Class of 2008 Review: The Backs

Pack Pride takes a look back at how NC State fared recruiting the backs for the class of 2008.

Running Back/Fullback


Signees:

- Colby Jackson...6-2, 225 pounds, 4.6 in the 40...Trinity Christian...Dublin, Ga

- Brandon Barnes...6-0, 180 pounds...Bunn (NC) High School

- Tobias Palmer...5-10, 165 pounds...Northwood High School, Pittsboro, NC


How important was this spot in relation to other positions: Fullback-critical, Running Back-moderate...The fullback spot was probably a moderate need that became critical with the removal of Ced Hickman from the team. With State’s depth at running back, that position didn’t appear to be a major need in the class of 2008.

Did the Pack meet their needs based on sheer numbers: A

The Pack missed on: Ryan Williams

How many may the Pack target for the class of 2009: 1-2


The Wolfpack needed a fullback in the class of 2008 and made an offer to Colby Jackson last October. He committed in November and from there, the news got bad. Jackson would suffer a season-ending knee injury during the playoffs. Later, Wolfpack fans would learn that current State fullback Cedric Hickman had been removed from the team. At that point NC State became extremely thin at fullback.

Prior to his injury, Jackson had elevated himself to legendary status among high school football enthusiasts in Georgia. 200 yard rushing efforts were commonplace. His tough, physical style allowed Jackson to dominate in the Georgia private school league and it was clear that his abilities were head and shoulders above his peers. Beyond simply his play on the field, one of the biggest compliments you can give him is the fact that Miami offered a scholarship and pushed hard to land him in their class. Given the Canes tight scholarship situation and a class that would end up ranked as the third best in the country- landing an offer from Miami further proved how fortunate the Wolfpack coaches were to land him early.

Were it not for his knee injury, there’s every reason to believe that Jackson may have seen the field as a true freshman. Should he recover soon enough, it’s possible that he could still see some playing time in 2008. One aspect that he wouldl add to the offensive backfield is an upgrade in athleticism at the fullback spot. Jackson’s size and frame are exactly what you’re looking for in a bruising fullback and he should be a great addition once he fully recovers physically.

Brandon Barnes was a major pickup for NC State when he committed to the Pack last June. He was one of four key in-state prospects that would commit to the Wolfpack in a nine day stretch and helped solidify State’s plan to target the top players in North Carolina.

What NC State landed was a versatile athlete boasting the ability to help the team at a couple of spots. Barnes has good quickness and lateral movement and above average athleticism. While he was a nationally ranked prospect who was selected to the ESPN Under Armour all-star game and the Shrine Bowl, curiously, the Bunn coaches didn’t heavily utilize him on offense during their season. Instead, he focused primarily on defense where he did collect 77 tackles and five interceptions.

The official word is that Barnes will be given an opportunity to begin his career at running back for NC State. However, few people would be surprised if he ultimately ends up at safety down the road. Barnes has the size and speed to excel at that position and would simply need time to hone his technique and coverage skills.

Another player listed as a running back that could potentially end up on the defensive side of the ball is Tobais Palmer. The speedy athlete was the first commitment of Tom O’Brien’s first full recruiting class and the coaches had to have loved the potential they saw.

Although smallish at 165 pounds, Palmer has explosive speed. His initial burst of quickness is one of the best of any prospect in this class and he gets to his top-end speed very quickly. Palmer plays tougher than one would think given his size and has some nice wiggle when running the ball.

Ironically, all of the aforementioned attributes would also help Palmer to grow into a super cornerback. He will reportedly begin his career as a running back but realistically, one would have to think that defensive back would offer him an earlier chance at helping the Wolfpack- particularly when you consider Palmer’s lack of size and State’s current depth at running back.

Perhaps the most exciting part of Palmer’s game is what he could potentially bring to special teams. Because of his impressive burst, wiggle and top-end speed, Palmer has all the physical tools to help State, possibly as a freshman, at either punt or kick returner.


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