N.C. State football coach Tom O'Brien turned to familiar recruiting territory for two of the three commitments he received last week.
O'Brien, a native of Cincinnati, often has tapped his home state for prospects while at Boston College and now N.C. State.
He landed Ohio standouts Bryon Underwood and Anthony Talbert, who bring a combination of speed and strength to N.C. State's class of 2009 commitments.
Underwood is a 5-foot-10, 165-pound wide receiver who made 40 catches for about 800 yards last season. He was recruited by some big-name Big Ten schools such as Michigan.
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Talbert, a 6-5, 230-pound tight end known for superior blocking in a rushing-based offense, is an accomplished weightlifter who has dead-lifted 705 pounds. Troy Everhart, who coaches Talbert at Winton Woods High in Cincinnati, said Talbert didn't have anybody outside a three-hour driving range on his radar until N.C. State offensive line coach Don Horton started calling.
Some Mid-American schools and Cincinnati had offered scholarships to Talbert.
"Don Horton is just an incredible recruiter," Everhart said. "... He just continues to convince kids to go where he's at."
Jeff Rotsky, who coaches Underwood at Cleveland Heights High, has known N.C. State tight ends coach Todd Bridge for about 10 years. Rotsky said he is comfortable with Cleveland Heights players committing to the N.C. State staff because of that association.
N.C. State's talented young quarterbacks -- redshirt freshman Russell Wilson and redshirting freshman Mike Glennon -- also factored into Underwood's decision.
"They've got two young, great quarterbacks, and he wants to play early," Rotsky said. "... He wants to be part of a wide-open offense."
N.C. State also received an in-state commitment from Charlotte Northside Christian Academy's Sylvester Crawford.
A 6-5, 230-pound defensive end, Crawford had 41 tackles, including 10 sacks, through four games this season, Northside Christian coach Brentson Buckner said.
RHODES' FAMILY HELPED MAKE PICK: Durham Jordan's J.R. Rhodes always pulled for North Carolina when he was growing up although he never considered himself to be a fan.
On Monday, he committed to the school that is about 12 miles from his home.
His commitment came after a family meeting that included his mom, brothers and sisters, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
"I knew I liked North Carolina, but I wanted to get everyone together," Rhodes said. "UNC's academics were the biggest factor. Its business program is among the best in the country."
Rhodes, who runs a 4.48-second 40-yard dash, has run for 442 yards and scored four touchdowns this season in about 3 1/2 games. He missed the Falcons' loss to Northern Durham.
EARLY OFFER: Put Raleigh Word of God guard Bishop Daniels on the list of players receiving an early basketball scholarship offer.
Wake Forest already has offered the 6-3 sophomore, Rams athletic director Kevin Washingtons said.
Daniels played on the varsity at Leesville Road last year as a freshman.