NC State gets needed infusion of speed
NC State signed four wide receivers Dec. 18 and likely will be doing a blueshirt with a fifth, giving the unit an overhaul.
The Wolfpack didn’t need a gut job of a renovation at the spot, but some sprucing up was required, particularly in creating big plays in the passing game. NC State struggled this past fall in that area, with redshirt freshman Devin Carter’s 55-yard catch against Boston College the only reception all season that went over 50 yards.
The arrival of freshman wide receivers Porter Rooks, Anthony Smith, Jalen Coit, Chris Scott and Joshua Crabtree will likely define the Wolfpack’s class of 2020, which is currently ranked No. 50 nationally. They’ll provide a lot of speed and quickness, which will hopefully create some big plays for the NCSU offense.
NC State co-offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator George McDonald played a pivotal role in the recruitment of the five receivers. McDonald recruited the Charlotte area for the first time and landed Rooks from Charlotte Myers Park High.
Out of all of McDonald’s new job responsibilities, learning the ins and outs of the Charlotte area was the biggest adjustment. McDonald took over the Queen City when former tight ends/fullbacks coach Eddie Faulkner became the running backs coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It is just developing the relationships and trying to get in with the coaches that Coach Faulkner established,” McDonald said. “The biggest thing for me was to get my boots in the Charlotte area and developing the relationships with the coaches and showing my face around.”
The 6-2, 180-pound Rooks is ranked No. 192 overall nationally and No. 8 overall in the state of North Carolina by Rivals.com in the class of 2020.
“Outside of his athletic ability, just his maturity and mental makeup,” McDonald said about what will help Rooks make an immediate impact. “I think Porter and Jalen are verified football fast. They have the ability to do things naturally in terms of yards after the catch.”
The speedy Smith is still learning the position, but had an electrifying senior year for Huntingtown (Md.) High.
“He is a guy that we got late, but Billy [Glasscock, NC State's director of player personnel] did a great job of finding him,” McDonald said. “He’s 6-2 and he’s really athletic. The one thing we didn’t know because we aren’t from that area is the competition that he is playing. He can high jump 6-8 and runs a 6.5 in the 55-meter [dash].”
McDonald said Smith isn’t just a track star learning to play football. He also possesses quality hands.
“You see that on tape, plus when he’s running, he’s running,” McDonald said. “He’s a big, fast guy who is similar to [NCSU rising fifth-year senior wide receiver] C.J. [Riley] in speed. He’s a guy not a lot of people know about.”
Scott and Coit share some similar traits but also bring different skill sets to the position.
“Scott is a straight-line fast guy with a documented 10.79 [in the 100],” McDonald said. “He is fast, fast.
“Coit, not having a track time because he’s an elite basketball player, he has good change of direction and can catch and run. He is a guy that can do things with the ball naturally.”
Crabtree, who attends Wake Forest (N.C.) Heritage, will likely blueshirt and go on scholarship when practices begin next August. However, that also means the coaches can’t talk about him publicly until August.
“As a group, they are very dynamic and have a chance to get us in that position, and having some guys that can do stuff after the catch with the ball,” McDonald said.