The Wolfpacker

January 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 11 of 107

12 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER Leading up to the newly established Dec. 20 early signing period for college football, NC State added four significant pieces to its 2018 re- cruiting class, including a pair of four-star talents that are rated among the top 250 players in the country by Four-star defensive line prospect Alim McNeill picked NC State over offers from Michigan and Virginia Tech Nov. 4. On the day of his commitment, McNeill also received an offer from Alabama. The 6-3, 280-pound McNeill is listed as the No. 11 senior in North Carolina, and the No. 16 defensive tackle and No. 244 overall player in the country. "The reason I picked State is the atmosphere there is crazy," he said. "Carter-Finley gets rocking pretty good, and I love the coaching staff there. I've been visiting there since my freshman year, and I've gotten accustomed to the guys there and most of the players as well. "The atmosphere is just there, and the education is great. NC State is a great fit." McNeill burst onto the scene as a sophomore when he had 71 to- tal stops, nine tackles for loss and seven sacks in 11 games. He also recorded one fumble recovery and two passes broken up from his linebacker position. A year later, McNeill tallied 84 tackles, including 18 stops behind the line of scrimmage and seven sacks, a pick-six, two fumble recover- ies and two forced fumbles. In 12 games as a senior, he rushed for seven touchdowns on offense and notched 58 stops (47 solo), 16 tackles for loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles, one pass broken up, one safety and one fumble recovery. McNeill was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 6 in San Antonio. Eight days after McNeill's announcement, three-star de- fensive end Joseph Boletepeli of Wake Forest (N.C.) Heritage High became the fifth Wake County product to pick NCSU in the 2018 class. The 6-4, 240-pounder had taken official visits to Maryland and Michi- gan State, and was seriously considering offers from Geor- gia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest, among others. "I went with my gut," Bo- letepeli said. "It feels like a re- lief. This has been a stress on me because I had to decide to choose between a couple of good schools. This was the best option for me." rates Boletepeli as the No. 27 senior in the state and the No. 45 strongside defensive end nationally. He compiled 62 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one pass bro- ken up in 14 games for Heritage this fall. On Dec. 1, four-star linebacker Payton Wilson completed a stunning change when the longtime UNC commitment announced he was a Wolfpack verbal. The 6-4, 225-pounder from Orange High in Hillsbor- TRACKING THE PACK Four Highly Touted Prospects Commit To NC State Football Four-star linebacker Payton Wilson from Orange High in Hillsborough, N.C., switched his verbal commit- ment from UNC to NC State. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN ■ Class Of 2018 Commitments Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Joe Babros DE 6-5 250 Mission Viejo, Calif. (Saddlebrook College) Tyler Baker-Williams S 6-1 200 Raleigh (Southeast Raleigh) Joseph Boletepeli DE 6-4 240 Wake Forest, N.C. (Heritage) Devin Carter WR 6-4 205 Clayton, N.C. (Clayton) Malik Dunlap S 6-4 190 Charlotte (Harding) Chris Dunn K 5-9 170 Lexington, N.C. (North Davidson) Derrick Eason DL 6-4 255 Norfolk, Va. (Norview) Gabriel Gonzalez OT 6-5 275 Mebane, N.C. (Eastern Alamance) De'Von Graves CB 6-1 180 Appomattox, Va. (Appomattox County) Calvin Hart Jr. LB 6-0 205 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (American Heritage) Tanner Ingle DB 5-10 180 Orlando, Fla. (Dr. Phillips) Devin Leary QB 6-2 195 Sicklerville, N.J. (Timber Creek) Davontae McCrae DT 6-4 260 Miami (Northwestern) Alim McNeill DL 6-3 280 Raleigh (Sanderson) Kishawn Miller CB 5-9 170 Gainesville, Ga. (Georgia Military College) Trent Pennix RB 6-2 205 Raleigh (Sanderson) Ricky Person RB 6-2 205 Wake Forest, N.C. (Heritage) Jasiah Provillon WR 6-3 190 Irvington, N.J. (Irvington) Teshaun Smith CB 6-3 170 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Western) Jalynn Strickland OT 6-6 310 Waycross, Ga. (Ware County) Payton Wilson LB 6-4 224 Hillsborough, N.C. (Orange) Sophomore Defensive Back Commits To NC State It's very early in the recruiting process for class of 2020 cornerback Jahquez Rob- inson from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian, but after multiple visits to Raleigh, he had seen enough. Robinson verbally committed to NC State Nov. 5, a day after being in Raleigh to watch the Wolfpack play Clemson. "I have been thinking about it for a while, especially when I went up there for my first visit," Robinson said, alluding to a trip that happened in February. "We had visited up there, and I just loved the atmosphere there. That was my first game and I just loved it." Watching the Pack in action sealed the deal for Robinson. "I feel like I can thrive in that situation, especially when I went to the Clemson game and I saw them competing with the No. 4 team in the nation," Robinson said. "I feel like the refs kind of cheated them out of the win, but they only lost by seven points in one of the greatest games I have seen so far." The 6-1, 170-pound Robinson knows that the questions will come about choos - ing to commit before his sophomore year of high school is even over. NC State was his first offer, but he had also fielded early interest from Florida, Florida State and Georgia Tech. "I feel like this is the school I really want to go to, especially since it's an engi- neering school, and that's what I want to do," Robinson noted. "Right now, I don't think there is really any other school that can benefit me the way NC State can." Robinson would be the second Trinity Christian football player to sign with head coach Dave Doeren, joining redshirt freshman offensive tackle Kendall Brown. NC State offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford has the Jacksonville, Fla., area in recruiting. It is unusual to have a college already lined up at this stage of one's high school life, but Robinson is grateful for the opportunity. "It feels pretty good to know all my hard work has paid off and that I can make my family happy," Robinson said. He is NC State's only known commitment in the 2020 class.

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