The Wolfpacker

May 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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■ FOOTBALL RECRUITING Spring Visitors workout time on the practice fields. It's also a chance to show prospective recruits the ins and outs of the program up close and create some important first impressions. NC State hosted a long list of prospects S throughout its spring practices. Here are some of the notable visitors, broken down by position. BY MATT CARTER pring football is not just an opportunity for the team to get in some valuable Nichols is a speedster who claims his best 40-yard dash time is 4.39 seconds. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 19 touchdowns before breaking his foot late in his junior season. He noted that he is also hearing from Duke, East Carolina and Wake Forest, and he has a feeling that the two ACC in-state schools may be close to offering. Also at the spring game was a prospect to watch for 2014, Derrell Scott from Have- lock (N.C.) High. The 5-10, 175-pounder already has offers from East Carolina, NC State, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Scott ran 179 times for 1,807 yards and 22 touchdowns for the state's 3-A champs as a sophomore. He also caught 17 passes for 235 yards and a score, and played cor- ner and returned kicks. ■ Wide Receiver NC State may be locked in an in-state recruiting battle with UNC for Johnathan Alston from Bunn (N.C.) High. The 6-2, 200-pound Alston could play wide receiver, defensive back or perhaps even outside linebacker in college. NC State is recruit- ing Alston at wide receiver, which is his preferred position. Alston — who caught 27 passes for 523 Class of 2014 running back Derrell Scott from Havelock (N.C.) High already has offers from East Carolina, NC State, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN ■ Running Back NC State became the first school to ex- tend an offer to Dakwa Nichols, a 5-10, 185-pounder from Richmond County High in Rockingham, N.C. Nichols received the offer while in Raleigh for the Pack's Kay Yow Spring Game April 21 at Carter-Finley Stadium. "Coach Tom O'Brien had called me into his office and was telling me that he liked the way that I had played, and he offered me right on the spot," Nichols recalled. "I was a little surprised that he did it. My coaches were telling me that something like this was going to happen. "I like NC State. I like the coaches. I pretty much know that's a pretty good college." 68 ■ THE WOLFPACKER yards and seven touchdowns, and recorded 67 tackles, 12 stops for loss and six sacks as a junior — has offers from NC State, Ar- kansas, ECU, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Tennessee. He visited State for a spring practice and then again for the spring game. "It was nice," Alston said. "Everything was big. I got to walk on the field, go to the weight room and locker room, and meet a few players." One of the nation's most heavily re- cruited receivers also took a visit during spring. Paul Harris, a 6-3, 185-pounder from Frederick Douglass High in Up- per Marlboro, Md., has offers from Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, NC State, North Carolina, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Southern Cal and Vir- ginia, among others. NC State was the first school to offer Harris, who caught 39 passes for around 800 yards as a junior, but he has named an early top three of Auburn, Penn State and USC. Both Alston and Harris are rated as three-star prospects by ■ Tight End Most schools view Kevin Robbins, a three-star prospect from Bishop McNamara High in Forestville, Md., as a defensive end. NC State, though, likes Robbins at tight end and is the only school among the roughly 15 to have offered that is recruiting him for offense. The 6-4, 235-pound Robbins took a two- day unofficial visit to NC State April 20-21. "NC State was a great place," Robbins said. "They have some great people around the program, and they have some great facilities. I really enjoyed being with the coaching staff and seeing where I'd fit it. "People really follow NC State. I also like how NC State had a family environ- ment with the program." Robbins' offer list includes NC State, Boston College, Duke, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Rutgers, Syracuse, Wake Forest and West Virginia. His father played football for Michigan State. Robbins notched 60 tackles and five sacks defensively, and hauled in 15 recep- tions for around 300 yards offensively as a junior. Another tight end that visited during the spring was Chris Burton from George Washington High in Danville, Va. The 6-3, 250-pound Burton had previously visited for a junior day in March. He has offers from East Carolina, NC State, Temple, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt, among others. Burton caught 16 passes for 315 yards as a junior, and had nine receptions for 98 yards and two scores as a sophomore. ■ Offensive Line NC State notched its first verbal commit- ment when Cole Blankenship from Davie County High in Mocksville, N.C., picked up an offer from the Wolfpack after visiting for State's spring game. Blankenship (6-3, 300 pounds) got the offer April 23 and commit- ted a day later. He's not the only interior line prospect to take a visit during the spring. Tyrone Crowder from Richmond County High in Rockingham, N.C., also made the trek for a spring practice. He estimated that was his fifth or sixth visit to NC State, and only Clemson has come close to hosting Crowder as much as State. Crowder is a marquee recruit. ranks him as a four-star prospect and the

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