Freshman offensive tackle Robert Crisp arrived at NC State this preseason as one of the most highly touted recruits ever to sign with the Wolfpack program. He acknowledges feeling the pressure that comes with being a five-star recruit, but his teammates have made the transition to college a smooth one.
"The guys welcomed me in like I they have already known me for years, so it was an easy adjustment," Crisp noted. However, while they have helped Crisp adjust off the field, during practice the defensive linemen, especially fifth year senior Audi Augustin, have given Crisp some rude awakenings.
"There have been plenty of times in camp where I just had to get better, guys pushing me to get as much talent out of me as I can," Crisp said. "They are pushing me hard.
"Audi, he got me a few times. He definitely gave me that wake up call the first week of camp."
Crisp, like seemingly every freshman, has had the most difficulty adjusting to the much faster pace of college football. He came to camp prepared however, checking in at 315 pounds and in shape after spending much of his summer running.
He achieved one of his goals and earned a spot on the Wolfpack's two-deep depth chart as the backup left tackle behind senior and three-year starter Jake Vermiglio. Vermiglio has proven to be a valuable teammate for Crisp.
"He's the main one that's helped me out from the first day I got here at camp through the last drill we completed [Wednesday]," Crisp said. "He's still on me every play, 'Rob do this, Rob do that.' I really appreciate it a lot."
Saturday should be a special moment for Crisp. The admitted long-time Wolfpack football fan gave up a promising future in hoops during high school to focus on his gridiron career. He admits that he has not even picked up a basketball in a long time. Crisp also says he doesn't miss the hardwood sport, and when the Pack takes the field at Carter-Finley Stadium Saturday against Western Carolina, it will be a special moment for Crisp.
"It's going to be almost overwhelming, but I know I am here to play football," Crisp said. "It's everything I thought it would be, and then some. It's hard, but I'm working hard, working very hard."