-T.J. Graham...6-0, 180 pounds, 4.4-seconds in the 40...Wakefield (NC) High School
How important was this spot in relation to other positions: Low...The NC State coaching staff never targeted many wide receivers and seemed content with landing just one.
Did the Pack meet their needs based on sheer numbers: A
How many may the Pack target for the class of 2009: 2-3
Originally, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that TJ Graham would play his college football for NC State. Former head coach Chuck Amato extended an offer to Graham after seeing him in camp prior to his junior season. The former Wolfpack coaching staff had also forged a good relationship with Graham’s father, Trevor, as he frequently used the track facilities at NC State. However, when Tom O’Brien was announced as Amato’s successor, the newly-hired staff didn’t immediately honor Graham’s offer. Because there was very little junior film to evaluate, the Wolfpack coaches decided they wanted to see him in person at camp before renewing their scholarship pledge.
While at camp, Graham excelled and had an outstanding workout. Already boasting tremendous speed, he also showed good hands and solid route running and came away with a solid Wolfpack offer.
It didn’t take long for Graham to decide where he wanted to play. His fondness for the Pack combined with the chance to play with future Wolfpack commit Mike Glennon- who he teamed up with at camp- led Graham to commit to State just a few days later.
If you consider just stats, rankings and awards, Graham was probably the least recognized member of the 2008 class. However, we selected him as our sleeper of the class and here’s why:
With Graham you start with his speed. He logged 4.3 and 4.36-second 40-yard dashes at a Shrine Bowl combine last year and is generally recognized as one of the top 100 and 300-meter high school sprinters in the nation. Graham has an almost unbelievable explosion from a dead stop and reaches his top end speed very quickly. In fact, he may have the best top end speed since Alvis Whitted played for State several years ago.
Beyond just speed, Graham has good catching ability but from strictly a football skills standpoint, he is obviously raw. Like most track runners, Graham is more of a north-south threat versus east-west. However, what we like about him is he comes to State with a chip on his shoulder. Graham wants to prove that he’s not just a track guy playing football. He knows that he has a lot to learn to become a reliable wide receiver at State but seems determined to make it happen. It will probably be important for Graham to remain patient and to find his niche, especially early in his career as he develops as a player.
Based on the attributes mentioned earlier, we think Graham is very well-suited to challenge for a spot on the field as a freshman at either kick or punt returner. Down the road, the prospects of Graham using his speed on post patterns or go routes should bring a stretch-the-field element that State has been missing for several years.