As a former offensive line coach, NC State coach Tom O’Brien has a heightened interest in the progress of the group, and with five offensive linemen in this year’s class, the Pack took another important step in building it into the formidable wall of protection O’Brien is aiming for.
“We want to build an NFL line, like we did at Boston College, no doubt about that,” he said. “I think, as we move on, we are recruiting kids who have that kind of skills.”
“He has really good feet,” O’Brien said. “With all linemen, he is not on the ground a lot. He's a lot like Teddy Larsen. If you can move your feet, get good body position and you are not on the ground a lot of the time because you have good balance, those are keys to being a good offensive linemen. He has great size and great reach. If you draw up a proto-type body, he has it for an offensive lineman. He has to come in and learn his right from his left and who to block, then he has the physical skills that look he can be a good lineman.”
NC State helped itself up front on both sides of the ball on Wednesday. With four junior college transfers, five offensive linemen and four defensive backs, O’Brien was able to add depth and talent in his fourth recruiting class. And his top two prospects -- Crisp and defensive back David Amerson -- came from in-state.
“We addressed a lot of things we had to address in this recruiting class,” O’Brien said. “We signed 11 on offense and 11 on defense, so once again we signed a football team. And we signed a kicker who will hopefully help resolve some of the problems we’ve had kicking off. We made a concerted effort once again to recruit our home and did a real nice job in the state of North Carolina.”
NC State had a patchwork secondary in 2009, and O’Brien said it’s one position a freshman could see immediate playing time. The Pack also added maturity and size up front on both sides from junior college transfers David Akinniyi and Mikel Overgaard, who should work their way into the lineup. Another player who could see the field early is running back Mustafa Greene.
“You look at the running back situation, and he probably thinks he has a real good chance, which is why he is coming here,” O’Brien said. “There are not a lot of carries and not a lot of yards by the three guys that are there. As with all freshmen, who knows who is going to play and who is not going to play. As has been explained to him, the faster he learns the offense -- and for a running back that means he is going to have to learn some pass protection, he can't whiff on that -- the faster he can play. But, when it comes down to it, he is going to have to learn to protect the quarterback.”
The one thing that NC State still lacks is upperclassmen, as there will only be 12 seniors on the team this year, and six were inherited from the previous staff and four are incoming junior college players.
“We still need help on both sides of the line with young kids,” O’Brien said, “but we are still trying to buy time until some of these young kids grow up.”
They appear to have done that with this class.