The Wolfpacker

March 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 37 of 95

2012 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE HELP INSTANT Five Players That Could Contribute In 2012 coach Tom O'Brien, NC State has played true freshmen or junior college transfers right away every year. Last season, in a class that O'Brien ini- T tially anticipated redshirting everyone out- side of the three specialists, seven freshmen burned their redshirts while junior college transfer McKay Frandsen also played. The fewest amount of recruits used was from the class of 2008, ironically perhaps O'Brien's most heralded class, when four freshmen and two JUCO signees played that fall. Only one junior college recruit, wide receiver Tobais Palmer in 2010, has ever redshirted. With that in mind, here are five candi- dates from the 2012 class to see the field this fall for the Wolfpack. 1. DT Deylan Buntyn Buntyn has three years to play two at NC State, but he has a pair of things going for him that could allow him to see the field this fall. First and foremost, he has the size and strength to handle the college game. He has bulked up from a 6-4, 280-pound high school senior from Havelock, N.C., to a 330-pounder after two seasons at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M. He was also a member of the NMMI "K" Club, which is reserved for football play- ers who can bench, squat and hang clean a combined total of more than 1,000 pounds. Buntyn easily passed that with a total of 1,225 pounds. Buntyn also has the advantage of en- rolling early. He arrived at NC State in January and will participate in spring drills. Both starting defensive tackles from last year's Belk Bowl are gone, but there are 38 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER he hope is to redshirt as many play- ers in a recruiting class as possible, but redshirting an entire class al- most never happens. Under head talented young players that are rising up the depth chart. Buntyn will have to impress in competition this preseason to get onto the two-deep. 2. LB Robert Caldwell Although Caldwell will have three sea- sons to play two when he transfers in from College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Ca- lif., for the first session of summer school at NCSU, odds are that Caldwell will get used right away. He was recruited with that thought in mind. Caldwell became a target when Terrell Manning decided to forego his fifth-year senior season and enter the NFL Draft. That opened up a pressing need at line- backer, and the 6-3, 235-pound Caldwell fits well into NC State's aggressive, blitz- ing schemes. Caldwell, a native of Twentynine Palms, Calif., had 93 total stops, 19.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries as a sophomore at College of the Desert. All of those numbers led the team. 3. WR Charlie Hegedus There's not much to not like about Hege- dus. He was ultra-productive as a senior at Lassiter High in Marietta, Ga., catching 69 passes for 1,145 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also has the size at 6-2, 195 pounds, and the speed. Hegedus was timed at 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash at NC State's summer camp last June. Aside from his credentials, Hegedus also has the opportunity to get on the field early at NC State. Three senior wideouts are departing the 2011 team, including starters T.J. Graham and Jay Smith. Offensive co- ordinator Dana Bible prefers to use around six receivers in a game, and with the losses, State is down to five coming back from last season's roster. That means it's a good bet that one of either Hegedus or Newark (Del.) High wideout Xavier Griffin will get some action this season. Griffin is a talented playmaker, but Hegedus is bigger and played against tougher competition in high school. Both, though, will get long looks in the preseason. 4. RB Shadrach Thornton Thornton's chances of hitting the field in the fall will depend greatly on the health of rising redshirt sophomore tailback Mustafa Greene's foot. If Greene, who missed all of last season after having a pair of surgeries on his foot that he injured in last year's spring practice, returns full-go for this fall, then Thornton is a safe bet to redshirt. State already returns its top two rushers from last year's team in rising senior James Washington and rising redshirt sophomore Tony Creecy. Greene would give State three healthy backs, and that's all the Pack prefers to use on offense. Thornton is the kind of running back that O'Brien and Bible have shown an affinity for in their years coaching together. Thorn- ton is a tough, physical runner and a proven workhorse. He has good size at 6-1, 200 pounds, and runs fast enough. If Greene is not ready, do not be surprised if the Pack calls Thornton's number. Defensive end Kenderius Whitehead is a 6-4, 220-pound pass rusher from Martin Luther King High in Marietta, Ga., who posted 16 sacks in his senior season. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM 5. DE Kenderius Whitehead There really was little hiding NC State's excitement over signing Whitehead, a tal- ented 6-4, 220-pound pass rusher from Martin Luther King High in Marietta, Ga. Whitehead was a prime recruiting target for Georgia and Clemson, and not many players from the Peach State leave when the Bulldogs have you high on their recruit- ing board. That's exactly what Whitehead, who had 16 sacks as a senior, did. The defensive end depth chart is fairly crowded and not a position of need, but that could change if some defensive ends, like rising senior Brian Slay or rising redshirt junior Darryl Cato-Bishop, move inside to defensive tackle. Regardless, defensive line coach Keith Willis has proven over the years that he is not afraid to play a true freshman if he is good enough. Willis has used one in four of the five seasons he has coached at NC State. ■

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - March 2012