With signing day passed, Pack Pride takes a look back at some of the major story lines for the class of 2010.
Biggest recruiting battle won...S David Amerson...Given NC State’s need in the defensive backfield, it didn’t take long for Amerson to emerge as one of the top prospects on the Wolfpack’s recruiting radar.
While many thought UNC would become a major player, the Heels were late to the party and that didn’t seem to sit well with Amerson. Instead, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame would prove to be the main competition for the Wolfpack.
The Hokies, in particular, have enjoyed quite a bit of success in picking off defensive backs from the state of North Carolina. Amerson would visit Blacksburg and Virginia Tech became a threat but the real battle boiled down to NC State and Notre Dame.
After showing up with teammate Major Bryant for NC State’s football camp, the Wolfpack staff put on the full court press to land a commitment. And while State appeared agonizingly close to landing him, Amerson decided to follow through with his plans to visit Notre Dame before reaching a decision.
That trip wouldn’t come until September and afterwards, when Amerson didn’t commit to the Irish, the Pack appeared to be in good shape. He would follow up his visit to South Bend by making an official visit to Raleigh on Nov 7 and rewarded the Wolfpack’s diligence by committing upon returning home.
Interestingly, on the Friday prior to signing day, Wolfpack assistant coach Mike Reed reportedly camped out at Dudley High School for most of the day to ensure no other school tried backdoor the Pack at the last minute.
One that got away...WR Reggie Wilkins...Prior to NC State’s football camp last summer, the Pack appeared to have an on-again, off-again relationship with Wilkins. After seeing him work out, State decided to ramp up their interest and he would become one of the Wolfpack’s top in-state targets.
An admitted UNC fan growing up, it appeared to be game over for Wilkins when the Heels finally decided to offer. Sure enough, Wilkins would commit to the Heels but the Pack, led by LB coach Andy McCollum never stopped the pursuit of swaying him to Raleigh.
After weeks of dogged pursuit and a little help from Wolfpack QB commit Tyler Brosius, the Pack’s efforts culminated in a decommittment from UNC and a subsequent commitment to NC State after the Pack beat the Heels in the final regular season game of 2009.
Wilkins’ commitment to State was anything but solid, however, and he continued to listen to UNC headed into January. Wilkins would officially visit Louisville and NC State but maintained his desire to play for the Pack after those two trips. Many felt it just a matter of time before another switch when he officially visited UNC in mid-January. As expected, Wilkins re-committed to UNC after the visit with Wilkin’s brother and guardian reportedly playing a big role in the final decision.
Curiosity factor...DE Theo Rich...Rich won’t be expected to contribute right away but with time, could prove to be a valuable member along the NC State defensive line. At 6-2, 225 pounds, Rich will need to add size in college but talent-wise, appears to boast quite a bit of upside.
Rich’s exact potential is really an unknown as he was out of the game of football for two years after a serious sinus infection nearly ended his career.
Upon returning for his senior season and playing on a team with very little talent, Rich played well and showed enough ability to catch the eye of the NC State coaching staff. Obviously there’s a lot of maturing and coaching that will need to take place before Rich is ready to contribute but he would appear to be one of the wild card recruits that has the potential and curiosity factor to surprise before his career in Raleigh is over.
Jewel of the class...OL Rob Crisp...Some years this can be a tough selection. However, this was not one of those years. Crisp is quite simply, an elite player that could suit up for any college in the nation.
During his sophomore year, Pack Pride scouted Crisp and watched him dominate players a year older. At the time we proclaimed him the best offensive lineman in the state and that included 2009's top player, OL Xavier Nixon. Nixon would go on to start at left tackle as a freshman for Florida.
While not necessarily a proponent of true freshmen making major contributions, especially from an offensive lineman, Crisp could prove to be the exception.
At 6-8, 295 pounds, the size is there. Physically, he’s ready to compete. In pass protection he’s on par with many college tackles who boast much more experience. Crisp’s footwork, ability to maintain balance, use of his hands and overall technique should give the NC State coaching staff a huge option to consider next fall.
If there’s any aspect of Crisp’s game that will need to be refined it is run blocking. Because of his height and playing primarily in a spread offense, Crisp has to improve in getting low and drive blocking. He can dominate on the high school level because of his superior size and strength but that advantage will go away once in college.
There is no such thing as a can’t miss prospect in college football but with his blend of attitude, work ethic, size and ability, Crisp is as close as you can get.
Sleeper of the class...FB Logan Winkles...Whoever rated Winkles a two-star prospect must’ve never seen him in person nor watched hi senior highlights. While not the fastest or most athletic, Winkles is simply a football player that loves to hit the opposition in the mouth, go back to the huddle and then go out and do it again.
With his long hair and non-stop motor, Winkles is reminiscent of former Tom O’Brien recruit and player Jamie Silva. Winkles seems to excel where ever he lines up whether it be linebacker, defensive end or tight end.
However, it’s at tight end where you see glimpses of what has the Wolfpack staff so excited. Winkles seems to line up roughly six inches off the ground giving him a leverage advantage and the ability to plow any defender he faces. He generates tremendous explosion at the snap and seems to thrive on crushing the defender in front of him. Winkles routinely drives the opposition 5-7 yards downfield.
All of this should serve the Wolfpack well when Winkles lines up at fullback in 2010. Don’t be surprised if he sees the field in some capacity as a freshman. With his determination and drive it may prove impossible for the Wolfpack coaches not to use Winkles in some fashion.
Recruiter of the year...Defensive Back’s coach Mike Reed...The staff at Pack Pride has lauded coach Reed as an up and comer on the recruiting trail and one couldn’t help but feel it just a matter of time before he had a breakthrough season.
After showing promise in his first two years as a Wolfpack assistant, Reed broke through and became one of the Wolfpack’s key recruiters for the class of 2010. He found himself in the midst of the Pack’s biggest recruiting battle when he was able to sway Greensboro (NC) Dudley standout David Amerson away from Notre Dame.
He was also the lead man on landing Pennington (NJ) S Dontae Johnson and again, proved to be the difference in a heated battle with Maryland and Stanford.
Reed would also jump on College Park (GA) Clayton Park OL Torian Box before anyone else and finished off his effort by landing Stone Mountain (GA) Chamblee sleeper DE Art Norman.
Reed has a tremendous personality and he connects well with his recruits. His enthusiasm for the job is obvious and the players pick up on that excitement. As coach Reed continues to build on his current high school ties while establishing new ones, the sky is the limit for his contributions on the recruiting trail.