The NC State coaching staff and Wolfpack Club hosted close to 175 Wolfpack recruiting enthusiasts at it's inaugural signing day celebration Wednesday evening. The club members in attendance were able to mingle with the entire Pack coaching staff and participate in a Q&A session with head coach Tom O'Brien afterwards. The night concluded with a 25 minute film presentation that showed senior highlights of the entire 2008 recruiting class. The highlights were narrated by Wolfpack Director of High School Relations, Chad Jamison. Pack Pride was in attendance and has coach O'Brien's remarks at the event.
"Today is our first full effort recruiting here in North Carolina State and as I've said over and over, it's a credit to the coaching staff, spearheaded by Jerry Petercuskie our recruiting coordinator. I think the thing that I know I've done right is to hire the right guys.
It's pretty obvious with this class today that you wouldn't have a class that's 26 strong where half of them are from the state of North Carolina. As I've said before when I was at Virginia, every player we recruited out of the state of North Carolina that came was a good player for us. I knew the quality of high school athletes and as the chancellor says, we are the people's university. We are the state university. I still contend that there's no difference between Ohio State, Penn State, Louisiana State and NC State except they all won national championships and we haven't yet. We're the same school so that's what we have to do.
There's 13 kids from the state and it started over the summer. It seemed to get the ball rolling and some of the best players in the state seemed to want to come play for this staff and be a part of the Wolfpack family and it ended with a kid out of Florida that came up the last weekend. So it was a long stretch to get these 26 guys. Four of them came in mid-year- Dominique Ellis, signed with us a year ago. Kyle Linney had a little bump in the road academically and we have to do a better job with these kids down the stretch so that everybody comes in August. We signed Ahmad Jaradat from Canada. We had success at Boston College in Canada because it was the only place where we could recruit people to come south. But Jerry (Petercuskie) has had a great relationship with people up there and specifically at a position we needed, the offensive line. Dwayne Maddox graduated early from high school and came in and that's important because it's a spot we needed. He's a linebacker and he'll get a chance to compete early and get on the football field.
I said a year ago when I was asked what we were going to recruit and I said a football team. I think if you look back at our season and what needs we had- it became apparent two things we had to do better. Number one, we had to quit turning the football over and we have to get turnovers. We can't play at a -17 turnover margin and expect to win any football games so that's something we have to correct as a staff. The other thing we had to do was solve the problem on the offensive and defensive line. We did not control the line and if you can't control the line of scrimmage- in 12 games maybe there was two that I can feel confident in saying that we controlled the line of scrimmage- you can't win football games.
Obviously it starts up front on the offensive and defensive side. Obviously we're very happy with the high school kids we signed to play offensive line but for the most part that's a very difficult position to play as a freshmen because of the maturation needed. For a lot of those kids they need the ability to redshirt. The best players we could find out there to fit our offensive and defensive scheme were junior college defensive players and we signed three up front. It afforded us the opportunity to move (Ted) Larsen and (John) Bedics to the offensive line for the spring so we can get two more mature bodies with Jaradat- you know Canadians, there school goes a little longer than ours but he's a little bit older than a normal high school guy. The thing about those two, Larsen and Bedics, is that they'll bring a little toughness and quickness to the offensive line. We'll coach them in the spring and hopefully improve our offensive line. It's easier to come in and play on the defensive line and we recruited the right guys there.
We gave three walk-ons scholarships and then Keith Willis transferred in from Boston College and he was eligible to go on scholarship. But we put Bradley Pierson on scholarship, Jamaine Clemmons and Koyal George are on scholarship. Geron James is back in school. We didn't really get to know him last year because he didn't have anything to do with the football program. He had some personal problems and left school so he's back in now.
So when you look at it, there's a big turnover in this football program. There's over 30 scholarship people that'll be coming in now or will be coming in in August. You look at the senior class and we're not going to have many kids there. There's only 14 seniors on the team today. If you look at that, four of those are walk-ons or transfers.
We have a couple of kids that are no longer with the program. (Cedric) Hickman and R.J. Armstrong are no longer with the program. With that, there's a lot of talent in this class. There's people at every position. There's kids that can run real fast and there's a lot of real big guys. It's nice that everybody gives rankings but what our job is is to make them five-star people and five-star football players. That's what we have to do and that's what we've had success doing. We're excited about this class and excited about the upcoming spring practice and I would say that we're 100% better than we were last year on this date. We're off the road and the coaches have commented on how this football team looks today."