Pack Pride confirmed several weeks ago that West Columbus (Cerro Gordo, NC) standout Travis Leggett would be joining NC State in 2008 as a preferred walk-on. This weekend it was learned that another talented in-state prospect will be joining the Pack as a walk-on.
Few wideouts in the state were more productive in 2007 than Leesville Road High School's Taylor Gentry. A Shrine Bowl and all-conference selection as well as Cap-7 co-offensive player of the year, Gentry amassed 65 receptions for 1,186 yards and 21 touchdowns on the year. One of his most impressive outings of the season was against eventual state champion New Bern in the state playoffs. In that game, Gentry had seven receptions for 85 yards although Leesville ultimately lost, 20-10.
On defense, Gentry was equally effective. At 6-2, 205 pounds, he lined up at linebacker and finished off the season with 125 tackles and three sacks.
Perhaps the highlight of Gentry's year came back in December at the Shrine Bowl. Going up against some of North and South Carolina's best, Gentry caught a 47-yard post from fellow Leesville teammate QB Thomas Wilson for a touchdown that gave the North Carolina squad their first points of the day.
Despite an impressive senior season, Gentry ultimately didn't receive any division one offers. However, he still has aspirations of playing major college football and he plans to do that as a walk-on at NC State.
"I'm coming to State as a preferred walk-on," said Gentry. "There were some other schools talking to me like UNC and of course, NC State as well as East Carolina and Wake Forest. Then there were some smaller ones like Presbyterian and couple others but the they were all thinking was that I was going to go division one so nothing really happened there. So now my plan is to go with NC State."
After considering several schools, Gentry said it boiled down to the direction he sees the Pack program headed.
"I've known Logan Bible because he's Dana Bible's son since he came to the school so I've kind of grown with him the past year. I just like where they're headed and I know coach O'Brien is going to be there for the long run. He's not about the prestige and the look, he's just smash-mouth football and that's what I want to play. So that's what kind of led me to them."
Gentry said he plans to sit out in 2008 but he still maintains the hope of earning a scholarship and being a contributor for the Wolfpack at some point in his career.
"They're going to red-shirt me my freshman year," he said. "That's something else, that they treat everyone equally. It's such a difference with coach O'Brien there compared to when Amato was there. When you're on the team you're treated equally and I'll have as good a shot as anyone getting on the field."
Gentry isn't the only talented player from Leesville considering the Pack. His teammate, Zach Greene boasts an early Wolfpack offer and Gentry said he plans to do his part to help sway Greene to join him at NC State."
"I'm going to be telling Zach about NC State because he's a good ball player," said Gentry. "I've played with him the past three years and we have chemistry together. I know he could be used at kickoff returns and I'm definitely going to be trying to get him over there."
Gentry plans to major in Sports Marketing at NC State.