After a slow start in terms of star power, the NC State recruiting class of 2016 finished relatively strong. The class of 23 fills some holes and looks like one that will develop over four to five years. Certain position groups were focused on heavily, while others were ignored or glossed over due to previous classes' strengths.
The Pack signed just the one quarterback this cycle, with the one being local three star Dylan Parham. The lanky QB from nearby Southeast Raleigh High has a cannon from an arm and shows some athleticism, but appears very raw in the other aspects of his position play. Parham looks like a long term project with some potential. Parham enrolled at NCSU in January.
State did not sign any running backs this year, mostly off the back of a strong class at the position last year. Some players received early attention, but none warranted filling a spot that was not a necessity. All-purpose player Rico Dowdle looked like a potential option in the backfield until pledging to South Carolina.
This was a position that most who followed the program knew needed some upgrading, as the receivers have struggled in recent years to make a strong impact. The last addition to the class, Kelvin Harmon, is the big name that has Pack fans excited about this group. He is a high three star or four star depending on who you ask, but his size (6'2") and strength give some reason for excitement. CJ Riley stands at 6'5" and is a deep threat with his combination of size and speed. He is a consensus three star from Florida who picked NC State over Nebraska and several other major programs. Daeshawn Stephens is the third member of the group, but first commitment, and also had an offer from ECU late in the process. He is a product of local power house Durham Hillside. Harmon and Riley could be immediate contributors, especially as sophomores.
Normally tight ends do not receive the most attention, but when one is a four star and the son of Randy Moss, that changes things. Thaddeus Moss brought national attention to Raleigh when he chose the Wolfpack in late January. Blessed with his father's catch radius and height, he is also a productive defensive end and could eventually play there in college. As it is, it looks as if he could be a freshman contributor at tight end. Dylan Autenrieth is a three star from Georgia who is a decent athlete (averages double digit points in basketball) who had offers from the better mid-major programs in the area. He looks like a good performer two to three years down the road.
What they lack in star power, the coaching staff made up for in numbers and diversity. The highest profile name is tackle Justin Witt from Illinois. Witt is a mid-level three star prospect who fielded offers from Cal, Iowa State, Kentucky, Pitt, and others. At 6'6", the early enrollee stands the best chance to play fairly early due to his size and early arrival on campus. Bryce Folsom is another lineman already on campus. The two-way player in high school projects at guard for the Wolfpack after he chose them over Syracuse before the season. Harrison Gee and Joe Sculthorpe are both interior line prospects from North Carolina who played in the Shrine Bowl against South Carolina's top prospects. Both need to add a little weight, but Gee is a legacy recruit (his father played in Raleigh in the late 80s and early 90s) and Sculthorpe is a decorated high school wrestler.
Tackle Justin Chase was a former ECU commit that NC State had been high on, and they snagged him during the coaching change in Greenville. At 6'6", Chase brings more height and length on the outside. Kollin Byers comes from a powerhouse school, Shelby, and knows what it takes to win. He is a good bit undersized, but is seen as a project either at tackle or guard for the Pack down the line. Kendall Brown was a late addition to the class, but new offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford brought Brown with him from Appalachian State. Standing at 6'4", Brown was another two-way player, and the coaches absolutely love his 7'1" wingspan. Like in high school, he could end up playing on either side of the ball.
Like the running back position, the Wolfpack did not have to prioritize defensive linemen in this class. The lone (but big) name is Ben (Shug) Frazier from Buford, GA. The high three star defensive tackle had offers from almost all of the SEC but picked the Pack during the season. At 320 pounds, he is a run-stuffing defensive tackle. He is a product of a perennial powerhouse program and will expect to play early, but is likely to make his big impact as a sophomore.
This unit has been a focus for the last few classes, and the coaches added two decent pieces this season. Garrett Hooker from Thomasville was the first addition at linebacker, and the two star was extremely productive in high school, averaging double digit tackles per game. He will likely be a contributor as an upperclassman, but his early enrollment will surely help his development. Brock Miller is a three star from Florida, but he had the offer list of a four star recruit. Miami and Ole Miss both made runs at the linebacker, who also had offers from Cal, Kentucky, Virginia, and Virginia Tech. Miller could be a first year contributor on special teams and on the depth chart, while likely being a starter by his junior year.
This was a definite strength of the class, both in numbers and in talent. With six signees, and five over six feet tall, there are a lot of potential standouts in the secondary. James Valdez was one of the first to commit (and the only sub six-footer in the class), and the South Carolina native had several other Power 5 offers and was an early 4 star before settling as a high 3 star. He will start as a corner and probably play heavily by his sophomore season. Isaiah Stallings had offers from around the region, but the 6'4" safety chose the Wolfpack toward the end of the season. He will have a shot to play early with his range, and he could eventually move up to linebacker if he bulks up.
Bryce Banks is a 6'3" defensive back from Missouri who enrolled early and could play anywhere in the back seven. He needs to gain weight, but has long range potential. Tim Glass was one of the first commitments, and the Virginia safety has been a solid commitment ever since. He is a steady performer and picked the Pack over several other P5 offers. Nick McCloud and JJ Givens were two of the last commitments, but also two of the biggest. Both are at least 6'2" and can play any position in the secondary. McCloud picked State over Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, and UCLA. Givens had over 30 offers and was once committed to South Carolina. Both should play within their first two years.