The timetable for recruiting coverage seems to accelerate every year and already several names for North Carolina’s class of 2010 have surfaced. OL Rob Crisp from Chapel Hill High appears to have an early stranglehold on the state’s top spot. LB Prince Shembo from Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte is another player that’s created a lot of buzz and will likely be a major target next year. When it comes to the skill positions, WR Tony Creecy from Southern Durham High School may end up being rated one of the nation’s best.
The early interest in Creecy hasn’t been built on hype. Instead, the rising junior has established a national reputation because of his dominance at nearly every camp and combine he’s attended. He attended camps at NC State, East Carolina, Duke and UNC and was promptly offered verbal scholarships by all despite the fact that colleges can’t extend a formal offer until September.
Creecy attended national underclassman combines in Durham and Georgia and was recognized as one of the top receivers at both. Earlier in the spring he went up against several of the nation’s best for 2009 at a Nike Camp in Chapel Hill and showed the ability at wide receiver to beat players a year older and already boasting written offers from numerous big-time schools. Creecy recently told Pack Pride that his early success hasn’t necessarily been a surprise simply because of all the time and hard work he’s put in to get where he’s at.
“It (the early accolades) wasn’t necessarily a surprise because I thought that was how it was going to go for me because I work so hard,” he said. “There’s not many sophomores that work as hard as I do everyday, consistently. I also do what I’m supposed to at school. It felt like it was going to come but it was just going to take time.”
Recently, Creecy attended his second camp at NC State and the results were much the same as his other workouts. Despite suffering a minor bout with the flu, Creecy consistently dominated opposing defensive backs and the only time he seemed to suffer was when the quarterback simply couldn’t get him the ball. At 6-0, 197 pounds, he is a physical presence that is an extremely advanced route runner and pass catcher given his age. Creecy shocks opposing DB’s with his physicality at the line of scrimmage and uses crisp cuts and breaks to create separation. Equally impressive is his concentration and ability to look the ball into his hands on each reception. All of this potential and talent has Creecy poised to be one of the nation’s best headed into the 2010 recruiting season.
For NC State, the Pack prides itself on evaluating and jumping on prospects early, except in the case of Creecy, he came looking for them. His father stopped by State after Creecy’s sophomore season to drop off film. With the coaches out at the time, Creecy wasn’t satisfied that the Wolfpack staff would get the highlight tape so he took it a step further. He shot an email to Wolfpack athletic’s director Lee Fowler explaining his concern. Fowler promptly responded and ensured Creecy the Wolfpack coaches would get his son’s film. After reviewing it, the State coaches wasted no time in letting Creecy know where they stood during their football camp in 2007- an offer would be waiting for him on the first day that colleges could officially extend a scholarship.
That early attention gave the Pack nearly a year head start on every other college as Creecy made numerous unofficial visits to Raleigh over the course of the next year. A little over a week ago he made his latest trip to NC State and recounted his workout for the Wolfpack coaches.
“I think my camp at State went real well,” he said. “I learned a lot of new things like keeping my hands pumping when I come out of my break and I learned how to stay low when I come out of my breaks. I also had a chance to work on some of my release moves.”
NC State’s recruiting efforts are being headed up by Wolfpack RB coach Jason Swepson. He has played a huge part in helping establish the Pack as a major player for Creecy’s commitment.
“I get a great vibe from NC State,” he said. “Coach Swepson and the other coaches talk to me and just let me know to keep my grades up and things that are going to help me in life. They tell me college is about life and just to keep my head up and make sure I do my work.”
“At State, I love the atmosphere. They’re the only school I’ve seen lose games and then come out to the spring game and they have a great crowd. They’ve got great coaches, great facilities. This is like one of the best facilities I’ve ever been to.”
In addition to NC State, Creecy has a couple of additional in-state schools he’s keeping a close eye on.
“I also like Carolina and Duke,” said Creecy. “I like those two because they’re in-state and the coaching staff’s are pretty good.”
With 19 months still left before he’ll have to sign with a college, Creecy has a ton of time to evaluate his options. With new colleges jumping in the fray constantly, he plans to take it all in for the foreseeable future.
“I’m just going to ride this thing out for a while.”