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North Carolina Trends: Strong Defenders, Early Decisions

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

By David Glenn
ACCSports.com

August 30, 2007

North Carolina doesn't appear to have nearly as many standout offensive players in the Class of 2008 as in recent years, but the state is loaded with talent on defense.

Among the state's top 15 prospects are four linebackers, four defensive backs and a defensive end. That doesn't even include E.J. Abrams-Ward (No. 3), a high school quarterback who could wind up playing QB, linebacker or defensive end at the next level.

Tom O'Brien and his coaching staff at N.C. State already had secured verbal commitments from seven of the state's top 50 prospects by late August, including the No. 1 and No. 2 overall players (Brandon Barnes and Terrell Manning), while Skip Holtz's staff at East Carolina had secured pledges from five of the state's top 50. Other schools that had multiple commitments from our top 50 through late August were Virginia Tech (three), Maryland (two) and Georgia (two).

The overwhelming majority of the state's top talents already have committed to schools in the ACC or SEC, while a few others, including Abrams-Ward, Adams and Coples (a recent transfer to Hargrave Military Academy), appear likely to stretch out recruiting for several more months.

The state's top-rated tight end, Dwayne Allen of Fayetteville, committed to Georgia very early in the process. However, he has made multiple unofficial visits to North Carolina and N.C. State over the past few months, so he can be labeled a "soft" commitment, at best.



NORTH CAROLINA TOP 50*


No. Name Pos. Ht./Wt. School College Favorites
(Commitment In CAPS)
1. Brandon Barnes RB/DB 5-11/185 Bunn High N.C. STATE
2. Terrell Manning LB 6-2/205 Laurinburg Scotland N.C. STATE
3. E.J. Abrams-Ward LB/DE 6-5/210 Thomasville High UNC, Clem., NCSU, USC, ECU, Fla.
4. Robert Blanton CB 6-1/170 Matthews Butler NOTRE DAME
5. Spencer Adams S 6-2/180 Matthews Butler Clem., Fla., Miami, Mich., UNC, NCSU, VT, Ga., Louis.
6. Dwayne Allen TE 6-4/240 Fayetteville Sanford GEORGIA
7. Quinton Coples DE 6-6/235 TBA (Hargrave) Fla., FSU, Mich., OSU, Tenn., UNC, NCSU
8. R.J. Mattes OL 6-6/280 Concord Robinson UVa, UNC, Clem., NCSU, USC
9. Braden Hanson QB 6-6/195 Charlotte Latin NORTH CAROLINA
10. Makiri Pugh DB 6-0/185 Charlotte Independence GEORGIA
11. Dwayne Maddox LB 6-1/225 Shelby Crest N.C. STATE
12. Austin Johnson LB 6-2/230 Hickory High TENNESSEE
13. Kevin Reddick LB 6-2/210 New Bern High UNC, Fla., Clem., Ala., NCSU, USC, UVa, VT, ECU
14. Eddie Whitley S 6-1/185 Matthews Butler VIRGINIA TECH
15. Andrew Wallace OL 6-6/260 Charlotte Olympic N.C. STATE
16. Adrian Jones WR/DB 5-11/180 Laurinburg Scotland Ga., Miami, UNC, ECU
17. Michael Via OL 6-5/260 McLeansville Northeast Guilford VIRGINIA TECH
18. Tobias Palmer RB 5-9/170 Pittsboro Northwood N.C. STATE
19. Reggie Bowens LB 6-2/210 Garner High UNC, USC, NCSU, Clem., ECU
20. Mario Carter TE 6-5/230 Charlotte Independence N.C. STATE
21. Jacob Charest QB 6-3/190 Matthews Butler Ill., Louis., Iowa, Cal
22. Gary Douglas RB 6-0/180 Durham Hillside MARYLAND
23. Nick Becton OL 6-6/285 Wilmington New Hanover Ala., Clem., Md., NCSU, USC, VT, ECU
24. Tony Morgan DB 6-0/190 Garner High USC, UNC, ECU
25. A.J. Blue QB/WR 6-2/205 Dallas North Gaston Ill., UNC, NCSU, VT
26. Demetrius Hartsfield LB 6-2/210 Raleigh Southeast Raleigh MARYLAND
27. Lorenzo Williams S 6-2/180 Fayetteville Westover VIRGINIA TECH
28. Jonathan Cooper OL 6-3/290 Wilmington Hoggard UNC, USC, WF, ECU, NCSU, Duke
29. Jay Hollingsworth RB 5-11/180 Sanford Lee County DUKE
30. T.J. Graham WR 6-0/175 Raleigh Wakefield N.C. STATE


OTHERS WORTH WATCHING

Casey Barth PK 5-10/170 Wilmington Hoggard  
Marquan Brown RB 5-8/160 Hope Mills Gray's Creek EAST CAROLINA
William Brown QB 6-3/200 Snow Hill Greene Central  
Chris Enos DE 6-4/240 Hope Mills Gray's Creek  
Kamar Frost DE 6-5/215 Trenton Jones  
Ed Gainey DB 6-0/175 Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor  
Anthony Garner DT 6-1/295 Siler City Jordan-Matthews  
Jamie Hatten TE 6-4/220 Hendersonville High MARSHALL
Vince Jordan RB/DB 5-10/200 Mt. Gilead West Montgomery  
Max Joyner DB 6-2/180 Greenville Rose EAST CAROLINA
Justin Lloyd DB 5-11/185 Charlotte Victory Christian  
Rahkeem Morgan DB 6-1/175 Asheville High  
Kenny Okoro CB 5-11/180 Greensboro Dudley  
Daniel Smith DB 6-2/185 Charlotte Providence HAWAII
Darius Spencer RB 5-10/175 Asheville Reynolds EAST CAROLINA
Justin Venable DB 6-2/180 Greensboro Southeast Guilford EAST CAROLINA
Justin Ward OL 6-4/290 Rockingham Richmond  
C.J. Wilson RB/DB 5-11/170 Lincolnton High  
Earl Wolff DB 6-0/190 Raeford Hoke County N.C. STATE
Joe Womack WR 6-2/180 Jacksonville Northside EAST CAROLINA
  • – rankings by the ACC Sports Journal and ACCSports.com

Note: College lists current through 2007 Kickoff edition of ACC Sports Journal.