The Wolfpacker

January 2013

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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■ FOOTBALL recruiting Where Do The Commits Stand? By Matt Carter hen NC State athletics director Debbie Yow strolled to the podium in the Vaughn Towers at Carter-Finley Stadium Nov. 25 to explain her decision to fire head coach Tom O'Brien, the Wolfpack's 20 verbal commitments in the 2013 class were suddenly faced with uncertainty. Yow moved quickly to hire Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren, closing the deal one week after O'Brien's dismissal. Doeren has already been reaching out to the pledges. Here is a breakdown of how the 20 Wolfpack commits reacted to the coaching change. mit from NC State in the days following the coaching change. Dayes has not, though, closed the door on the Pack, and he said that the only other school he has been in contact with is Vanderbilt. The 5-9, 195-pound Dayes has enjoyed a huge senior season, rushing 250 times for 1,686 yards and 24 touchdowns and catching nine passes for 110 yards and three scores to help Cypress Bay reach the 8-A state title game. ranks Dayes as a three-star recruit and the No. 45 running back in the country. W Offensive lineman Cole Blankenship Mocksville (N.C.) Davie County High Blankenship (6-2, 295) was NC State's first verbal commitment, and he released a short statement after O'Brien's firing saying that he would remain firm in his pledge to the Wolfpack. Blankenship was expected to graduate early from Davie County and enroll in the spring semester at NC State. Despite missing seven games with a stress fracture in his leg, Blankenship was selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas All-Star Game Dec. 15 in Spartanburg, S.C. Tight end Chris Burton Danville (Va.) George Washington High The 6-3, 245-pounder acknowledged that the coaching change has caused him to reconsider his options. Although he still calls himself an NC State commitment, Burton may set up official visits to Cincinnati and Vanderbilt. "It's just a football thing right now because the academics are the same at NC State," Burton said. "They still have great academic programs." Burton was George Washington's leading receiver in 2012 with 15 catches for 364 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed once for six yards. rates Burton as a three-star recruit. Wide receiver Bra'Lon Cherry New Bern (N.C.) High Cherry, who had a dream senior season for undefeated 4-A state champ New Bern, said that he never wavered on his commitment to NC State. He still plans to enroll early once his last transcript gets cleared. The 5-11, 175-pound speedster was recruited to play receiver by the previous staff, and Cherry hopes that will remain the case under Doeren. He caught 39 passes for 795 yards and nine touchdowns, and ran 15 times Offensive lineman Cole Blankenship was the class of 2013's first verbal commitment, and he has released a short statement indicating he would stick with his pledge to the Wolfpack. photo courtesy for 185 yards and two scores in 15 games this season. Cherry was named first-team all state by on defense after piling up 46 tackles (29 solo), four interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns), 24 passes broken up, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Cherry also returned six punts for an average of 22.8 yards and 10 kickoffs for an average of 43.5 yards. He is rated as a three-star prospect by Defensive back Hassan Childs Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola High Childs (6-1, 170) was one of two recruits from the class to officially decommit after learning about O'Brien's firing. He had softened up on his pledge prior to that, however, taking visits to Purdue and South Florida. "I talked to the coach who was going to be my position coach [Mike Reed] and since he's not going to be there either, I've decided to decommit from NC State/ I'm going to open up my options," Childs told the Orlando Sentinel. Childs intercepted eight passes this season for Osceola, which won its first 13 games before falling 24-17 to Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln High in the semifinals of the 7-A state playoffs. He is listed as a three-star prospect by Running back Matt Dayes Weston (Fla.) Cypress Bay High Like Childs, Dayes decided to decom- Cornerback Marcus Edmond Hopkins (S.C.) Lower Richland High The 6-0, 170-pound speedster excelled at both quarterback and defensive back this past season. He rushed for 778 yards and six touchdowns while completing 81 of 112 passes for 979 yards with 12 touchdowns on offense, and recorded 33 tackles, three interceptions and four passes broken up on defense. ranks Edmond as a three-star recruit and the No. 16 player in the state of South Carolina. Edmond told The Wolfpacker that he remained committed to NC State despite the coaching change. Linebacker Jerod Fernandez Lake Mary (Fla.) High The 6-0, 210-pound Fernandez claimed that he is still committed to NC State, but he has also set up at least three official visits in the month of January to other schools. "I'm still committed right now, but whatever happens, happens," Fernandez told He will travel to Pittsburgh Jan. 11, Duke Jan. 18 and Rutgers Jan. 25. Fernandez is listed as a three-star recruit. Safety Chris Holmes Spotsylvania (Va.) Chancellor High Not long after O'Brien's dismissal, Michigan stepped forward with an offer to the 6-2, 190-pound Holmes. Although Holmes acknowledged that was a significant offer, he told The Wolfpacker that Michigan may be too far from home for him. Nevertheless, Holmes admitted the coaching change has been difficult, and he is keeping his options open despite remaining a commitment. "All the coaches that recruited me and I got used to know probably are not going to be there," Holmes said. "That's definitely weird." 58  ■  the wolfpacker 58,60-62.FB Recruiting.indd 58 12/11/12 2:32 PM

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