Yesterday, a trio of 2014 defensive backs - two of whom hail from Maryland - committed to the Wolfpack. (I'm guessing the Red Light down at the Murphy Center is freaking out, still.) We've got a lot to cover with this DB hat trick, so lets start first with Troy Vincent, Jr.
Last summer, Vincent made multiple unofficial visits to N.C. State's campus. The Pack remained high on his list, but in the end, Vincent decided to commit to Bill O'Brien and Penn State in late June. Fast-forward seven months later to the present day, though, and the coaching landscape in college football is radically different - this has a major impact on recruiting, obviously.
Now, O'Brien is back in the NFL, coaching the Houston Texans. Penn State lured James Franklin away from Vanderbilt to replace the recently departed O'Brien. The shake up in coaching staff was enough to get Vincent to reconsider, and flip his commitment to N.C. State (Vincent is the second member of Penn State's 2014 class to de-commit since Franklin's hiring).
According to Vincent, when he started to hear rumors of O'Brien jetting back to the professional ranks - a move that always seemed destined to happen - he started to reconsider his commitment. He did not, however, decide to de-commit until after speaking with Franklin, which occurred a couple days ago. He expanded on this while speaking with PackPride: "I just thought coach [James] Franklin wants his guys in there. He is a great coach and a respectable man, but I wasn’t one of his guys so that isn’t a situation that would be good for me."
Vincent - whose father, Troy, played in the NFL for over a decade - is rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 26 cornerback in the nation, and the No. 7 overall prospect in his home state of Maryland. The three-star CB plays his prep ball for Baltimore (Md.) Gilman. During Vincent's initial recruitment, 15 schools - including: North Carolina, Michigan State, Wisconsin (his father's alma mater), and Michigan - offered him a scholarship.
Scout.com has him pegged as a four-star prospect.
The 5-10, 180-pound Vincent has known State's head man Dave Doeren for several years now. Doeren visited Vincent in-home recently, and that's when Vincent made, according to him, an informed decision. He told the Wolfpacker: "He told us about how he coaches and his philosophy. This wasn't an emotional decision. We had done research. I've talked to former players (who) played for him at different schools. They spoke highly of him and everything I heard was consistent. Everybody felt the same way."
If you would like to see Vincent in action during his senior season, check here.
As mentioned above, Vincent wasn't the only defensive back from the state of Maryland to commit to the Pack yesterday. Elliott Davis - who plays on both sides ball for Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard - also pledged to the Pack.
247Sports.com has the two-star Davis pegged as the No. 167 athlete in the 2014 recruiting class, and the No. 41 overall prospect in Maryland. Davis lined up at both cornerback and wide receiver for Quince Orchard, but the 6-2, 175-pound DB projects out as a rangy defender on the collegiate level.
He selected N.C. State over Rutgers and Maryland.
Davis visited Raleigh in early December, and after that trip, he told the Wolfpacker that it was a success: "I was impressed with the hospitality by the players and coaches and everybody involved with the program, how they really embraced and welcomed me. I enjoyed my time, enjoyed my time around the players and coaches."
A little over a month later it was, once again, an in-home visit from Doeren that sealed the deal. About 30 minutes after Doeren left the Davis household, Davis phoned the coach to tell him his decision. The relationship between he and Doeren was the decider, according to what he told the Wolfpacker: "He has been delivering a message every single day and has built up a relationship with me and my mother. Everything that was important to me, he reiterated that I could do those things at State."
Davis believes his time spent playing wide receiver will be useful on the next level: "I have good range. I have pretty good reactions and I can make plays on the ball with my receiver's experience because that was my primary position."
Here's Davis in action for Quince Orchard.
The fun didn't stop after Vincent and Davis, though. Shawn Boone - a three-star safety from Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) - decided to run with the Pack, too.
The 5-10, 185-pound Boone is slated as the No. 80 safety in the 2014 class, courtesy of 247Sports.com.
On Sunday, he told HawgSports.com that he was down to his final three schools, N.C. State, Arkansas, and Penn State. After meeting with coaches from the N.C. State staff early Thursday evening, Boone picked the Wolfpack.
This season, Boone stared at safety for the Dwyer Panthers, who went on to win the Florida 7A state championship - no small feat. In the title game - a 55-39 triumph over Niceville High - Boone was solid, breaking up several passes. Boone's strong play in 2013 led to him becoming a hot commodity; over 30 schools - from all over the country - offered him a scholarship.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett - the Florida transfer, who is projected to start for the Pack in 2014 - is a Dwyer graduate. According to Boone, Brissett lobbied hard for him to follow in his footsteps to Raleigh.
Check Boone's Hudl page if you would like to see him in action.