Defensive tackle has been an area of focus for Tom O'Brien and the NC State coaching staff this year. The Pack has already picked up verbal commitments from Nathan Mageo, Brian Slay and Tyson Chandler at the position. But given State’s future depth needs, they’re hoping to add at least one more before Signing Day.
Conor O'Neal is a defensive tackle from the Sunshine State that has emerged on NC State's radar of late. At 6-3 and 300 pounds, O'Neal has good strength and could potentially be an early-impact player because of his physical maturity.
Unlike some prospects who fly in under the radar and emerge not long before Signing Day, O'Neal is resisting the temptation to keep things too open. He is focused in on three schools that recruited him throughout his senior season at Newsome High School in Lithia, Florida -- NC State, Boston College, and Wisconsin.
He spoke with Pack Pride about why he likes each school.
"Wisconsin is the only one I've visited so far (on December 12)," O'Neal said. "It went really well. I like how they do things up there. Basically, I like (defensive line and special teams coach) Partridge. I like their whole staff, really.
"They have a good program and good academics. Their business school is really good and that's really geared towards what I'm looking to do."
While the Badgers have already made a positive impression, O'Neal said he is keeping an open mind and no one has an edge just yet. Up next will be an official visit to NC State this weekend. He talked about the Wolfpack program.
"NC State, you know, they have a new coaching staff and it's an up and coming (program)," he explained. "They're not exactly there yet but in a couple of years they will be. That also appealed to me, that they're not quite there but almost. I'd like to be a part of something special like that.
Coach Swepson has been responsible for luring O'Neal to Raleigh and O'Neal said the two have built a good relationship. NC State started recruiting him about halfway through his senior season and hasn't let up since.
O’Neal also talked about Boston College.
"Boston College has played great defense for a while now. They've had a very good defense the past few years. I don't think it's always been like that but it has been recently. I'd look forward to playing with a great defense."
All three of his finalist’s have made the trip to Florida for in-home visits with the senior lineman over the last several weeks.
As a senior, O’Neal tallied 35 tackles and six sacks.