The Wolfpacker

May 2017 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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MAY 2017 ■ 17 BY MATT CARTER NC State made a significant addition to its 2018 football recruiting class with the verbal commitment of three-star quarterback Devin Leary from Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek High. He is the Pack's fourth overall commitment among rising seniors. Last fall, Timber Creek rolled to a 12-0 record and repeated as Group 4 state champions. Leary completed 198 of 316 passes for 3,688 yards with 48 scores and just four picks. He set a state record for passing yards and touchdowns, and was named the Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year. "Athletically he's a legitimate high-4.6 kid, low-4.7 [in the 40-yard dash], which is plenty fast for a quarterback," Timber Creek head coach Robert Hinson said. "We just don't ask him to do it. From an arm stand- point, I've been coaching high school 22 years now, I've never had a kid or coached against a kid with that arm strength. "He's close to 200 pounds now [at 6-2]. He's probably going to be a 200-pound kid when the season starts, so all the attributes are there." But Leary's strengths extend past his physical skills. "He is a quarterback," Hinson said. "He runs all our offseason work- outs. He's very involved in seven-on-seven in the summer. He was a captain as a sophomore and junior, and probably could have been a cap- tain as a freshman. He could have been a four-year captain in our program. It's just that 'it' factor there." All of which made Leary an attrac- tive target for colleges. Baylor, Bos- ton College, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syra- cuse, Wake Forest and West Virginia extended him offers, but he picked NC State April 6. Wolfpack receivers coach George McDonald and offensive coordinator/ quarterbacks coach Eli Drinkwitz led the recruitment. "He handled the recruiting process about as well as you can for a high- profile quarterback," Hinson noted. "I know he and his family are happy." Rivals.com rates Leary as the No. 10 prospect in New Jersey and the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the country. Leary continues a strong start in football recruiting for head coach Dave Doeren and his staff. Four-star athlete Ricky Person from Wake Forest (N.C.) Heritage High is listed as the No. 3 prospect in the state and the No. 76 overall player in the 2018 class nationally by Rivals. com. Three-star corner/receiver De'Von Graves from Appomattox (Va.) County High is regarded as the No. 9 rising senior in the state and No. 26 athlete nationally. Kicker Chris Dunn from Lexington (N.C.) North Davidson High is rated by renowned prep kicking guru Chris Sailer as the No. 2 place- kicker in his class nationally. TRACKING THE PACK Wolfpack Lands Top Quarterback Target A Masterpiece Collection Vinny Sheehan likes to think his devotion to NC State is more than just being a super fan. He considers him- self a historical preservationist. Sheehan has always been a collector, whether it was sports cards or autographs. For the last 13 years, however, he's devoted his time and money to collect - ing game-worn memorabilia of NC State's professional football players. "I'm a big history guy," Sheehan said. "For me, each piece I have is a true one of a kind item. Every one of them has a story. "For me, to be able to say I have a jersey from some - one I saw play in college is a chance to be closer to the field. And it's a chance to preserve history." Whether it's a game-worn Torry Holt jersey or the Army uniform Roman Gabriel wore in the movie "The Undefeated" with John Wayne and Rock Hudson, Shee- han treats everything in his collection like museum pieces. He wears white gloves when handling them. Each piece is wrapped in tissue paper and stored in an acid-free box. "This stuff does deteriorate over time," Sheehan said, "and I want to do what I can to make sure it lasts forever." Sheehan, a Deer Park, N.Y., native who moved to North Carolina in the 1990s, has nearly 300 authen - ticated pieces worn by NC State alumni in the NFL. A lifetime New York Jets fan, Sheehan combined his two favorite teams in 2004 when he bought a game-worn jersey from Jerricho Cotchery's rookie season. Cotchery remains Sheehan's all-time favorite player. He owns a home and away jersey from the Carolina Panthers' 20th anniversary season of 2015, when the team went to the Super Bowl. He has added other pieces to build an impressive collection in a unique collectibles segment: a game- used Gabriel helmet from 1974, Koren Robinson's only Pro Bowl jersey and memorabilia from each of the six NC State quarterbacks who have started an NFL game. Some of the names might not be as familiar, but each piece was worn in an NFL game: Dennis Owens (New England Patriots), Nasrallah Worthen (Kansas City Chiefs) and Perry Williams (New York Giants). Sheehan, who earned a degree in communications and public relations from NC State in 2009, goes to great lengths to authenticate each piece. When he had the chance to buy a jersey worn by Philip Rivers in the 2013 playoffs, he photo-matched grass stains on the jersey with a postgame picture taken in the Chargers' locker room. And he's bought pieces from estate sales, like the helmet worn by New Orleans Saints linebacker Vaughan Johnson. The oldest piece in his collection is a jersey worn by 1930s-era quarterback Eddie Berlinski, who played for the Newark (N.J.) Bears of the American Football Association in 1940. "Each piece tells a unique story," said Sheehan, who is a corporate sales specialist for Lenovo in the Re - search Triangle Park. — Tim Peeler Vinny Sheehan collects game-used memo- rabilia of former NC State players in the NFL. Here, he shows his Rams jersey of star wide receiver Torry Holt. PHOTO COURTESY VINCENT SHEEHAN Devin Leary threw for 3,688 yards and 48 touchdowns in 2016 while leading Sick- lerville (N.J.) Timber Creek to a state title and earning Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year honors. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM ■ Class Of 2018 Commitments Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Chris Dunn K 5-9 170 Lexington, N.C. (North Davidson) De'Von Graves ATH 6-1 180 Appomattox, Va. (Appomattox County) Devin Leary QB 6-2 195 Sicklerville, N.J. (Timber Creek) Ricky Person ATH 6-2 205 Wake Forest, N.C. (Heritage)

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