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Amato Again Playing Recruiting Game Well

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

By Dave Glenn, ACC Sports Journal
October 14, 2002 N.C. State coach Chuck Amato knows the recruiting game as well as anyone, and he plays the game far better than most. He understands the importance of strong relationships with individual coaches and schools, and he utilizes those he's built in Florida and the junior college ranks particularly well. In the Sunshine State, he hopes to continue to pump the talent pipelines at Belle Glade Glades Central, Pompano Beach Ely — no high school in America has more alums in Division I-A football (lots) and the NFL (five each) than those two — and other prep powerhouses. Among the jucos, he knows he has allies at Hinds and Jones County in Mississippi, and at Los Angeles Valley (Terrance Chapman, Tramain Hall, Shawn Price) in California.

Amato also appreciates the necessity of building loyalty early in the recruiting process with prospects, even those who seem to be longshots to qualify academically. Quarterback Marcus Stone, a prep All-American and Class of 2003 commitment from Pennsylvania, is a good example of the former approach. His first scholarship offer, during his junior year, came from the Wolfpack, a fact he mentioned the day he announced his decision. Starting tailback T.A. McLendon, a Class of 2002 prep All-American whose academic credentials scared off most recruiters before a miraculous senior year turnaround, is a good example of the latter strategy. He, too, mentioned loyalty on signing day.

There are plenty of other examples of Amato's recruiting wisdom, but for now just add this one: the monster recruiting weekend. He doesn't have a monopoly on the idea, of course, but he's used it very well during his time with the Pack. This year, the coach is targeting Dec. 6-8 for the festivities. The following 12 prospects — all either prep All-Americans or among the best seniors in their respective states, all with the Pack on their short lists — are among those who already have committed to take official visits to NCSU that weekend:

Pompano Beach (FL) Ely OL Andrew Bain, rated one of the top 25 offensive lineman in the nation, said Miami leads FSU, NCSU, Ohio State and Stanford. He has more than 30 scholarship offers. Voted the top offensive lineman at the Nike Camp held in Miami this summer, he bench presses 465 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds. A former teammate of Wolfpack receiver Sterling Hicks, he has a 3.6 GPA and a 1,010 SAT score.

Williamsport (PA) Area RB Darrell Blackman, rated one of the top 25 running backs in the nation, said NCSU leads Maryland, Michigan State and Pittsburgh. He also has offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Temple, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He rushed for 2,547 yards and 35 touchdowns as a junior and 1,096 yards in his first six games this fall. He has a 2.9 GPA and a 720 SAT score.

Williamsport (PA) Area DE Raymond Brooks, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Pennsylvania, said Maryland and NCSU lead Boston College, Michigan State and Pittsburgh. Also a fullback and occasional kick returner, he rushed for 783 yards and eight TDs last season while compiling 13 sacks on defense. He has a 2.5 GPA and a 720 SAT score.

Pompano Beach (FL) Ely LB/DE James Martin, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Florida, said Miami (no offer) leads FSU, NCSU and Penn State. He also has offers from Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin and others. A second-team Class 5A selection, he had 68 tackles and 19 sacks as a junior.

Fort Lauderdale (FL) Dillard DE Stanley McClover, rated one of the top 25 defensive linemen in the nation, said LSU leads Auburn, Miami, Michigan State, NCSU, Ohio State and Tennessee. He has more than 50 scholarship offers. As a junior, he had 88 tackles and 13 sacks. He has a 2.9 GPA and a 900 SAT score.

Miami (FL) Braddock DE Tranell Morant, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, said his top five consists of Auburn, Florida, Miami (no offer), NCSU and Rutgers. He also has offers from Kentucky and Missouri. Despite missing half of his junior season, his first in organized football, he had 36 tackles and 12 sacks last fall. He reportedly has a 2.5 GPA and a 24 ACT score.

Pompano Beach (FL) Ely RB Tyrone Moss, rated one of the top 25 running backs in the nation, said Miami leads Michigan, NCSU, Ohio State and UCLA. He also has offers from FSU, Georgia Tech, LSU, Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee, Wisconsin and many others. A first-team all-state selection, he had 2,100 rushing yards and 34 TDs as a junior. He has a 2.7 GPA and an 870 SAT score.

Pottstown (PA) High OL Brandon Nixon, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Pennsylvania, said his top three consists of Maryland, NCSU and West Virginia. He also has offers from Georgia Tech and Temple. An all-county and all-conference selection as a junior, he bench presses 380 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.1 seconds. He has a 2.8 GPA and recently took the SAT for the first time.

Miami (FL) Killian DB Miguel Scott, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, said his top five consists of Florida, Georgia, Miami (no offer), NCSU and Rutgers. He also has offers from Ohio State and West Virginia. He had 65 tackles and six interceptions as a junior. He has a 2.2 GPA and a sub-820 SAT score. Two current Wolfpack players, safety Andre Maddox and linebacker Pat Thomas, are Killian alumni.

Miami (FL) Killian LB Stephen Tulloch, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, said Miami (no offer) leads Florida (no offer), FSU (no offer), UNC and NCSU. He also has offers from Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Rutgers. As a junior, he had 132 tackles and 12 sacks. He has a 2.9 GPA and recently took the SAT for the first time. His brother David played for FSU.

Richlands (NC) High DE Mario Williams, rated one of the top 10 defensive linemen in the nation, said he still considers himself “committed” to NCSU but still is considering Clemson (Nov. 15), Ohio State (Nov. 22), South Carolina (Oct. 4) and Tennessee (Nov. 8). As a junior, he had 120 tackles on defense and caught 22 passes for 407 yards and six TDs on offense. He has a 3.3 GPA and an 880 SAT score.

Pompano Beach (FL) Ely OL Cyrim Wimbs, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Florida, said FSU and Ohio State lead NCSU. He also has offers from Auburn, LSU, Michigan State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, UNC and San Diego State. He once called Miami his leader and said he'd commit to the Hurricanes if they offered, then he claimed they did offer, but now he no longer lists Miami at all. He has a 2.8 GPA and a sub-820 SAT score.

Many more of the best high school seniors in the ACC area (see left chart) had scholarship offers from NCSU and listed the Wolfpack among their top five in mid-October. Here are some others:

Tallahassee (FL) Lincoln RB Terry Arnold, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, said LSU leads Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Indiana and NCSU. He also has offers from Cincinnati, ECU and Middle Tennessee State. Ö Orange (NJ) High DB Cory Boyd, rated one of the top 25 seniors in New Jersey, said Maryland and Virginia lead NCSU, Rutgers, USC and Virginia Tech. Ö Camden (NJ) Wilson LB Preston Brown, rated one of the top 25 seniors in New Jersey, said his top five consists of NCSU, Notre Dame (no offer), Ohio State (no offer), Pittsburgh and Purdue. He also has offers from Central Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and West Virginia. His brother Melik Brown, now at Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military, is committed to UNC. Ö Swedesboro (NJ) Kingsway Regional WR Dorien Bryant, rated one of the top 10 wideouts in the nation, said Boston College (Dec. 6), NCSU and Tennessee (Dec. 13) lead Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Purdue. He has more than 30 offers. Ö Henderson (NC) Southern Vance TE/DE Edward Bullock, rated one of the top 50 seniors in North Carolina, said NCSU leads Duke (no offer), ECU, UNC (no offer) and Virginia.

Miami (FL) Northwestern DT Clifton Dickson, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Florida, said his top five consists of Florida, FSU, Miami (no offer), NCSU and Notre Dame. Ö Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military DB Michael Hinton, one of the most promising prospects in the Virginia prep schools this fall, said his top five consists of Florida (no offer), NCSU, Tennessee (no offer), Virginia and Virginia Tech. He also has offers from ECU, Maryland, UNC and West Virginia. Ö Norfolk (VA) Lake Taylor DB Phillip Holloman, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Virginia, said his top five consists of ECU, UNC, NCSU (only offer), Penn State and Virginia. Ö Lexington (NC) High QB Cory Holt, rated one of the top 25 seniors in North Carolina, said his top four consists of Maryland, NCSU, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. He also has an offer from ECU. Ö Miami Lakes (FL) High DE Brandon Jones, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Florida, said his top five consists of Auburn, Florida, FSU (no offer), NCSU and Rutgers.

Goose Creek (SC) Stratford RB Rodney Kinlaw, rated one of the top 10 seniors in South Carolina, said Clemson leads NCSU (no offer), Penn State, USC and Virginia Tech. He also has offers from MTSU and Wake Forest. Ö Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military DT Shane Lucas, formerly of Lillington (NC) Western Harnett, said UNC and NCSU lead Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Ö Pittsburgh (PA) Woodland Hills WR/DB Ryan Mundy, rated one of the top 10 defensive backs in the nation, said Michigan (Nov. 1) and Pittsburgh lead Florida, Georgia Tech, NCSU, Notre Dame, Penn State and Virginia (Dec. 13). He has more than 50 offers. Ö Clearwater (FL) Catholic DB LeRue Rumph, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Florida, said his top six consists of Florida, FSU, Georgia, Miami (no offer), NCSU (Jan. 24) and Southern Cal (Nov. 29). He has more than 30 offers.

The Wolfpack also is keeping in touch with many juco prospects, including Los Angeles Valley (CA) Junior College DB Craig Chisholm, Independence (KS) Community College DB Eric Fuller, Los Angeles Valley (CA) Junior College DE Tearrius George, Los Angeles Valley (CA) Junior College DE Rashaad Goodrum, Pasadena (CA) Community College LB James Griffin, Dodge City (KS) Community College RB Gerard Jackson and Copiah-Lincoln (MS) Community College DE Antwan Marsh. Fuller, Griffin, Jackson and Marsh said they have scholarship offers from the Pack.

Chisholm, formerly of Deerfield Beach (FL) High, said he likes Kansas State, NCSU and West Virginia. Fuller, formerly of Clinton (SC) High, said NCSU leads Arkansas, Kansas, Kansas State, USC and TCU. George, formerly of Fayetteville (NC) Pine Forest, said NCSU leads ECU, Oregon State and Tennessee. Goodrum, formerly of Fayetteville (NC) Pine Forest, said NCSU leads ECU, Oregon State and Tennessee. Griffin, formerly of Memphis (TN) East, said Washington and Virginia Tech lead Florida, FSU, LSU, UNC, NCSU and Oregon. Jackson, formerly of Melbourne (FL) Palm Bay, said his top seven consists of Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Mississippi State, NCSU, USC and Southern Miss. Marsh, a 2001 NCSU commitment out of Wadesboro (NC) Anson County, said he hopes to attend either NCSU or Mississippi State.

Prospects Select Area Programs

Port Orange (FL) Spruce Creek OL Garrick Clig, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, committed to Maryland over Duke and Vanderbilt. (This information is updated from our last edition.) Alabama, Auburn and Florida also showed interest. Voted the Most Valuable Lineman at the Gators' summer camp, he benches 405 pounds and squats 550. He runs the 40 in 5.2 seconds.

Cherry Hill (NJ) Camden Catholic LB Joe Kedra, rated one of the top 25 linebackers in the nation, chose UNC over Penn State. He also had offers from Boston College, Duke, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, Rutgers, Temple, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin and others. Notre Dame also showed interest. A first-team all-state selection as a junior, he had 189 tackles, five interceptions and three sacks. He bench presses 300 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds. He has a 3.0 GPA and an 870 SAT score. His Camden Catholic teammate, quarterback Nick Can-gelosi, committed to the Heels in July.

Altamonte Springs (FL) Lake Brantley OL Jordy Lipsey, rated one of the top 10 offensive linemen in the nation, picked Virginia over Florida, Miami and Stanford. He also had offers from Auburn, Boston College, Clemson, FSU, Georgia Tech, Iowa, UNC, Northwestern, Purdue, USC, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and others. His brother Jason was an all-conference player at Virginia-based Washington and Lee, and his brother Jess is the starting nose tackle for the Generals. Jordy, an excellent student (3.6 GPA, 1,130 SAT) who is projected to play center for the Cavaliers, said he was particularly impressed by UVa graduate assistant and former NFL offensive lineman Andy Heck during the recruiting process.

Chesapeake (VA) Great Bridge DT Carlton Powell, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Virginia, selected Virginia Tech over ECU and Virginia. Maryland and UNC also showed interest. An offensive guard and inside linebacker for Great Bridge, he's a team captain who calls the defensive signals. He bench presses 360 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 5.0 seconds. He has a 3.4 GPA and an 1,180 SAT score.

Lynchburg (VA) Heritage OL/DL Lewis Watson, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Virginia, opted for ECU over interest from Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake. He did not play football as a junior but impressed many scouts at the Nike Camp in Pennsylvania this summer. He runs the 40 in 5.1 seconds and bench presses 400 pounds.

Dave Glenn, the editor and football recruiting analyst for the ACC Area Sports Journal, has been covering football recruiting and the ACC since 1987.

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