Author: Dawson Haywood
North Carolina, though it is not Texas, Florida, or South Carolina, is still a very competitive state when it comes to football. Tonight's NFL Draft will without a doubt have a huge focus on the five Quarterbacks that are projected to go fast in the first round this year. What about our hometown guys? Making it to the NFL is a big deal for any North Carolina community because it really does not happen all that often. This article is going to cover some of the most sought after players in this year's NFL Draft from the Tar Heel State.
Caleb Farley / DB / Virginia Tech / Maiden High School
Farley graduated from Maiden High School in Maiden, North Carolina in 2017. In his senior year he helped lead Maiden to an 8-4 record the school was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the Mount Pleasant Tigers. What is impressive about Farley is that he was recruited by three power five schools, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and South Carolina, while attending a 2A school. Farley sits at #12 on CBS's prospect rankings.
Javonte Williams / RB / UNC / Wallace-Rose High School
Javonte Williams is a player that UNC fans saw blow up very quickly after himself and Michael Carter ran for a combined total of 544 yards in a 62-26 win over #10 Miami. It is no surprise that Williams has found success beyond his High School playing days because he led Wallace-Rose High School to a 2A State Title in his senior year. Coming out of High School Williams was a 3-Star recruit with only one offer from UNC.
Hamsah Nasirildeen / DB / Florida State / Concord High School
This is the prospect that myself personally will have my eyes on tonight. This is because when he gets picked up I will be able to tell people I played against an NFL player. Nasirildeen was a player that we all knew was special but we could have never predicted he was this special. Nasirildeen led the Concord Spiders to an 8-4 record in his senior year but unfortunately the team lost in the first round of the NC 3A Playoffs in the first round to Marvin Ridge who the Hickory Ridge went on to beat in the 3rd round in quadruple overtime. The 2016 Ragin' Bulls were the best team in Cabarrus County that year and this is not up for debate. Nasirildeen was recruited as a 4-Star athlete with offers from Florida State, Alabama, Clemson, South Carolina, and UNC Charlotte.
Landon Dickerson / OL / Alabama / South Caldwell High School
Dickerson is the first player on this list that graduated from High School in 2016. At South Caldwell High School Dickerson led the team to an 11-3 record and a 3rd round playoff berth. Dickerson was the #4 OT in his recruiting class in the nation. Coming out of high school he had an impressive 21 offers from teams from every P5 conference except for the Big-12. Dickerson committed to Florida State at first but in a last minute push decided to go to Alabama.
Alim McNeill / DT / NC State / Sanderson High School
McNeill was 6-2 / 272 pounds coming out of high school and led a dominant Sanderson defense holding every opponent in his senior year at or below 21 points except for twice against NC powerhouse school Cardinal Gibbons and eventual 4AA State Champion Wake Forest. The school lost in the second round of the McNeill came out of high school with 28 offers, again, from every conference except for the Big-12. McNeill decided to stay close to home and sign with NC State and has obviously found success playing for the Wolfpack.
Cornell Powell / WR / Clemson / J.H. Rose High School
Having a good WR on your team in North Carolina can make all the difference in the world and Cornell Powell is proof of that. During his senior year at J.H. Rose he led the team to the 4A State Championship only to lose to Private School Charlotte Catholic, who defiantly recruits players. So basically, J.H. Rose won a State Title. Powell had 16 offers primarily by ACC schools and hometown University ECU but who would not want to go play receiver for Clemson?
Dyami Brown / WR / UNC / West Charlotte High School
Unfortunately for West Charlotte even though they had one of the best receivers in the State they did not find much success with Brown at the core of the Wide Receivers ending the season with a 5-7 record. You cannot blame them though because the conference they play in is stacked with teams such as Vance, Mallard Creek, and Hough. During his senior year the West Charlotte Lions were knocked out of the playoffs by my Alma Mater, Hickory Ridge.
Chazz Surratt / LB / UNC / East Lincoln High School
Surratt played for a powerful East Lincoln team that average 44 points per game and 17 points allowed per game. Up until the 2AA semi-final game East Lincoln was undefeated. They were defeated by a Monroe High School that came out of nowhere looking to make a statement. Surratt had a total of 10 offers which was largely comprised of teams from both North and South Carolina teams.
Sage Surratt / WR / Wake Forest / East Lincoln High School
I guess Sage did not want to play with his older brother because he committed to Wake Forest even with an offer from UNC. The two brothers are considered by locals "The best football brother duo in North Carolina". It is rare we see brothers only a year apart make it to the NFL. In Sage's senior year he led the team to an 11-3 record once again losing to Monroe but this time in the 3rd round of the 2AA playoffs.
9 players from North Carolina in the top 100 of this year's NFL Draft prospects. I would say that that is an impressive feat. What I found most interesting is the number of players that came from 2A schools. While North Carolina has the 8th most NFL players currently playing in the league this position could always improve. Other than Florida, Texas, California, and Georgia, North Carolina only produces 12 less players than the next best state Ohio.