The Wolfpacker

March 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 23 of 95

2012 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY MATT CARTER H ere is The Wolfpacker's best of the best and superlatives from the 2012 recruiting class. Biggest Get: Lithonia (Ga.) Mar- tin Luther King High defensive end Kenderius Whitehead's decision to sign with NC State over Georgia and Clemson sent shockwaves through the recruiting world. He was a high priority target for the Bulldogs in particular. Biggest Steal: Not many gave NC State much of a chance with running back Shadrach Thornton from Liberty County High in Hines- ville, Ga. Most expected him to end up at Georgia Tech or Vanderbilt, and when NCSU running backs coach Everette Sands left for South Carolina, many thought Thornton could end up at Ole Miss. Most Underrated: Cornerback Niles Clark is not a blazer, and because of that he gets overlooked, but he shined in the state playoffs for Lassiter High in Marietta, Ga., against touted receivers. Clark, a two-time all-county performer, is well suited for NC State's zone coverages. Future Pro: Defensive tackle K'Hadree Hooker from South Lenoir High in Deep Run, N.C., needs to reframe his body, but he has an unusual blend of strength and quickness that should make him appealing to scouts in about four years. Most Outgoing: Cornerback Marchez Coates from McDonough High in Pomfret, Md., is quick to make friends, and he does not mind talking on the field or off. Most Likely To Succeed Outside Sports: In- terior lineman John Tu'uta has proven his leadership skills already by leading a com- pany of post graduates at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. Tu'uta was responsible for a group of cadets that in most cases were older than him. Most Soft-Spoken: After July 9, defensive end Tyler Knox from Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High did exactly one interview with the Ri- network, and that was when this Odds And Ends gia (6), Delaware (2), South Carolina (2), California (1), Maryland (1), Pennsylvania (1) and Virginia (1). Longest drive from home: You cannot even and Kenya (1). States represented: North Carolina (7), Geor- Countries represented: United States (21) Class Awards Superlatives For The Pack's Incoming Players fin from Newark (Del.) High can hurt a de- fense in several ways. He has the speed to go deep, but he can also turn a quick slant into a long gain. Future Captain: Safety Josh Sessoms from Southern Nash High in Bailey, N.C., never shied away from his love of the Wolfpack. He was the first commit for NC State, and he was the first player to fax over his letter of intent. Sessoms, who was honored by WRAL with its Extra Effort Award in January, was a team captain for Southern Nash's football team. Instant Impact: When Terrell Manning de- Defensive tackle K'Hadree Hooker has a mix of both strength and quickness that could have him playing on Sundays in the NFL after his Wolfpack career is over. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN reporter made the 3.5-hour drive to talk with him in person. Biggest Sleeper: Defensively, it is Joe Wright, a physically imposing 6-7, 230-pounder from Rose High in Greenville, N.C. Wright has all the tools to become a top defensive end, but he is still learning the position. Offensively, the nod goes to interior line prospect Eddie Gordon from Boiling Springs (S.C.) High. Gordon is not the tallest offensive lineman at 6-2, but he impressed while play- ing center for the victorious North team in the South Carolina North-South All-Star Game. Most Likely To Play Two Sports: Safety J.J. Jones, Whitehead's teammate at MLK High, is hoping to get a shot at playing basketball while at NC State. Most Inspirational: Linebacker Drew Da- drive to Desmond Owino's home in Nairobi, Kenya. Shortest drive from home: Raleigh native Drew Davis. Tallest: Joe Wright — listed at 6-7. Heaviest: Deylan Buntyn — 330 pounds. Shortest: Niles Clark at 5-10. and Marchez Coates at 5-11 are the only players shorter than 6-1 in the class. Average height and weight: 6-2.9 and 233.95 pounds. 24 ■ THE WOLFPACKER vis from Broughton High in Raleigh was born a month premature, but he grew into a 230-pound tackling machine who earned an offer to play for his hometown team at the last minute. Biggest Upside: Offensively, quarterback Manny Stocker from Coatesville (Pa.) Area High has the tools to be a nightmare for ACC defensive coordinators. He has a strong arm and throws with a soft touch, but Stocker is also athletic and can hurt teams with his legs. Defensively, end Desmond Owino has only played football one fall, but he is a gifted ath- lete who showed tremendous promise on film. Best Playmaker: Wide receiver Xavier Grif- cided to pass up a fifth-year senior season to go pro, that left a void at linebacker. A candidate to fill that is Robert Caldwell from College of the Desert in Desert Palms, Calif. Caldwell was the last recruit to commit to NC State in the 2012 class, but in terms of imme- diate importance, he may be first. Hardest Worker: Linebacker M.J. Salahud- din was told by NC State that if he ran well at the Pack's summer camp, he would get an offer. He lowered his 40-time to 4.62 seconds and immediately jumped on a Pack offer. Late Find: Offensive lineman Quincy McK- inney was not an unknown. He signed with South Carolina in 2011 before enrolling at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. State, was in search of offensive linemen when they got word that McKinney was backing out on the Gamecocks in late October. The Pack moved in with an offer, quickly secured his commitment in November and got him en- rolled in January. Late Bloomer: Offensive lineman Bryce Kennedy from Pinecrest High in Southern Pines, N.C., flew under the radar until he wowed colleges with his athleticism last spring on the combine circuit. Best Hands: Tight end David Grinnage from Newark (Del.) High's highlight tape shows him making impressive catches, both on offense and defense. Fastest Recruit: Receiver Charlie Hegedus was never afraid to run a 40-yard dash. Hege- dus ran the 40 twice in combines last spring, clocking 4.42 and 4.50. He ran it in 4.45 sec- onds at NC State's summer camp. Strongest Recruit: Shortly after enrolling at NC State, defensive tackle Deylan Buntyn, a transfer from New Mexico Military Insti- tute in Roswell, N.M., and native of Have- lock, N.C., tweeted that he did 25 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press. ■

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