Pack Pride unveils the preseason top 60 prospects in North Carolina. The rankings are based on a combination of college potential and actual production by each player during their careers.
The staff at Pack Pride attended numerous camps and combines this year in addition to film evaluation and discussion with various high school coaches to put together this listing. A player’s academic standing does not figure into the rankings. Players whose name appears in red has an offer from NC State.
10. DE Hakeem Vinson...6-3, 235 pounds, 4.5 in the 40..South Johnston High School, Four Oaks, NC
Vinson is the best player in the state hands down that hasn’t received a scholarship offer. All of this is due to questionable grades. Were his academics in order then he’d likely be at double digit offers or better. Vinson has a big time frame and his speed and quickness are impressive. He has a tremendous burst at the point of attack and can be nearly unblockable at times in one on one drills. Vinson has attended camps at both NC State and Virginia Tech and came away as one of the top performers and biggest surprises at each. He still needs to translate his immense potential to better results on the football field but that should come with experience. It will be interesting to see what materializes with Vinson over the next several months. He has listed NC State as his dream college.
9. LB Hawatha Bell...6-1, 225 pounds, 4.7 in the 40...Butler High School, Charlotte, NC
Bell has emerged as one of North Carolina’s top prospects, landing offers from NC State, UNC, Michigan, Virginia Tech and South Carolina among others. Has the look of a middle linebacker and plays extremely tough. He moves well laterally and shows good instincts on film. Bell also sees time at running back which allows him to take advantage of his strength and above average speed given his frame. For the most part, players from Butler have matriculated out of state so it’s not surprising that South Carolina and Virginia Tech appear to be the top two at this point. NC State is involved and could possibly get him on campus during the fall.
8. DT Jared McAdoo...6-3, 285 pounds, 5.05 in the 40..Chapel Hill (NC) High School
McAdoo is the state’s top defensive tackle. He has the frame and size that you would expect in a big-time lineman but what sets him apart is his quickness and explosiveness. McAdoo can dominate at the line of scrimmage and has the speed to run plays down. As he matures and gets stronger, McAdoo should only get better down the road. He committed to UNC over offers from Maryland, NC State, South Carolina, East Carolina and Virginia.
7. CB Josh Hunter...6-2, 175 pounds, 4.45 in the 40...Harding University, Charlotte, NC
Hunter is easily the most under-rated prospect in North Carolina. He brings size to the corner back position which is rare but what stands out with Hunter are his instincts, recovery speed, ability to break on the ball and willingness to hit. While his coverage fundamentals need polishing, Hunter boasts a load of upside and college coaches have taken notice. He currently boasts offers from Miami, NC State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Duke, Wake Forest and West Virginia among others. NC State, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, South Carolina and Miami appear to be the front runners.
6. ATH Tyler Shatley...6-3, 250 pounds, 4.75 in the 40...East Burke High School, Icard, NC
Shatley is a player that will likely become a star once he settles into a position in college. The thing that jumps out with Shatley is his impressive frame and the toughness he displays on film when running the football. However, whether he has the quickness, athleticism and catching ability to stay at a skill position is questionable. Shatley is a hard-nosed player that very well may be best suited for defensive tackle or even offensive guard down the road. If he buys into that and commits himself then he could become dominant. Shatley committed to Clemson over NC State and Maryland.
5. Justin Dixon...6-1, 230 pounds, 4.5 in the 40...Smithfield-Selma (NC) High School
No one did more to elevate their stock during the spring combine circuit than Dixon. With the physique of a college player already, what elevated Dixon to four-star status on Scout.com was his impressive speed, quickness and lateral movement. He showed that he could get out in space and cover much smaller players. If his impressive combine showing translates onto the football field in 2008 then the potential is there for him to move even higher. Dixon committed to UNC over an offer from East Carolina.
4. OL Travis Bond...6-7, 325 pounds...Bertie High School, Windsor, NC
Bond is a solid offensive line prospect that watched his stock take off with college recruiters during the spring evaluation period. With his huge frame and long arms, Bond dominates on the high school level because of his size and strength. He has nice agility and moves well and is a player that will only get better once he gets into a full time strength and conditioning program. Bond appears to be focused primarily on UNC, Michigan, NC State, Virginia Tech and South Carolina. We think the Heels may be a team to watch in this race although Bond has yet to declare a firm leader.
3. WR Jheranie Boyd...6-3, 185 pounds, 4.45 in the 40...Ashbrook High School, Gastonia, NC
Boyd is the state’s most explosive offensive threat. Not only does he boast great size at the wideout spot but he has all the intangibles you’re looking for in a receiver. Boyd has great speed, body control and catching ability and he rounds all of that off with tremendous concentration and the ability to play physical with opposing defensive backs. On the recruiting side, Boyd has been all over the place and difficult to pin down. NC State, UNC, Clemson and Virginia Tech have all appeared to be at the top of his wish-list at one time or another during the first five months of the recruiting year. The conventional wisdom is that he probably won’t go too far from home which should bode well for NC State, Clemson and UNC. However, it’s way too early to rule out just about any school for Boyd.
2. DE Donte Moss...6-4, 230 pounds, 4.6 in the 40...Northside High School, Jacksonville, NC
Moss is a special athlete that is somewhat reminiscent of former UNC defensive end Hilee Taylor. He has a solid frame that will fill out but what really jumps out is his get off at the line of scrimmage, overall speed, change of direction and agility. Moss is a very talented athlete that happens to play defensive end. He is the type player that would probably thrive as a standup DE in a 3-4 alignment because of his ability to make plays out in space. Moss committed to UNC over offers from NC State, Maryland, Alabama, Virginia Tech and Clemson among others.
1. OL Xavier Nixon...6-6, 285 pounds...Jack Britt High School, Fayetteville, NC
Nixon is rated a five star prospect and the No. 1 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com and for good reason. He has the physical attributes that can’t be coached and brings a tremendous amount of upside. Nixon has a lean frame capable of adding bulk down the road and the quickness and agility rarely seen of a player his size. Also solid on the basketball court, Nixon’s time playing hoops has helped him improve his overall athleticism and quickness. He currently boasts around 40 scholarship offers and virtually has his choice of college destination. Nixon has yet to completely narrow his list but some of the teams mentioned consistently are Florida, Miami, LSU, NC State, UNC, South Carolina and Clemson. As for the Pack, they were the first to offer, hosted him at junior day and then again for their basketball camp. However, it’s way too early to ascertain how big of a player they will ultimately be in his recruiting.