The Wolfpacker

March 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 23 of 79

24 ■ THE WOLFPACKER ■ 2018 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY JACEY ZEMBAL N C State had to say good-bye to a talented group of 20 seniors and two juniors who entered the NFL Draft early, but it is excited about the new group of players signed in the class of 2018. ranked NC State's class No. 34 overall in the country and seventh in the ACC. The Pack was also seventh in the league with an average of 3.08 stars per player. NC State was able to sign the majority of its class during the new early signing period, Dec. 20-22, leaving just a smidge of drama for the traditional National Signing Day Feb. 7. Four players were added after the early signing period, with Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer High cornerback Taiyon Palmer the prize. The former Duke commitment picked NC State over offers from Nebraska, Tennes- see, Alabama, Clemson, Florida and Notre Dame. Palmer, junior college defensive tackle Val Martin, former USC tight end Cary Ange- line and longtime defensive line commitment Derrick Eason were added during the second signing period. NC State signed 25 players with eight of them enrolling in January for spring prac- tices, including early grads linebacker Payton Wilson, running back Ricky Person Jr., cor- nerback De'Von Graves, kicker Christopher Dunn, offensive lineman Jaylnn Strickland and defensive end Joseph Boletepeli. Junior college transfers Joe Babros, a de- fensive end, and Kishawn Miller, a corner- back, also arrived early. NC State finished with five four-star prospects — including a potential game-changing quarterback in Devin Leary of Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek High — plus 10 prospects from the state of North Carolina and four transfers (three from the junior college ranks and one from the Foot- ball Bowl Subdivision). Leary will compete with rising redshirt freshman Matt McKay to be NC State's quar- terback of the future. Leary had an astonish- ing 9,672 passing yards, 117 passing touch- downs and 11 rushing scores in his career at Timber Creek High. ranked him as the No. 9 quarterback and No. 240 overall prospect in the class of 2018. "We are so proud of what we are getting, and not just as a player, but as a person," head coach Dave Doeren said of Leary. "I think the world of the family, and I think the world of what he has done there. "The lure of playing at our university, where you have 'QB U,' is real. What Ryan [Finley] is doing now, creating a fifth guy that is NFL-bound is very alluring to these young men." Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman was impressed by the Wolf- pack's recruiting achievements. "This was a really important class for NC State," Friedman said. "It was great for them to capitalize on the momentum they had the past two seasons. "Where their recruiting starts is making sure they can knock down the best players in the state. It's a really good year again next year in the state of North Carolina, and the following year, too. They need to keep that momentum going." NC State always wants to recruit the state HOMEGROWN Ten In-State Recruits Form The Backbone Of NC State's No. 34-Ranked 2018 Class North Carolina natives (from left to right) Alim McNeill, Ricky Person Jr. and Payton Wilson — four-star prospects that were invited to the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl — headlined the Wolfpack's 2018 recruiting haul. PHOTO BY TRACEY WILSON

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