O'Brien: 'We Wanted to Recruit This State'

RALEIGH, NC -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media today to discuss his 2008 recruiting class. O'Brien also updated departures and additions from his team, and he also mentioned a couple of potential roster moves.

O'Brien: 'We Wanted to Recruit This State'
2008 Commitment Class Bios
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Tom O'Brien Press Conference

Opening Statement:
About 1:00 this afternoon we finished up our first full effort of recruiting. I can't say enough about the great job Jerry Petercuskie did coordinating this effort and our coaches put together a class. We said from the start we're going to have to sign a football team this year and we're very excited aout the 26 individuals who decided to become a part of the Wolfpack family.

A lot of hard work... about this time a year ago we had already started working on this class. I think it's significant that about half the class hails from the state of North Carolina which is one thing we set out to prioritize. We wanted to recruit this state, recruit it hard. As the Chancellor says, we are the people's university. It's important to us.

Four individuals have already enrolled. Dominique Ellis is here and Kyle Linney... along with Dwayne Maddox and Ahmad Jaradat. They are already in school and in the program.

Geron James, who was not with us at all last year, in fact I saw him for the first time actually physically work out, is back in school. He has some things to work through academically to get himself back in good standing, but he's back in school. We'll see how he fits into the mix.

We've given scholarships to four players. Keith Willis, who became eligible after sitting out a year, is now on scholarship. Bradley Pierson, Jamain Clemmons, and Koyal George are now all on scholarship.

Two individuals are no longer with the program. Hickman and Armstrong have decided to leave so they will not be with us anymore.

Thoughts on recruiting areas:
We'll go anywhere we can to find players we think that will fit into our system, are good character kids, and good students.

One thing we had to do was bolster up our lines on both sides of the football. If you look at our recruiting, it's very solid on the offensive line, a lot of young kids. What we did on defense is we had a better opportunity... some junior college kids on defense that were a fit for us. That allows us to take a look at Bedics and Larsen in the spring to see how they look along the offensive line. We did not control the line of scrimmage very much at all last year on both sides of the ball. Those were priorities for us, to go out and find those types of players.

We looked for older players, more mature players that could come in and play right away.. it's better for those young offensive linemen that we signed to be able to redshirt until they mature and grow a little bit. That's a great looking group of guys coming in, but you've got to give them a chance to grow into their position.

Last year we had 18 seniors, there's not many seniors on this football team.... there's only 14 seniors on this football team and close to half of them have been walk ons or transfers over the past couple of years.

That's where we went to go find those people... to give those young kids an opportunity to grow into their role in the future.

What are your plans for Mike Glennon? Do you plan on redshirting him?
I think we prefer to redshirt linemen. Skill kids... they sometimes have the opportunity to play.

In the situation of Mike Glennon, he's very talented. He has a lot of potential. But as Joe Paterno once said, all potential means is you haven't done anything. He's been very successful at the high school level, and very successful in every all-star game he's played in. He's a very talented individual.

He's not sure what he wants to do... whether he wants to redshirt or play, but I know all those kids are competitors and once they get here and figure it out and they want to play. If he's the best guy for the job he's going to play.

We have a pretty good freshman on campus also in Russell Wilson. We're going to take a long look at him in spring practice, give him a lot of opportunities because we like what we've saw in him.

I think the bottomline is with those two young kids, that should be a pretty good position for us going forward.

More thoughts on Glennon:
You take the conversation Mike Glennon had with Dana Bible just talking football. That gives you a good feel for what he understands and how he perceives the game of football. He's our kind of guy. It was very key for us to get an individual like him.

Thoughts on Terrell Manning and if he'll be ready to go in 2008:
I believe he'll have to sit. I think he'll be... not getting into any injury reports, but if you look at the recovery time he may be full go during the season, just counting months. At that point in the season, he wouldn't be able to I think pick up everything he has to do to play so I would think he'd have to sit next year.

Thoughts on recruiting a returner to replace Darrell Blackman:
That's a big thing. If you look, Brandon Barnes has run back punts and kicks, Tobais Palmer has, Clem Johnson, the junior college.. when DaJuan Morgan decided to go to the NFL that left a hole and we had to go find a little experience.

I think the first two kickoffs or punts [Johnson] touched in junior college he took for touchdowns. Johnson did. There's quite a few candidates there and I'm sure Donald Bowens, Owen Spencer, and a few guys on this football team that would like to do those things too.

Brandon Barnes and Tobais Palmer are listed at running back, is that where you plan on playing them?
That's what they think they are, so they'll start there and we'll go from there.

Thoughts on importance of recruiting rankings:
I don't think you can totally ignore it because I think it's important for the perception of people as to what your program is.

Personally, I'm more concerned about making them five-star football players instead of what their rating is as far as recruiting goes. That's what our job is and historically we haven't looked at those things, but I think it's good fodder for the alumni to talk back and forth with other people and other schools and it gives the perception I think out there that rightfully or wrongly you're doing a good or bad job.

Anyone on this list you're pleasantly surprised you got? I know R.J. Mattes was a kid some thought was a Clemson lean:
I think we go recruiting thinking that when we narrow in on somebody we think we can get him and we'll work hard to get him.

R.J., there is a relationship there that I had with his father from our days at the University of Virginia. I think more importantly to R.J. is the fact that we had 11 or 12 [offensive linemen] the last 10 years drafted at Boston College. The weekend I was there, Marc Columbo was starting at right tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, Chris Snee was starting at right guard for the Giants, Dan Koppen was starting at center for the Patriots. Three out of the last four games we had offensive linemen playing... I think those things become important, especially to the offensive linemen. It's a tradition we have to establish here.

Thoughts on if he recruited junior college defensive linemen to play a 3-4:
No that wasn't the case of why we were doing that. I think we went with guys with a little more bulk and size because we play a different style of defense than that was played here in the past... more guys that can eat up a couple of [offensive] linemen so your linebackers can be free to run.

Thoughts on Mario Carter's recovery:
His happened last summer so his rehab time should be good, but you don't know how it's going to be. Everything perfect, he should be able to practice come August. Before August be able to get into conditioning and everything else.

Does Geron have to accomplish these before participating?
He has to meet some benchmarks... yes.

Any part of Glennon remind you of Matt Ryan?
[Smiling] he's tall and skinny... actually he's still growing. His dad told me he's still growing. He thinks he's 6'7 now.

Does he have a good football IQ?
Yes it does... from what we can tell. It helps that he has an older brother that has played the position. I think that's a positive for him. He's seen what his brother has gone through, not only in high school but on the college level, and he's been around the game.

How's Toney Baker?
He's right on track with his progress.

Thoughts on recruiting for next year:
I don't think we'll have the scholarships, hopefully not to sign 30 guys because if so our APR will probably plunge off the face of the earth.

I would say that we'd sign between 17-18. If you're on a five-year program, which you want to be because you want to build a solid foundation, be good every year and not be spiked up-and-down. Five into 85 is 17, so somewhere between 15-20 is where you want to be all the time.

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