The Wolfpacker

May-June 2020

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 51

8 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER O n March 6, three-star wide receiver Julian Gray from Hopewell High in Huntersville, N.C., took in an NC State spring football practice, one of the five held before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the remainder. A day after that, the lifelong Wolfpack fan an- nounced that he was verbally committing to NC State, becoming the first member of the 2021 NC State recruiting class. The 5-11, 175-pound Gray also had of- fers from Duke, Georgia Tech, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. He said that he was mainly considering Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in addition to NC State. "NC State just had so many things that sep- arated them from those schools," Gray added. Gray was timed at 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash last year at The Opening re- gional combine. In 2019, he was timed as fast as 10.84 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 21.92 seconds in the 200. ranks Gray as the No. 28 prospect in the state of North Carolina. He had 57 receptions for 1,217 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 games as a junior. "Julian is a program guy who you want in your high school football program," Hopewell coach Jamelle Byrd said. "He is the epitome of what you want if you drew up guys in a lab for your high school program." Three days after Gray committed, three- star wide receiver Jakolbe Baldwin from Richmond Senior High in Rockingham, N.C., joined him. The 6-1, 175-pounder was a big-game producer for Richmond last year, helping the Raiders go 12-3. Baldwin finished with 34 receptions for 687 yards and eight touchdowns in 12 games (he missed one contest). "What we've seen is a level of consistency you don't always get out of high school kids, especially kids at the wide receiver and other skill positions," Richmond head coach Bryan Till stated. "He just comes to work every single day. He really has been a staple and positive for us offensively." At the combine in Charlotte in 2019, Baldwin had the eighth-fastest shuttle time (4.107 seconds) out of 1,454 tested athletes and the fourth-best broad jump (10-foot-6) out of 1,442 recorded. He also had an offer from Duke at the time of his commitment and has since added Vanderbilt and Michigan State to the list. ranks Baldwin as the No. 41 player in the state. Three-star cornerback Mario Love Jr. from Hough High in Cornelius, N.C., was offered by NC State during the summer prior to his sophomore season, after he was named a Freshman All-American by in January 2018. On April 10, Love commit- ted to NC State over offers from Duke, Geor- gia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina, Penn State and Tennessee, among others. "They are close to home," Love said. "The coaches have never told me anything that wasn't true, and I know players on the team. They think I can make an early impact." The 5-9, 170-pound Love had 23 tackles (17 solo) and an interception in 10 games as a junior. He is listed as the No. 43 pros- pect in the state by "He runs well, and he has good ball skills," Hough head coach Mat- thew Jenkins said. "More than that, he just understands where to be and how to put himself in the right position. He under- stands the game so well." On April 15, three-star running back Caleb McDowell from Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County High committed to NC State over offers from Colorado, Indiana, Purdue and Syracuse. "I felt very comfortable there," McDow- ell explained. "The whole coaching staff at NC State and I, we had a bond like no other coaching staff in the country." At Tennessee's football camp last sum- mer, the 5-9, 175-pound McDowell was reportedly timed at 4.42 seconds in the 40- yard dash and had a 39.0-inch vertical leap. Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio called McDowell "a dynamic athlete." "He's got that combination where he's got elite top-end speed, but he's also got great body control, where he is able to con- trol his body in space," Fabrizio pointed out. "That's a rare combination." McDowell was named all-state as a defensive back and was also dubbed his T R A C K I N G THE PACK ■ Class Of 2021 Commitments Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School/Last School) Jakolbe Baldwin WR 6-1 175 Rockingham, N.C. (Richmond Senior) Julian Gray WR 5-11 175 Huntersville, N.C. (Hopewell) Mario Love Jr. CB 5-9 170 Cornelius, N.C. (Hough) Caleb McDowell RB 5-9 175 Leesburg, Ga. (Lee County) Aaron McLaughlin QB 6-5 220 Alpharetta, Ga. (Denmark) NC State Starts 2021 Football Recruiting Class With Five Commitments Quarterback commit Aaron McLaughlin is ranked as high as the No. 53 overall recruit in the country regardless of position by ESPN. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - May-June 2020