May 3, 2011

Pack is on Todd Gurley's radar

After not taking a running back in last year's recruiting class, NC State is definitely in the market for a ball carrier in the 2012 cycle. Prep star Todd Gurley is one of the top backs in North Carolina and the Tarboro (N.C.) product proved it at the most recent Shrine Bowl Combine, held in Williamston, N.C.

The back checked in at 6-foot-1 and tipped the scales at 192 pounds. Even more impressive were his results in the drills, including a 4.33 second 40-yard dash on a slow track and a 4.06 timing in the shuttle. Gurley also repped out 185 pounds on the bench press 12 times while recording a ten foot broad jump.

"I thought I did pretty good for my first combine," he said. "Just to come out here and compete against guys like this pushes me even harder. My coaches did a good job of getting me prepared for this, my times were pretty good."

Gurley first heard from Duke on the recruiting trail but its safe to slow he's blown up since then. Auburn, East Carolina, Duke, North Carolina and NC State have offered and, most recently, Notre Dame has extended a tender. Gurley has taken visits to three in-state programs so far: Duke, UNC and NC State.

"Just to see that people see me as a special back for a school like Notre Dame, with their history in football, is a good sign," he said. "It just pushes me to work even harder."

Although Gurley put up junior year statistics that would be hard for most to top (1,457 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns in addition to a receiving touchdown and two kick returns for scores); the hard work is ensuring that he will have no regrets during his final prep campaign. The junior said he is always trying to improve his already-stellar speed, as well as his strength.

Given his success toting the rock, it's no surprise that Gurley hopes to stay at running back in college. That is exactly where the NC State coaching staff envisions him and while the Pack may have ground to make up on some of their in-state competitors, Gurley has definitely noticed the Red and White.

"I like their coaches," he said. "I haven't had a chance to talk to players yet but I want to talk to players because those are the guys I'll be with there. The community [sticks out, too] because I went to the spring game and they came out, supported the team even though a storm was coming. I like their facilities a whole lot, too. They're a good program and I like them very much."

Although Gurley acknowledges the Tarboro-to-Chapel Hill pipeline, which includes tailback Shaun Draughn and Kelvin Bryant, it is not a foregone conclusion that he ends up with the Tar Heels. However, the back also admits that Duke and UNC have been coming after him the hardest.

Gurley likes the fact that NC State running backs coach Everette Sands is in charge of his recruitment for the Pack, and said that is an advantage for head coach Tom O'Brien and company.

"State compares pretty good [to the other in-state programs], they recruit me pretty well," he said. "I'm starting to get a relationship with the running backs coach and that's the person I'll be playing under so it's good to have him recruiting me.

"I talk to him but it's not always about recruiting. He just talks about life sometimes and we are getting to know each other."

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