Q&A: Jerry Petercuskie, Part I

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Pack Pride sat down this week with NC State recruiting coordinator and special teams coach Jerry Petercuskie to discuss the Wolfpack's 2008 recruiting class. Here is part I from our exclusive interview!

You were able to sign 13 kids from the state of North Carolina when this was just your first full year of recruiting the state. What do you attribute your success to?
Well, I think the main thing, that was our number one target area... North Carolina. So to have success in that area, to us it was a target area so we expected to have that success. I think the high school coaches are our bloodline.

And for us to get a relationship with the high school coaches, we were talking earlier how you can get fooled by a tape but if a high school coach has worked with a man for four years- he trusts what we're going to do when he gets here- that we're going to take care of him, that we're going to make sure he graduates. We're going to work them hard- on and off the field. Then, there's a trust factor there.

So they're going to be honest with us in their evaluations, the good, bad and ugly because every individual has that. So that was the main area we wanted to hit and get a relationship with the high school coaches in the state. I think the guys did a great job with that.

"Tom does a great job."

Having primarily recruited in the northeast in the past, what were your impressions of the talent level in North Carolina once you had a chance to evaluate it?
This year I think it was good. I think every year it varies. But in our first year out of the box I think there was a multitude of talent at a lot of different positions which was probably the biggest surprise for me.

There were some really good offensive linemen. There were some good linebackers and you always expect the skill people to be good in the state of North Carolina. There's a lot of speed so you have your defensive backs, the running backs, the wide receivers to be there each and every year. But really, I was pleasantly surprised with the rest of the group.

How important was it for the staff to get the quarterback targets in camp so that you could evaluate them in person?
It was huge. We've had that philosophy from the beginning. Dana [Bible] does a great job putting them through their paces so that he has a feel for the quarterbacks making all the different throws, moving their feet, getting in a position where they might have to deliver the football off-balance and so forth. So there's a lot of things you can't see on tape so being in camp for us is critical.

Maybe some guys feel like they don't need to be in camp for whatever reason but for us it's just been something we've done and we're getting more juniors now, kids going into their junior year coming to camp so we can evaluate them at an earlier stage and consequently get a leg up and they can also know our determination as to our evaluation.

It didn't appear that you targeted many high school defensive tackles this year but had success at that position with junior college kids. Will that be a yearly thing or just vary depending on the needs at a position?
As I've said many times I think Tom does a great job of getting a great handle on what our needs are as a football team... moves that will be made in his mind and discussing it with the coaches and so forth.

Consequently with some of the moves that had been made and with what we inherited, we felt we needed to get a little bit older guy in that position as opposed to the offensive line position which is a little more difficult. Now, we did target some junior college offensive linemen. We didn't have as much success getting those as we did on the defensive side of the ball so consequently, moves were made to adjust to that.

Giving the different situations at Boston College and NC State, did you have to use any different philosophy recruiting-wise now, compared to what you did at Boston College?
I think we kept our bread and butter the same. In other words, what we want as a player... we want a character kid with a high motor and a kid that wants to get his degree. Those things will continually stay in place. We're not going to change that. We're not going to vary that.

And so when you look at that, NC State attracts a larger number of kids than Boston College would. So it just makes sense that the pool of athletes is going to be bigger but we're still looking for those three criteria as we go forward.

Can you give your impressions on how State did as a whole with their offensive line recruiting?
I think the guys did a great job in terms of who we ended up with. We started with a large group and ended up getting the guys we got and we feel they're athletic, they're big and consequently, they're high-motor kids.

They're self-starting guys. They go out there on the practice field and they work. And that is what really breeds great offensive linemen. You have to have great togetherness and Don Horton does a great job in making them hang around together. He doesn't make them, but they go to movies together and all of that stuff is what really breeds a great offensive line and when you start the recruiting process with a self-starter, a high-motor, athletic kid then you've got a chance.

"We were all excited."

Mike Glennon had a bunch of offers before he ever camped at NC State where he could earn an offer from the Wolfpack. Was there ever any concern that the Pack would fall behind given the big-time offers he already had?
First off, through the whole process, Mike and his whole family were very receptive to the fact that he was going to come to our camp. It didn't matter if he got a thousand offers. The thing we asked the young man to do was come to camp and the family had no qualms in doing that. So we were never worried that he wasn't going to come because he gave us his word he was.

I think what ties this thing together is when we have a guy being recruited from a family that had an older brother or two go on through the college process of recruiting, we've been very successful. We're a group of guys that we're honest, we're straightforward and what you see is what you get. So after going through your oldest one going through the flim-flam, all the glitter and all the glammer of football recruiting, they've already been through it.

So consequently they want the meat and potatoes. They knew what they'd get here and I think everyone did a great job of just being themselves, showing them what we have and the Glennon's were obviously on the same page in terms of knowing this is what we do, this is what you have to do and consequently there was a match there.

We were all excited. We were all excited about the whole thing. Coach O'Brien and coach Bible were extremely excited as was everybody else because that was the guy we felt was the guy we wanted.


Check back tomorrow for Part II of our exclusive interview with recruiting coordinator and special teams coach Jerry Petercuskie!

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