Class of 2010 Breakdown: Defensive End

Pack Pride takes an in-depth look at the signees at the defensive end spot for the class of 2010.

Defensive End


- A.J. Ferguson…6-3, 270 pounds…Fork Union, Southport, NC

- David Akinniyi…6-4, 250 pounds…Northeastern University

- Art Norman…6-1, 225 pounds…Chamblee High School, Stone Mountain, GA

- Theo Rich…6-3, 225 pounds…Portal (GA) High School

Did the Pack meet their needs based on sheer numbers and landing primary targets: C+

The Pack missed on: Kareem Martin (UNC), Alfy Hill (Bama), Zack McCray (Virginia Tech)

Most underrated? Art Norman

Star in the making? Theo Rich

How many may the Pack target for the class of 2011: (1-2)

Position Breakdown (Note- the information here is solely the opinion of Pack Pride and should be considered for discussion purposes only)

A. J. Ferguson

STRENGTHS: Ferguson is a hard worker and gives 100% on every play. A good athlete, he pursues well to the ball and is tenacious and is a high-motor prospect. He was able to add considerable bulk while at Fork Union which should serve him well at college. It's still not out of the question that he could move inside at some point during his career.

WEAKNESSES: Ferguson is somewhat of a tweener as to whether defensive end or defensive tackle is his best position. He needs to work on quickness and continue to add strength. Fairly raw, he'll need to continue to improve on his technique.

ACADEMICS: Already enrolled at NC State

IMPACT IN 2010: Since he's a year older and was able to enroll in January, Ferguson will have the benefit of going through spring practice which will give him a leg up on the other incoming high school defensive ends. However, State may not necessarily need him in 2010 so a redshirt year would be a best case scenario.

David Akinniyi

STRENGTHS: Having transferred from Northeastern, Akinniyi already knows what it takes to compete at the FBS level. He has good quickness off the edge and solid instincts for a rush end. Akinniyi will bring maturity to the position and should prove to be a solid asset on defense.

WEAKNESSES: Akinniyi doesn't have tremendous size so he'll need to use his other attributes to overcome this. Having just one season at NC State means his transition and ability to adjust to the higher level of competition will need to be a quick one.

ACADEMICS: Already enrolled at NC State

IMPACT IN 2010: Since he'll be at State for just one season, Akinniyi will have to make his impact in 2010. At the very least he'll likely emerge on the two deep at defensive end and could challenge for a starting spot at some point during the season assuming he's able to make the jump from FCS to FBS.

Theo Rich

STRENGTHS: Rich has a good starting point to build physically. Obviously he'll need to add size but brings the frame that should allow him to do that down the road. He plays with a high motor, is fairly athletic and has a good burst at the snap. Rich is a player that has the potential to grow into a very good defensive end for NC State with time.

WEAKNESSES: Having missed quite a bit of football in high school, Rich is still raw and will need quite a bit of coaching to get him where he needs to be.


IMPACT IN 2010: Redshirt is likely

Art Norman

STRENGTHS: Norman is a player that makes his living off of playing smart, playing hard and going 100% on every snap. He reads plays well and just seems to have a knack for getting to the ball carrier. Norman has good quickness and plays tough.

WEAKNESSES: While boasting all the intangibles you look for in a football player, Norman is somewhat limited physically. He may not have the prototypical build so Norman will need to make up for it with his all out style and smart decision making.

ACADEMICS: Projects as a qualifier

IMPACT IN 2010: Redshirt is likely

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