Early Visits Crucial To Pack Recruiting

Unofficial visits have been a huge part of NC State's recruiting effort thus far in 2008. Pack Pride breaks down how those trips have impacted several recruits.

Unofficial visits have been a huge part of NC State's recruiting effort thus far in 2008. When given an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with recruits and show off the Pack's top of the line football facilities, the Wolfpack coaches have made huge inroads with several major targets for next year's class.

Pack Pride analyzes the recruitments of several of NC State's top prospects for the class of 2009 that have made a trip to Raleigh over recent months and how the visit impacted where the Wolfpack stands with each.

Brooks Michel
Carmel (IN) High School
3-star OL and No. 58 OT in nation
NC State was the first to offer the Indiana native but didn't appear to make much headway until convincing him to visit for State's spring game a few weeks ago. That visit left him impressed. "I did not expect NC State to be like that and that trip really helped their chances. It was awesome." The Pack is now in his top two along with Minnesota.

Ryan Cheek
Lancaster (OH) High School
3-star LB and No. 31 MLB in the nation

The Pack was able to get Cheek on campus not once, but twice over the span of a couple of weeks. He visited for a spring practice and then returned for the spring game and really liked what he saw. "The first thing that really stuck out with NC State was the football facilities," said Cheek. "That really stuck out. And then the coaches, I really like the coaches." That was enough to propel State into his top three along with Maryland and Cincinnati.

LaRoy Reynolds
Norfolk (VA) Maury High School

Although most people probably haven't heard about Reynolds, he's a player that NC State has been on for weeks and a visit for the Wolfpack's Spring Game certainly bolstered their chances. "I really liked the weight facilities and they treated us really nice and made us feel like we were at home," he said. State cracked his top five and Reynolds even admitted thoughts of a possible early commitment to the Wolfpack have entered his mind.

Paul Carrezola
Langhorne (PA) Neshaminy High School
3-star TE and No. 16 TE in the nation

With tight end being such a crucial position for NC State in this class, the Wolfpack have made Carrezola an early priority. With their early offer, the Pack coaches were able to host the rising senior for a couple of days during spring practice and hailing from Pennsylvania, a trip to Raleigh was important for State's chances. "That visit was good," said Carrezola. "I liked everything there. The facilities are great, and the coaching staff at NC State is great. I liked meeting with coach O'Brien and getting to know the rest of the coaching staff." Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Iowa will likely be the Wolfpack's main competition.

Terry Shankle
Norwood (NC) South Stanly High School
4-star CB and No. 19 CB in the nation

Despite an early offer from State, the Pack didn't make a lot of headway with Shankle until they hosted him at their Spring Game. That visit helped propel the Wolfpack into his top five. "I got to watch their game, and I could see myself playing for NC State. I saw a lot of things I liked about them. Their defensive backs get after it, and I liked being around them." Florida, Alabama, Clemson and UNC are the other main players for Shankle's commitment.

Ricky Dowdy
High Point (NC) Central High School
3-star DE and No. 45 DE in the nation

Dowdy was nearly one-and-done after making a visit to NC State for their Junior Day back in March. "It was a good trip," said Dowdy. "It was my first trip up there. The coaches impressed me a lot. They're laid back but they don't take any mess from you and they have high expectations for you. The facilities, I loved that. I've got to go back in two weeks and they're going to show me around campus." When he made the visit to State a couple of weeks later he would pull the trigger on a commitment to the Wolfpack.

Jheranie Boyd
Gastonia (NC) Ashbrook High School
4-star WR and No. 31 WR in the nation

After visiting NC State back in March and developing a nice relationship with incoming quarterback Mike Glennon, Boyd was back on campus for the Pack's Spring Game. "It was fun," said Boyd. "The atmosphere was great... with the fans and everything. Plus, I was able to see Torry Holt, Jerricho Cotchery, and some other NFL players from [NC] State. My mom liked it a lot too." Boyd will narrow his list of schools later in the summer and most think NC State will be one of the major contenders for his commitment later in the year.

Everett Proctor
Fayetteville (NC) Jack Britt High School

The Wolfpack made the smart move of extending Proctor his first scholarship offer while he was on campus for Junior Day. "I really enjoyed Junior Day at State," he said. "It was a great experience and them being my first offer, it put them high on my list. I really enjoyed State and the coaches, coach Bridge, I get letters from them almost everyday so it's nice to have someone that is actually committed to getting me to be a part of the team." As things stand now, Maryland may prove to be the Pack's stiffest competition but State is right there for the in-state talent.

Brian Slay
Ashburn (VA) Stone Bridge High School
3-star DT and No. 36 DT in the nation

All it took was one visit to NC State for Slay to become the Wolfpack's first commitment in the 2009 class. "I just had that feeling," said Slay. "I was there and after talking with coach Willis I told him that I wanted to commit to NC State. He said that was great and to just take some more time and think about it because it's a big decision. I drove home with my family and thought about it some more and I knew that was what I wanted to do so I called the coaches today and committed officially to coach Willis. It's official now... I'll be playing at NC State."

Travis Bond
Windsor (NC) Bertie High School
3-star OL and No. 34 OT in the nation

Although Bond visited for NC State's Junior Day, it was a trip for the Clemson game last year that initially impressed Bond. "I like their facilities up there and the academic programs they offer," he said. "I think State was the first school to offer me. I went to the Clemson game last year and I liked the crowd. I like the big games, the big crowds. I just really liked their atmosphere." The Pack is now considered one of the teams to beat for Bond along with North Carolina and South Carolina.

Nigel Mitchell-Thornton
Stone Mountain (GA) Stephenson High School
3-star LB and No. 17 WLB in the nation

Mitchell-Thornton seemingly loves every school he visits, but it was clear that his trip to State in March elevated the Pack from being a pretender to a major contender. "Coach Bridge is the guy recruiting me and he's been great," said Mitchell-Thornton. "I have to say I didn't know a lot about NC State before that visit. I was getting some letters from them so I was asking my friends if they knew anything about NC State. Being in Georgia we mainly hear about Georgia Tech or Georgia and with being in North Carolina, you usually think about basketball up there. But the coaches at State told me that everyone knows they're all about football up there and I really liked that. I had mid-interest in them before but I would say it's high now." While he hasn't named particular favorites, look out if State gets another visit this summer. That could be important for the Wolfpack's chances.

Sam Montgomery
Greenwood (SC) High School
4-star DE and No. 4 DE in the nation

Like Mitchell-Thornton, Montgomery seems to have nothing but positives for every school he visits. One factor with Montgomery is that State offered first and that gave them an early "in." Now a national recruit, Montgomery's recent visit for a spring practice was key to keeping the Pack in the race. "I just love the school... I really do. The coaches said they are looking for great players and they are trying to build the program so they can win championships. NC State's head coach talked about how he's trying to make something out of nothing right now. He said anybody can do it when it's easy but he's trying to go about it the right way. I can respect that.""Look for Montgomery to return to State over the next few months.

Jason Ankrah
Gaithersburg (MD) Quince Orchard High School
Had Ankrah boasted an NC State offer when he visited back in March, the potential certainly seemed to be there for his recruiting to take the same turn as Brian Slay. In any event, the Pack became a major contender for the Maryland native after his first trip to Raleigh. "They showed us around the facilities, the stadium and everything and it was really nice," said Ankrah. "That's my top school right now. The coaches are real nice and they're just straight up. We went to the basketball game and that's the best atmosphere I've seen in a long time. I feel like I would fit in there perfectly. The coaches were just showing me a lot of love and made me feel like I was at home." While the Pack led for Ankrah immediately after his visit, he has since backed off that claim as others are now vigorously in pursuit.

Clinton Simpkins
Fredericksburg (VA) Chancellor High School

NC State was the first to extend Simpkins a scholarship offer and there was little doubt the impact they had on him after he made his first visit to Raleigh back in March. "I really enjoyed the visit. I really liked their training facility and the overall atmosphere of the Wolfpack. They gave us a tour of everything they usually do. They showed us how they break their teams up as far as the meetings go and just walked us through how they would do that with their regular guys. It definitely gave me a better feeling for what their program is about. At this point, I'm starting to like it a whole lot better there. The overall atmosphere, the coaches and how everybody treats everybody, it sounds like a real nice place to be." NC State is now considered to be one of the teams to beat with Simpkins along with West Virginia, East Carolina and Kentucky.

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