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NC State football recruiting: Defensive position group grades

With 22 signees in the Wolfpack's class of 2015, it can be hard to piece together what the particular strengths of the group may be. There are a few obvious high points if you look at the stars, but combining those with the needs and fit of the program can be a little tougher. So how well did each position group fare?

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Eurndraus Bryant
Quentez Johnson
Emmanuel Olenga
Tyrone Riley
Darian Roseboro

One of the strengths of the signing class of 2014 was the defensive line and that success continued into 2015. The Wolfpack landed their top defensive target in the cycle in Roseboro, a 280-lb defensive end that is a consensus top 150 recruit. The coaching staff once again showed their clout in the Charlotte area with signing of Roseboro. His commitment was the equivalent of that of consensus top signee in 2014 Kentavius Street in size, skillset, and importance. While he may not star right away due to Street and Mike Rose manning the position, Roseboro will clearly be in the rotation from day one and add to all aspects of the position.

The other members of the line are solid, if not big names. Riley was a late flip from Kentucky, with offers throughout the ACC and SEC. At 6'6", he has the ideal frame for the end position and offers some hope of the next coming of Pharoah McKever. Olenga was also a late flip, from ECU this time. Another defensive end with a highly intriguing frame at 6'5" 240+, Olenga also fielded a late offer from Nebraska once it became apparent he was on pace to qualify academically.

On the interior, Johnson was one of the earlier commits and provides nice size to stack against the run. One of the more vocal commits, he appears to have a team-first attitude and will mix well with the current crop of players. He was previously committed to Miami and had offers throughout the southeast. Bryant was a last week commitment and will also be a run-stopper at almost 350 lbs. He would have likely had a few more offers if his grades had been in order before the spring semester. Overall the group is strong, with Roseboro the one true star in the group.



Riley Nicholson
James Smith-Williams

One of the areas of need for the Wolfpack in 2015 was bolstering the linebacking corps, and they found two players with different strengths to fill that void. Nicholson is a 5'11" 230 lbs tackling machine from Florida and will be expected to man the middle. He had offers from several ACC and B1G teams but committed in the summer. Smith-Williams is a project at the position, measuring at 6'4" and a shade over 200 lbs, but he is a strong academic prospect and is expected to learn the position quickly. Smith-Williams was also important for local recruiting, as his connection to Nyheim Hines helped earn his commitment as well. Look for Nicholson to see the field earlier than Smith-Williams due to his size and physical play, but neither should hit the field this season.



Jarius Morehead
Freddie Phillips

After taking plenty of corners in 2014, the only need in the secondary was to add a safety. As the evaluation process went on, the staff felt comfortable taking a second safety based on potential and personality. Phillips was one of the first commitments of the cycle, picking State over UNC and Wake Forest. At 6'2" and 200 lbs, Phillips fits the profile of defensive backs that Doeren and Co. covet.

One of the more attractive qualities of his commitment was his outgoing nature (a common theme in this class) and his status as one of the better South Carolina prospects. Morehead also has solid size as a safety (he is slightly smaller than Phillips) and is a competitor who played both ways in high school. With many returning safeties, it will be difficult for either to see much time beyond special teams, but both look like solid long term contributors.