Over the last three seasons, the NC State coaching staff has vastly improved the overall team speed of the Wolfpack- a priority when the Amato regime took the reigns of the Pack program in 2000. Each successive recruiting class has seemingly raised the bar for the next. And while the recruiting accomplishments of the last three years have been impressive, State will look to raise the bar yet again as they have put themselves in great position to land one of the fastest and most talented football prospects in the nation.
Dorien Bryant of Kingsway Regional High School in Swedesboro, NJ has established quite a name for himself around the nation over the last couple of years. His combination of football ability and sprinters speed has resulted in a torrent of scholarship offers that currently totals near 50.
With 40 yard dash times consistently under 4.4-seconds and a personal best electronically timed 100-meter dash of 10.31-seconds, Bryant's stock exploded during the May evaluation period. This, after a superb junior season that saw him rush 111 times for 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also hauled in 35 passes for nearly 500 yards and seven additional scores. On special teams he ran for two, two-point conversions and passed for another. He also returned three punts for scores, including a 71-yarder.
On defense he was equally impressive from his CB spot as he tallied 55 tackles, eight pass-break-ups and three interceptions. For his efforts he was named All-Delaware Valley, All-Area and First Team All-Conference.
The senior-to-be has also hauled in heavy preseason accolades from recruiting analysts across the country. Rivals.com and Tom Lemming have both rated him one of the top 100 players in the nation regardless of position. SuperPrep has named him one of their preseason all-americans.
While nearly every school in the nation has lined up for a chance at his services, a lucky five have risen to the top of Bryant's favorite's list.
Boston College, NC State, Tennessee, Michigan and Illinois ride atop the heap and have consistently maintained their spot with Bryant for weeks.
NC State may have greatly enhanced their chances as the New Jersey speedster attended a track meet in Durham recently and used the opportunity to take a closer look at what the Pack has to offer.
Bryant told The Wolfpacker, "Yea, we made it over there. We met up with Coach Demarest (Pack DB Coach); actually me, my mom and grandma went around and I liked it a lot. I like the fact that they're trying to make it real big. You can tell football's going to big there soon. I like the campus a lot too, it's not like a city but it's not like country either. There's a lot of stuff going on."
Another factor that could play in the Pack's favor is that Bryant's head coach, Tony Barchuk, is a former Pack standout who actually roomed with NC State Head Coach Chuck Amato in college. However, the consensus all-american said that his coach, while obviously a Wolfpacker at heart, wants only what's best for his star athlete.
"Surprisingly, (Coach Barchuk) isn't pushing me to go to State," said Bryant. "He wants me to make my own decision. He doesn't want to push me to go somewhere I don't really want to go. Hey, NC State's in my top three because I want them there, not because he's said anything."
Bryant added that it's been State's hard work that has solidified their spot as a serious contender for his signature coming signing day.
Said Bryant, "When Coach Amato came up in May, that's when I was like, man, State really wants me. One thing about the State coaches is that when I've talked to other coaches, all they've talked about is football. State was like, come down and have some fun. Check out our academic programs and what they do down there. When I was talking to Coach Amato it was more like I was talking to one of my friends. I liked that a lot and I felt comfortable."
Another feather in the Pack's cap was the recent verbal commitment of QB Marcus Stone from Harrisburg, Pa. Bryant said that knowing a top-notch signal-caller would be around for the duration of his college career was crucial.
"I've been wanting to talk to Marcus," said Bryant. "I know he's a good quarterback. I looked at his stats and he can run the ball too. That's one thing I'm looking for is to see if these schools signed a quarterback in my class since that's who I'm going to be playing with."
Bryant is an admitted internet expert and has extensively researched all the teams he's had under consideration. So what did he think about the Pack?
"I definitely looked at State's depth chart and how many they have at the receiver and running back spot," said Bryant. "That's what I do in high school; I play both of them. State has told me I can play whatever position I want. Right now, I want to play receiver but I could play running back. I'd just have to put a little weight on. Actually they asked me if I'd like to play defense and I said no, I wanted to play offense. They said what about playing both and I definitely didn't have a problem with that."
Although some may consider the Pack's depth at receiver a hindrance to landing Bryant, he stated that would not have any bearing on his decision.
"I've checked the receivers 40 times but I know that doesn't really mean anything- you've got to see them play, but I know I'm confident in my ability and I feel good about me going in and playing early," said Bryant.
While the Pack has certainly improved their chances with a mid-summer visit, there's no question that Boston College is still the slight front-runner.
"When Boston College was recruiting Ryan Grant as a junior, that's how they saw me and they were the first school to offer me during my junior year," said Bryant. "I've got a pretty good relationship with those guys and I like it up there. I'd say they're leading ever so slightly but I really liked it at NC State too."
Another school thick in the chase is Tennessee and Bryant planned to make a trip there during the last week of July while participating in another track event.
Coach Barchuk indicated in a previous interview with The Wolfpacker that he would be surprised if Bryant hadn't made a final decision by the end of September. The jet-quick all-american hinted that getting his commitment out of the way early would most likely come with strings attached.
"I want to take all of my official visits," said Bryant. "Some schools, if you verbal early, don't want you to take them. So I asked all the schools that if I verballed would it still be OK if I took my official visits. All of them were pretty cool with it. I talked with Coach Demarest about it last week when I was down and he didn't have a problem with it. Anyway, if I make a verbal it's going to be a solid one so I'll be pretty sure, but I want to take the visits for the experience."
Since this interview was originally posted, little has changed in the recruiting of Bryant. He has planned official visits to Boston College on 11-30 and Tennessee for 12-13. Most insiders believe he'll make his official trip to Raleigh on 12-6 although nothing has been announced. Boston College, Tennessee and NC State all remain the teams to beat.
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