New N.C. Central coach Jerry Mack prowled the in-state recruiting circuit and snagged some top high school recruits. Of Mack’s 16 players in his first recruiting class, 13 are North Carolinians and 12 are high school seniors. Eleven of the 12 seniors played in last season’s NCHSAA state playoffs and five won state championships.
“That’s big,” said Mack about the in-state signings. “I said when I was hired that I wanted to make a commitment to recruiting the state of North Carolina. I think this state has great football, and I think it’s a little under-recruited. I want to make sure during my tenure here that we don’t under-recruit the state of North Carolina.”
Mack added three junior college transfers, including former Ravenscroft quarterback Quinn Billerman from New Mexico Military Institute. NCCU also grabbed Noah Chase and Derrick Mason from Southern’s 3-A state championship squad.
“These are high character young men who come from winning programs – captains of their teams,” Mack said. “They are going to help us become successful because they understand what it takes to win and the commitment level that they need.”
The recruiting class:
• Mike Robinson, defensive back, North Rowan High. recorded 62 tackles (45 solo), three interceptions, 12 pass breakups, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and four blocked punts. North Rowan (13-1) lost in the third round of state playoffs.
• Mason. Named Big Eight All-Conference after catching 58 passes for 1,131 yards and 13 touchdowns.
• Chase. Rate three stars by ESPN. Led a Spartans offense that averaged 46 points per game.
• Ramone Simpson, running back, New Hanover High. Amassed 21 TDs and 3,000 all-purpose yards (1,200 rushing and 600 receiving).
• Davanta Reynolds, defensive back, Tucker (Ga.) High. Two-star cornerback by Rivals.com. Tucker High (14-1) lost in the Georgia 5A state championship. Earned all-region honors as a point guard.
• Jamarcus Johnson, defensive back, Greensboro Ben L. Smith High. Named all-conference (All-Metro).
• Mykael Martin, defensive back, Greensboro Dudley. Voted All-Metro all-conference and led team to 4A state championship with a perfect 15-0 season. Also runs track.
• Daquan Herring, defensive end, Statesville High. Recorded 67 tackles (53 solo), including eight hits for loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. Also lettered in track.
• Quentin Atkinson, wide receiver, Georgia Military College. The three-sport standout (football, basketball, track) caught 13 receptions for 219 yards and a TD. GMC (11-1) lost in the NJCAA championship game.
• Richard Mitchell, defensive lineman, Holmes Community College, Goodman, Miss. Recorded 39 tackles (24 solo), 6.5 hits for a loss and three sacks.
• Frank Okafor, wide receiver, Trinity Valley CC, Athens, Texas. Caught 42 passes for 398 yards and six TDs. Lettered in track
• Billerman. Threw for 2,962 yards and 34 TDs against 10 interceptions in 2013. Averaged 246.8 yards per game and completed 52.5 percent of passes.
• Michael Gray, linebacker, Pinecrest High. Recorded 155 tackles with four sacks, two interceptions and eight forced fumbles.
• Sterlin Houston, offensive lineman, West Mecklenburg. Three-time all-conference selection.
• Nathaniel Tilque, punter/kicker, Mallard Creek High. Averaged 44 yards per punt and made 70 of 72 extra-point kicks.
• Brandon Galloway, wide receiver, T. Wingate Andrews High. Three-sport star (football, basketball and track) caught 21 passes for 432 yards and six TDs. Team won 2-AA state title.