The Wolfpacker

March 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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MARCH 2018 ■ 29 2018 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE ■ sive end Joseph Boletepeli from Heritage High in Wake Forest, four-star defensive lineman Alim McNeill and three-star ath- lete Trent Pennix from Raleigh Sanderson High, and three-star defensive back Tyler- Baker Williams from Southeast Raleigh High. Two more were from the greater Tri- angle region — four-star linebacker Payton Wilson from Orange High in Hillsborough and three-star wide receiver Devin Carter from Clayton High. Five more Wake County natives signed with other ACC schools: three with UNC, one with Duke and one with Virginia Tech. Another prospect signed with West Vir- ginia. Sammy Batten, who has been covering recruiting in the state for The Fayetteville Observer and Super Prep since 1991, noted it's been a rapid rise for Wake County. Pre- viously, he noted, the better prospects in the Triangle seemed to come from Durham County. Batten added that Raleigh could be on a path similar to Charlotte. He recalled that when quarterback Chris Leak signed as a five-star quarterback with Florida in 2003, there were just two Charlotte natives who signed with Division I schools. "Then all of the sudden, Independence gets good so everybody tries to follow In- dependence, and now you have this phe- nomenon in Charlotte where they are pro- ducing 30 kids a year," Batten said. "I see that kind of happening in Raleigh. It's hap- pened more suddenly, I think, in Raleigh." Wake County is currently the largest school system in the state, having passed Charlotte's Mecklenburg County in recent years. That fact has not gone lost on the NC State coaching staff. Running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Des Kitchings is responsible for recruiting Wake County for the Pack. "If you look at it, Wake Forest has won the state championship the last two years," Kitchings noted. "Obviously … there is an influx of people into the Raleigh area every day. "Fortunately for me, with kids involved in youth sports, I can kind of see it from the grassroots what's taking place in this county from the coaching and the instruct- ing and the competition at a young age." The recent talent trends look to continue. NC State already has a verbal commitment from offensive lineman Timothy McKay of Raleigh Wakefield High, while Duke has landed a pledge from offensive line- man Jacob Monk of Corinth Holders High in Wendell over NC State. The Pack has also offered linebacker Drake Thomas from Heritage High and defensive lineman Christian Rorie from Raleigh Enloe High. Nearby Clayton High has four-star de- fensive end Savion Jackson, a highly cov- eted target for the Pack and others. In addi- tion, Wake Forest High defensive lineman Jaden McKenzie has multiple ACC offers and Wakefield punter Ben Kiernan is re- garded as one of the best at his position in the 2019 class. What was notable about the 2018 collec- tion is that those who had opportunities to stay in the Triangle all did. Batten agrees that it is more likely for a talented prep football star in the region to stay local than those from Charlotte and other areas in the state. "Those kids grow up around those schools and grow up probably rooting for one or the other and develop that pull to one of those schools," Batten said. "It's natural that they may want to stay at home and play in front of their parents." Having a strong local talent base could prove to be a benefit for NC State in re- cruiting classes to come. "Hopefully it is," Kitchings said. "Hope- fully we'll remain the place to come. "Obviously I enjoy the part of being in these high schools and establishing relation- ships not only with the coaches but even the youth coaches around the county." Secondary Gets Athleticism Boost In the past, NC State looked determined to add length to its defensive secondary. This year, it appeared to be a concentrated effort to make the unit more athletic. Milledgeville (Ga.) Georgia Military Col- lege cornerback Kishawn Miller earned an offer from NC State after the Pack coaches watched him at a satellite camp at Mercer University, where he reportedly ran the 40- yard dash in 4.45 seconds. Potential nickel Tanner Ingle from Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips High had the 26th best Nike Rating (105.06) among hundreds at the Nike Camp in Orlando, where he had a laser-time 40-yard dash of 4.50 seconds, a shuttle of 4.15 seconds and also registered a 35.0-inch vertical. Late corner addition Taiyon Palmer of Ar- cher High in Lawrenceville, Ga., had a Nike Rating of 114.03, 73rd best from all of the Nike Camps nationally. His laser times were 4.62 seconds in the 40 and 4.07 seconds in the shuttle, and he added a 37.3-inch vertical. Four-star corner and early enrollee De'Von Graves from Appomattox (Va.) County High was timed at 4.50 seconds in the 40 and 4.15 seconds in the shuttle with a 32.2-inch verti- cal at NC State's summer camp in 2016. At a camp this past summer, safety/nickel pledge Tyler Baker-Williams from Southeast Ra- leigh High had a 4.54-second 40-yard dash and registered a 9-foot, 4-inch standing broad jump. Three-star corner Teshaun Smith from Davie (Fla.) Western High has a reported 4.57-second 40-yard dash time. ■ Speedy three-star athlete Tanner Ingle is ex- pected to play in the secondary at NC State. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Joseph Boletepeli, a three-star defensive end at Heritage High, was among five Wake County products in the class of 2018 that signed with NC State. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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