The Wolfpacker

March 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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2012 FB RECRUITING ISSUE ■ FOOTBALL RECRUITING NOTES Unusual Drama On Signing Day For NC State T BY MATT CARTER ypically National Signing Day is a low- key affair under head coach Tom O'Brien, but that was not the case in 2012. The Pack's recruiting class was under an assault from other colleges in the days and weeks leading up to Feb. 1. The Pack lost one verbal commitment the night before signing day when athlete LaKeith Walls of Rhodes High in Cleveland decided to switch to Illinois. He signed with the Fighting Illini a day later. Then the Pack had to sweat out three more recruits on signing day itself. Wide receiver Charlie Hegedus from Lassiter High in Mari- etta, Ga., picked up a late offer from Okla- homa State, which finished the 2011 season ranked No. 3. The Cowboys offered Hegedus two days before National Signing Day. On the morning of signing day there were reports that Hegedus was going to wait until later in the afternoon before making any deci- sions, and a strong buzz developed that Geor- gia may come forward with an offer. Georgia had long been Hegedus' dream school. In the end, though, Hegedus decided to join other teammates, including corner Niles Clark who was also part of State's recruiting class, in signing at a ceremony at 9 a.m., and he officially became part of the NC State class. Not far from Lassiter High, at Martin Lu- ther King High in Lithonia, Ga., State had even more drama. The Pack had secured a pair of verbal commitments from that pro- gram— highly touted defensive end Ken- derius Whitehead and fast-rising safety J.J. Jones. Both, however, were being relentlessly pursued before signing day. Jones was the target of a strong recruiting recruiting, plus videos of all the top prospects in the nation and NC State commitments, visit For regular reports on football Scan this code with your smart phone to stay up-to-date with recruiting news on the go! 26 ■ THE WOLFPACKER Wide receiver Charlie Hegedus from Lassiter High in Marietta, Ga., attracted a very late offer from Oklahoma State, but he decided to sign with the Pack on Feb. 1. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM effort from Kentucky. He took a last-minute official visit to Lexington the weekend before signing day, and at a ceremony at MLK High, for a brief moment, it appeared the Wildcats had convinced Jones to make the switch. Jones donned a Kentucky hat when announc- ing his intentions before declaring that he was joking and put on a Wolfpack cap. That made Whitehead very happy, because seconds before Jones stood up to declare his intentions, Whitehead had announced he was a member of the Wolfpack. Whitehead himself was the subject of rumors throughout the signing day morning because his coach, Chad Carson, had told multiple reporters that he thought Whitehead would switch to either Clemson or Georgia. State's Class Could Have Looked Different The class of 2012 can best be described as the year of the switch. NC State had four players commit to the Wolfpack only to end up signing elsewhere. LaKeith Walls of Rhodes High in Cleve- land, quarterback/athlete switched to Illinois the day before the Feb. 1 National Signing Day. James Summers from Page High in Greensboro, N.C., decommitted from the Wolfpack Jan. 25 and instead chose to sign with archrival UNC. In the fall, quarterback A.J. Doyle from Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury, Mass., and offensive lineman Terry Davis from Wy- oming High in Cincinnati both decommitted from NC State. Doyle, who signed with Massachusetts, left the class because he was recruited by State to play linebacker and wanted to pursue an opportunity to play quarterback in college. Davis inked with Miami (Ohio) after backing out of his pledge for personal reasons that forced him to seek a college closer to home. State was the beneficiary of some switches as well. The Pack stole a couple of recruits from UNC: defensive end Desmond Owino from Sanderson High in Raleigh and offen- sive lineman Bryce Kennedy from Pinecrest High in Southern Pines, N.C. Kennedy en- rolled early at NC State. J.J. Jones of Martin Luther King High in Lithonia, Ga., gave a verbal commitment to Middle Tennessee State last summer before his stock rose in the fall and he opted for NC State instead. Cornerback Marchez Coates from McDonough High in Pomfret, Md., pledged for Pittsburgh last summer before switching to NC State on Halloween. Linebacker Drew Davis from Broughton High in Raleigh made a commitment to Min- nesota in the summer, but he jumped on a late offer from NC State a week before National Signing Day. Running back Shadrach Thorn- ton from Liberty County High in Hinesville, Ga., was a brief Kentucky commitment af- ter making what Thornton admitted was a "hasty" decision last September. Ole Miss continued to pursue Thornton until signing day. Offensive lineman Quincy McKinney from Columbus, Ga., signed with South Car- olina last February and remained commit- ted to them when he enrolled at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. However, McKin- ney backed out in October and picked NCSU a few weeks later. For the final scorecard: NC State con- vinced seven to switch and lost four. Notes The Wolfpack has just 15 scholarship seniors on the 2012 team, and typically teams sign a few over the amount of seniors on the roster. That leaves State likely targeting a class around 16-18 players in 2013. One wild card in the equation is potential NCAA legisla- incoming and current, on scholarship and must reduce that by one to the NCAA-allowed 85 before the start of preseason camp in August. The attrition that occurs every offseason at every school should take care of the issue. ■ • NC State appears poised to sign a smaller class in 2013. tion that would reduce the number of scholarships from 85 to 80. • The Pack has technically over-signed with 86 players,

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