North Carolina and NC State will meet on the gridiron for the 105th time on Saturday afternoon. On the recruiting trail, the two Triangle Area rivals have crossed paths countless times.
Class of ’15, New Bern (N.C.), 3-star, No. 70 CB
Three days before Christmas last year, Hughes shocked many by selecting UNC over Florida and NC State at a ceremony at his high school. In the two months leading up to his decision, he officially visited all three schools. During his Florida official, Will Muschamp was fired essentially making Hughes’s recruitment a UNC-NC State battle.
Hughes has played in nine games this season. As a reserve cornerback, he has made eight tackles and deflected three passes. He also has the season’s longest kick return – a 40-yarder against Miami.
Class of ’13, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian, 4-star, No. 28 S
Early into his recruitment, Lawrence narrowed his focus to four ACC schools – Clemson, Duke, UNC, and NC State. After attending a Tar Heel spring practice, he began contemplating a commitment. A return a week later with his parents pushed him over the edge.
Lawrence, who has started all 11 games this season for UNC at cornerback, leads the ACC in pass breakups (13). On the season, he has compiled 45 tackles and a pair of interceptions. During his previous two seasons, he has appeared in 20 games totaling 82 tackles plus an interception.
Class of ’11, Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek, 4-star, No. 16 QB
Williams’s collegiate decision ultimately came down to UNC and Virginia Tech. But, his months of uncertainty also included official visits to Michigan and NC State. He eventually decided to stick with his initial commitment to the Tar Heels.
After an injury knocked out Bryn Renner in 2013, Williams seized the starting quarterback role. Since then, he has established more than 20 UNC records, including 89 career touchdowns. He has compiled six of the 13 highest single-game total offense performances in UNC history.
Class of ’13, Bunn (N.C.), 3-star, No. 30 OLB
Alston’s indecisiveness shaped his recruitment into a war of attrition that left UNC and NC State as the final schools standing. He ended up scheduling official visits to those two schools. However, shortly after ending his NC State official visit, Alston canceled his trip to UNC and committed to the Wolfpack.
Alston has appeared in all 11 games for NC State this season with three starts at wide receiver. On the season, he has caught 16 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. In the previous two seasons, he has played in 19 games (six starts) catching 21 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns.
Class of ’14, Oakboro (N.C.) West Stanly, 3-star, No. 70 DE
After earning scholarship offers from both NC State and UNC at camps on consecutive days during the summer prior to his senior year, Hill was prepared to make his collegiate decision. A couple of days later at a ceremony at his home, he decided on the Wolfpack.
Hill has started all 11 games at defensive tackle this season. He has 43 tackles, including 9.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks, plus five QB pressures and three pass breakups. As a true freshman a year ago, he appeared in all 12 games, with five starts, making 40 tackles and 7.5 TFLs.
Class of ’15, Garner (N.C.), 4-star, No. 18 RB
When Hines announced his favorite schools list early in his senior year, UNC, a school he visited several times, was excluded. However, UNC resurfaced when his finalists were revealed just before his announcement. Last December, he selected NC State over fellow finalists Duke, East Carolina, Florida, Georgia, UNC, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and West Virginia.
A true freshman, Hines has played in all 11 games this season with a couple of starts. He has caught 18 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 26 times for 149 yards and another score. He also leads the team with 725 yards on 26 kick returns.
As usual, UNC and NC State have met a number of times on the recruiting trail for the 2016 class. Some of the notable battles included Jordon Brown, Tomon Fox, Shug Frazier, Jay Jay McCargo, Jonathan Smith, James Valdez, and Garrett Walston.
Three outstanding battles remain for a trio of early enrollees in Divine Deablo, Myles Dorn, and Dexter Lawrence. Deablo’s attendance at Saturday’s game will be a part of his third and final official visit. Dorn, who has already officially visited both programs plus Ohio State and West Virginia, will make his decision on Dec. 4. Lawrence, a five-star defensive tackle and top in-state prospect, plans to make his commitment on Dec. 14.