NC State

Football Signing Day: NC State goes heavy on running backs, linemen

Princeton's Johnny Frasier (22) has signed to go to N.C. State.
Princeton's Johnny Frasier (22) has signed to go to N.C. State. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

Dave Doeren needs a new wish list.

The N.C. State coach checked off a lot of items on Signing Day on Wednesday with the Wolfpack’s latest recruiting class.

Doeren wanted to keep the best players in the state – 15 of the 24 new additions are from North Carolina, including five four-star prospects who are rated among the top 11 in the state by Rivals.

“That was our goal, our mission to keep the best players at home,” Doeren said. “I feel like we’ve done everything we can, once again, to show that isn’t just lip service.”

Three in-state running backs, Garner’s Nyheim Hines, Princeton’s Johnny Frasier and High Point’s Reggie Gallaspy highlight the class. All three are rated as four-star prospects, with Hines rated as the No. 94 overall prospect in the country by Rivals. Between the three of them, they ran for 20,115 yards and 298 touchdowns in their prep careers.

“That’s pretty amazing,” Doeren said.

N.C. State’s backfield next season will include plenty of options. Senior Shadrach Thornton and junior Matt Dayes return. Frasier, at 5-11 and 225 pounds, is considered a power runner and Hines, at 5-9 and 186 pounds, adds speed and versatility.

Hines will play some snaps in the backfield, some in the slot, some at receiver and he can return kicks.

“The guy’s skill set is crazy,” Doeren said. “He’s going to do a lot of things for us.”

The new skill players, to go with the return of quarterback Jacoby Brissett, are almost a luxury for next year’s team. But Doeren needed a new batch of linemen, on both sides of the ball. The Wolfpack improved to 8-5 in 2014 on the strength of its line play.

N.C. State will have to replace both tackles, Tyson Chandler and Rob Crisp, on offense. Doeren added three freshmen tackles, including four-star prospect Emanuel McGirt from Durham, plus Daris Workman from junior college.

Guard Tony Adams made the transition from high school to ACC starter last season but it’s a difficult one on the offensive line.

“Playing early anywhere is a challenge, playing early on the o-line is very difficult because of the quality of defensive linemen they are going to face in this league,” Doeren said. “With the guys that we have coming in, we’re going to need them to.”

On defense, the Wolfpack has to replace a pair of tackles and end Art Norman. Three ends, including Lincolnton’s Darian Roseboro, a four-star prospect, and pair of tackles were added to help fill a void.

Roseboro, who switched from his initial commitment from Michigan, is one of six freshmen who have already enrolled. Roseboro is rated as the No. 100 overall prospect by Rivals, giving the Wolfpack two top-100 recruits in the same class.

That Doeren was able to fill needs with in-state talent was by design. Doeren said he uses seven assistant coaches to recruit in the state.

The staff stresses the value of playing close to home. Frasier, who’s rated by Scout as the top prospect in the state, had originally committed to Florida State.

Doeren said he talked to Frasier about how family members would be able to go to his games if he stuck with FSU.

“He made a good decision early for where he thought he should be,” Doeren said. “When kept looking at it, he realized the importance of being home.”

Staying home was a theme that kept coming back up on Wednesday when Doeren met with the media. He said it’s something he talks a lot about with recruits, too.

“You can go to a lot of places out of this state and get a good education and play good ball but you’re not going to be a local hero,” Doeren said. “To me, that’s a life choice.”

And it’s a choice, Doeren hopes, the best in-state prospects continue to make.

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