NC State kicked off the Class of 2009 a couple of weeks ago when they received a pledge from Stone Bridge High School (Ashburn, Va) standout Brian Slay. The Pack has also targeted his talented teammate Zach Thompson .
Thompson boasts early offers from NC State, Maryland, Virginia, Syracuse, West Virginia and most recently, Boston College. Those come on the heels of a solid senior campaign for Thompson. On the year, the 6-5, 255 pounder tallied 50 tackles and four sacks en route to all-state honors as a defensive lineman for the Bulldogs.
With impressive size, speed and toughness, Thompson could potentially play just about any spot on the defensive line. He recently told Pack Pride that position isn't as important as simply playing where he's needed most.
"A lot of schools are saying defensive tackle and a few are saying end," said Thompson. "For me, it's not that important. Where ever they need me best is where I'm going to play."
With visits under his belt to Virginia and Maryland, he headed down to NC State this weekend and left impressed with the Wolfpack."State is definitely a school that I'm looking at. I hear a lot of good things about them," said Thompson. "I went down with my mom for Junior Day, and it was real nice. I love the coaches... I love coach Willis. He's my recruiting coach and would be my position coach. I really like him. He is recruiting me and he's been selling me and Brian as a package deal I guess you could say. I know he wants both of us. I was kind of surprised that Brian committed to NC State so early, but he loved it down there. So, I mean he's real happy with it. He's been trying to get me to go there with him since he got back [from his first unofficial visit.
"The facilities are real nice too. They have the best football center I've seen by far. They have a weight room that is overlooking the stadium, and it's huge."
Another school that will figure prominently into Thompson's future is Virginia. Their location and Thompson's familiarity with the Cavs will make them a serious player for his commitment.
"I've been down there a lot and it's close to where I live," said Thompson. "I've been going there since I was younger and I like the academics there because they really help you out. I also like the coaching staff. They were the first school to offer me."
Thompson says he's still in the evaluation phase and wants to visit a few more schools before making a decision. However, as things stand now, it appears unlikely that his recruiting will draw out past the summer.
"I'm going to William & Mary with my brother here soon, and I also want to get out and see West Virginia and Boston College," he stated. "I'm going to try and narrow it down soon and have a decision by the middle of the summer. I just want to make sure I visit all of the schools I'm interested in. I really like UVA and NC State a lot but outside of that I don't have one team standing out."
Scouting Report: "Zach Thompson is a player that really impresses on film. Lining up at defensive end, he is a tall player with long arms that gets tremendous initial penetration because of his ability to shed the first blocker.
"Thompson has a very nice combination of size and strength and displays the ability to consistently make plays in the backfield but has the speed to track plays down from behind. Just as impressive is the hard-nosed mentality that Thompson shows on every play.
"Depending on the system, he could stay at defensive end in college but because of his frame and potential for growth, may be a better fit at defensive tackle down the road." - Pack Pride Recruiting Analyst Steve Williams
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