfpack commitments reside in the top 30, including Earl Wolff (No. 26) and T.J. Graham (No. 27). Both players earned offers from the Wolfpack after turning in spectacular performances while at NC State's camp over the summer.
The Wolfpack might not be done. NC State is among the final favorites for Fayetteville (NC) Terry Sanford tight end Dwayne Allen (No. 6).
NC State head coach Tom O'Brien has made landing the state's top talent a priority, and he did just that in the 2008 class. Safrit believes this is a solid class.
The Shrine Bowl certainly changed some things up in the state, especially when R.J. Mattes had a huge week of practice and followed it up by having a huge performance against one of the best players in the country - Daquan Bowers," said Safrit. "While we missed Manning, hopefully we can see him recover fully from his knee injury and on the field of play soon.
"State obviously made going after the best talent in-state, locking up the top prospect in Manning and six of the top twenty prospects. It has to give them momentum going into the next class."