The Air Apparent

This feature story is from the 2008 Recruiting Yearbook of the Pack Pride Magazine and focuses on NC State quarterback signee Mike Glennon. To learn more about our publication and how to subscribe, click on the link inside ...

  • Pack Pride The Magazine

    The Air Apparent

    Standout Quarterback Mike Glennon Aims To Fill Raleigh's Skies With Aerials – And Fill Fans With Hope For State's Future

    Pack Pride Magazine
    April 2008
    WORDS: Scott Vogelsberg
    PHOTOS: Jeff Reeves

    e's been compared to college football's top quarterback and soon-to-be-millionaire Matt Ryan of Boston College. He's the kid brother to the starting signal-caller for the reigning ACC champion Virginia Tech Hokies. He's already been anointed as the heir to Philip Rivers as NC State's next great quarterback.

    He's Pack signee Mike Glennon … and he'll arrive in Raleigh with as much fanfare as any signal-caller in Pack history, carrying the burden of Wolfpack Nation's expectations upon his still-skinny shoulders before he ever dons the Red and White.

    Hailing from Westfield High School in Chantilly, Virginia, Glennon ascended from promising prospect to one of the nation's most decorated prepsters as a senior. After guiding Westfield to the Class 3-A Division 6 championship and what is believed to be the first 15-0 record in state history, he was named Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year; Associated Press Virginia Player of the Year; first-team all-state, all-region and all-district; and the No. 1 player in the state by the Roanoke Times. The 6-6, 195-pounder threw for 2,557 yards and 32 touchdowns—the 11th-best single-season total in Virginia prep annals—and only seven interceptions, completing 64.5 percent (171-265) of his passes. For good measure, he added 129 yards and seven scores on the ground.

    On the strength of that performance, Glennon was invited to the inaugural Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando, Fla., where he promptly won the Burger King Skills Challenge and took home Most Valuable Player accolades for his squad. kept elevating Glennon up the rankings, finally rating him as the No. 5 quarterback and the No. 87 overall player in the nation and a four-star prospect. considered him the No. 3 signal-caller and the No. 32 overall player in the land and assigned him a grade of 83—a score of 80 to 90 is reserved for "outstanding prospects." PrepStar magazine listed him as the No. 107 overall player in the country, and Glennon was selected to the 2008 Parade and EA SPORTS All-American teams.

    Somehow, amidst all the hustle and bustle, the youngster still found time to write a weekly diary for Pack Pride magazine, chronicling his senior campaign and keeping Wolfpack fans apprised of his dialogue with State coaches, fellow Pack commitments and even potential recruiting targets.

    Of course, it's not that Glennon was exactly unknown prior to his recruitment exploding, especially with sterling bloodlines as the brother of Hokies signal-caller Sean Glennon. As a junior, the younger Glennon connected on 123 of 205 passes (60 percent) for 1,662 yards and 18 touchdowns with just five picks, leading Westfield to an 11-1 record. He was then tabbed first-team all-district and district Player of the Year, in addition to garnering honorable-mention all-metro recognition from the Washington Post. Based on that effort, he was invited to the prestigious Elite 11 camp, where he won the Most Improved and Most Likely to Play First in College awards, and was runner-up in the MVP voting.

    "He said they were all very excited … I could tell he was excited."

    Glennon became a highly coveted target for a host of schools across the country, earning offers from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, Miami and Purdue, among others. He eventually narrowed that list to NC State, Virginia and Michigan, with one somewhat-puzzling fact muddying the waters.

    The Pack had yet to offer Glennon a scholarship.

    It looked to be a head-scratching decision at the time, but coach Tom O'Brien and offensive coordinator Dana Bible had long operated under an insistence that a quarterback prospect had to attend a team camp and get evaluated in person before being tendered an offer. Undaunted, Glennon remained highly interested in State, and elected to journey to Raleigh for the camp. After putting together a lights-out showing in front of the entire Wolfpack coaching staff, it didn't long for Glennon to get some good news from his recruiting coach, Pack defensive line coach Keith Willis.

    "Right when the last camp ended, they texted me to call them, and I spoke with Coach Bible, Coach O'Brien and Coach Willis, my recruiting coach," Glennon said. "That's when they said they were offering me a scholarship, but they didn't want me to tell anyone until they had a chance to speak with some of the other quarterbacks first.

    "Coach Willis said that after I left camp, all the staff was talking about me … talking about how good I looked. He said they were all very excited … I could tell he was excited."

    Unbeknownst to anyone else, Glennon had quietly identified NC State as his leader after making the trek to Raleigh. With a Wolfpack offer in hand, it didn't take long for him to make a decision about his collegiate future.

    "Ever since I visited for camp, they were the standard," said Glennon. "When I went to my other visits to Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State, I was comparing them all to NC State. That's when I really knew it was the place for me.

    "Until that camp, I really thought I was going to take at least a few official visits. After I visited there, I decided that if they offered me I was going to commit. I knew it was where I wanted to go."

    "They know he's going to improve the program and make it a winner."

    Glennon consulted with Westfield coach Tom Verbanic, then sat down with his parents to break the news.

    "I talked with my coach, and he said he could tell that's where I wanted to go," Glennon said. "My parents were real excited. They really liked it down there when they went with me for camp, and right away, when we got in the car after that camp, they said it was a good school for me.

    "They love Coach O'Brien, with his honesty and what he brings to the table. They know he's going to improve the program and make it a winner, so after we talked, I called Coach O'Brien and committed."

    The addition of a vital building block in the foundation of rebuilding the NC State program made even the normally reserved O'Brien show a bit of emotion.

    "He's really a man of few words, but I could tell he was excited," said Glennon. "He talked about how we're going to keep recruiting strong and land a big class."

    Indeed, Glennon eventually became the gem of a deep and talented recruiting haul, considered the No. 20 class in the country by On Signing Day, O'Brien spoke highly of Glennon, mentioning that the youngster's conversations with Bible helped show the State staff how perceptive and intelligent he was. That maturity partially comes from watching how his brother adjusted to life in Blacksburg and the ACC, and is another attribute that attracted the Pack to Glennon.

    "It helps that he has an older brother that has played the position," O'Brien said. "I think that's a positive for him. He's seen what his brother has gone through, not only in high school but on the college level, and he's been around the game.

    "He's our kind of guy. It was very key for us to get an individual like him."

    However, O'Brien was careful not to add any more expectations to the load already facing Glennon. On the recruiting trails, word spread that the Pack staff had targeted Glennon as a Ryan-type quarterback … quite a comparison for a young signal-caller to live up to.

    "The NC State coaches told me all along that, of all the quarterbacks they've scouted the past few years, I remind them the most of Matt Ryan at Boston College," said Glennon. "He's done a great job there … he's going to be a first- or second-round pick [in the NFL], and I wouldn't mind being that good in the future."

    When asked whether Glennon reminded him of Ryan, who O'Brien coached for four years at Boston College, the coach smiled and said, "Yeah – he's tall and skinny."

    O'Brien didn't completely rule out Glennon's chances for playing immediately in Raleigh, though.

    "He's very talented. He has a lot of potential," said O'Brien. "But as [Penn State coach] Joe Paterno once said, ‘All potential means is you haven't done anything.' He's been very successful at the high school level and very successful in every all-star game he's played in. He's a very talented individual.

    "He's not sure what he wants to do … whether he wants to redshirt or play. But I know all those kids are competitors and once they get here and figure it out, they want to play.

    "He's very talented. He has a lot of potential."

    "If he's the best guy for the job, he's going to play."

    Glennon, who is still growing and may have reached 6-7 in height by now, will also keep an open mind about early playing time. He knows he'll have to hit the weights early and often to prepare his body for the rigors of the ACC, but also knows that dedication in the weightroom could lead to early reps.

    "I would love to start as a true freshman, but at the same time, if it's best for me to redshirt, I will do that as well, because it may be better for me in the long run," said Glennon. "Watching their offense, what I do best, they do best. I don't think there is a better offense out there than NC State. I think State is the best fit for me.

    "I feel like I'm what they want at quarterback. I think that if I can get big enough and learn the offense, I could definitely go in there and compete right away."

    Of course, NC State fans temper their enthusiasm by pondering the plights of a few highly touted prepsters who came to Raleigh with designs on stepping into the cleatsteps of Rivers, only to fall far short of expectations. From Jay Davis to Marcus Stone to Daniel Evans to Harrison Beck to Justin Burke, the Wolfpack has struggled to find consistency and stability at the signal-caller spot.

    Can Glennon finally be the one to break through, assume Rivers's role as leader of the Pack and live up to the hype? No one can tell right now, but if enthusiasm and excitement count for anything in the transition from high school to college, Glennon just might have a leg up.

    "NC State is where I want to be, and I know it's the place where I'll have the most success," said Glennon earlier this fall. "I was just thinking [that it has been] one month since I committed, and I'm still as excited about NC State today as I was a month ago."

    Whether Pack fans will see Glennon piloting the offense on Opening Day 2008 or at some point in the future remains to be seen, but suffice it to say that Wolfpack Nation shares Glennon's excitement for what looks to be a bright – and high-scoring – future.

    This feature story is from Pack Pride's 2008 Football Recruiting Yearbook that was shipped to subscribers in early March. CLICK HERE to learn more about the publication!

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