The departure of DeMario Pressley left a sizable gap in the NC State defensive tackle rotation. While the Wolfpack boasts several talented youngsters on the depth chart, the State coaching staff hit the junior college ranks hard this year to fortify the position. Leroy Burgess from Georgia Military Institute was a major pickup for State and they completed their recruiting of the position when they landed Thomas Locust from Cerritos (Ca) Community College. Those two should give defensive line coach Willis some time to work his younger talent into the defensive tackle rotation.
At 6-3, 325 pounds, Locust is a mammoth lineman that collected 24 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and five QB hurries in 2007. His efforts caught the eye of Willis and he was invited to NC State this past weekend for an official visit. Although he didn't have a Wolfpack offer prior to his visit in Raleigh, that was taken care of during the trip and that, along with the atmosphere sold him on NC State.
"Man, everything down there was great," said Locust. "I told coach O'Brien that I was committing and he was excited. He told me that he wanted to get a look at me in person and he said he was impressed with what he saw."
A former player at Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, Fla, Locust was hosted by CB DeAndre Morgan and came away impressed with what the Pack had to offer.
"The campus was nice," he said. "The coaches were nice and everything just had a real good feel about it. You know about half the team is from North Carolina and Florida and I got a nice vibe from all of them. We were all just chilling and it was really laid back."
Recruiting coach Keith Willis played the biggest role in getting Locust to NC State and the three-star defensive tackle he can't wait to play for his future coach.
"Coach Willis is really down to earth and a straight up guy," he said. "He's a hands-on person and just real cool. He told me he wants me to come and work hard and learn their system so I can get on the field."
Locust's size, natural strength and potential will give the Pack a solid option at defensive tackle down the road. He has the ability to control gaps and that should mesh well with the Wolfpack's defensive style. He will have three years to play two upon arriving at NC State this coming June or July.