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Clayton's High four-star recruit Savion Jackson picks N.C. State

Savion Jackson, the highly touted defensive end from Clayton High School, announced his commitment to N.C. State
By Travis Long
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Clayton's High four-star recruit Savion Jackson picks N.C. State
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By Travis Long

Sports

Is NC State becoming a top contender for in-state football recruits?

By Jonas Pope IV

jpope@heraldsun.com

June 27, 2018 08:55 AM

Updated June 27, 2018 10:17 PM

To hear certain experts tell it, Clayton’s Savion Jackson was well on his way to South Carolina.

Alim McNeill got a late offer from Alabama and there was no way that he and Drake Thomas, who also was offered by the defending national champs, were going to turn down those SEC offers. CJ Clark was a shoo-in for Georgia, or maybe Tennessee or South Carolina.

Remember, nobody picks N.C. State over the SEC, right? Well, Wolfpack football coach Dave Doeren is proving that theory wrong. Everyone of those in-state talents decided to play for the Wolfpack.

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Doeren and his staff, which includes Des Kitchings, recently named the top recruiter in the ACC, have made a significant impact in the Tar Heel state, changing the landscape when it comes to recruiting.

“When I got here five years ago I talked about building a fence around this state and I do feel like we’ve made a lot of progress,” Doeren said at his December signing day press conference.

The 2018 recruiting class featured 10 in-state players, highlighted by a trio of US Army All-Americans: linebacker Payton Wilson , running back Ricky Person, defensive tackle Alim McNeill.

Person (Heritage) and McNeill (Sanderson) are both Wake County products, while Wilson played not too far up the road in Orange County.

In the past local players who had offers from SEC programs rarely turned down those opportunities. Tarboro’s Todd Gurley and Millbrook’s Keith Marshall both bolted from North Carolina and headed to Georgia. The Wake Forest duo of Bryce Love (Stanford) and Dexter Lawrence (Clemson) didn’t go to SEC schools, but the local talents said no to N.C. State and went off to win a National Title (Lawrence) and came close to a Heisman (Love).

Tandler's 53-man roster projection

The battle for roster spots has ended. All that is left to happen is for the dreaded Turk to make the rounds and deliver the bad news to the players who aren’t going to make the 53-man roster. The deadline is Saturday at 4 p.m.

Cornerbacks

Starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland Other roster locks: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau On the bubble: Josh Holsey

Starters: Other roster locks: On the bubble:

How the cornerbacks compare:

To the 2016 Redskins: Four of the five are the same. The one change, Moreau, is likely to be an upgrade over Greg Toler. Fuller seems to have recovered from his rocky rookie season. Ever since Breeland got pulled from a walkthrough in Richmond when he apparently was angry over an article quoting Jay Gruden being mildly critical of his play, the fourth-year corner has been money. And Norman is Norman. Somewhat better

To the 2016 Redskins: Somewhat better

RELATED: SLOW STARTS MEANT BAD RESULTS FOR 2016 REDSKINS

RELATED: SLOW STARTS MEANT BAD RESULTS FOR 2016 REDSKINS

To the rest of the NFL: They were less than the sum of their parts last year. It wasn’t all their fault that they ranked 24th in pass defense DVOA but cornerbacks always must take a good chunk of the blame for that number. As noted they could be better but they have a lot to prove before they are considered anything other than below average. Bottom third of NFL

To the rest of the NFL: Bottom third of NFL

2017 outlook

Biggest upside: Fuller was projected to be a first-round pick until he suffered a knee injury in his last year at Virginia Tech. Gruden said last month that while the knee was physically sound when Fuller was a rookie last year, he did have the needed confidence in the surgically-repaired joint. He is healthy and confident now and he could turn into a very good one.

Biggest upside:

Most to prove: Breeland has started 42 of 48 games since he was a fourth-round draft pick in 2014. He has played well enough to keep the job but he has been very inconsistent. This year he is in the last year of his rookie contract and the Redskins have drafted a cornerback in the third round in each of the last two years (Fuller, Moreau). He needs to show either the Redskins or, more likely, the rest of the league that he deserves starting cornerback money.

Most to prove:

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