It could be a banner year for talent in the state of North Carolina, according to CBS/MaxPreps recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.
The Tar Heel State is far deeper in talent than its southern neighbor and will likely play host to a number of national recruiting battles.
"It's a great year in North Carolina, much better than South Carolina," Lemming said. "North Carolina is very strong, with a lot of great ball players."
Headlining the group of 2013 recruits is the outstanding Butler (Matthews)
outstanding trio of Riley Ferguson
, Uriah Lemay
and Peter Kalambayi
Ferguson, the team's quarterback, stepped in for former Butler star Christian Lemay
as a sophomore, throwing for 2,624 yards and leading the Charlotte-area power to a 16-0 season. His development continued as a junior, and he's now a top pro-style quarterback recruit.
"Ferguson is one of the premier quarterbacks in the country," Lemming said. "He's in a great offensive system and has the height and arm strength to get things done."
Lemming also likes Lemay, his top target.
"He's a prolific receiver," he said. "He's got good size, good speed. Everything is good. I don't know if it's great, but everything is good."
On the other side of the ball, Kalambayi has emerged as a national recruit at linebacker.
"I really liked him," Lemming said. "He's big, fast, productive and smart."
Also hailing from the Charlotte area is Vance (Charlotte)
athlete Larenz Bryant
"He's super fast at linebacker and running back, and could play either position in college," Lemming said. "He's great in pursuit and has real good instincts. He's a major talent."
Emerging powerhouse Mallard Creek (Charlotte)
, which was home to D.J. Humphries
in the 2012 recruiting cycle, has highly coveted receiver Marquez North
in the 2013 class. Lemming is enamored with North's physical ability.
"He can fly," he said. "He's 6-3, 210, and runs a 4.4. He's a dazzler in the open field. He's a big guy that can make people miss or run through tackles. He may be the best player in the state."
Other receivers to watch include Jalen McDaniel
, Keeon Johnson
and Justin Fielleteau
Teammates Brian Walker and Anthony Covington add to the deep class at Mallard Creek.
Around the state, a handful of quarterbacks have caught Lemming's eye in addition to Butler's Ferguson. Carlis Parker
and Wakefield's (Raleigh) Connor Mitch
bring different skills to the table, but both have impressed Lemming.
Parker, who had a phenomenal sophomore season before missing his junior year due to injury, is flying under the radar a bit but has offers from more than a half-dozen teams.
"He's one of the best quarterbacks in the country," Lemming said. "I saw his sophomore film, and I think he's a Top 100 guy. I think he's a guy by this time next year, everyone will be talking about him."
Mitch, who tallied a whopping 3,832 yards and 48 touchdowns, impressed Lemming with his poise.
"He has a presence about him where he's not afraid to take a sack," he said. "He'll stay in the pocket, which most of these high school kids won't do."
Lemming also mentioned Concord
quarterback B.J. Beecher
as another possible Division I quarterback from the state.
While there does not appear to be a running back of the caliber of Keith Marshall
or Todd Gurley
from the 2012 cycle, the Tar Heel State is home to Khris Francis
, a diminutive back that Lemming thinks is a major sleeper, as well as Marquez Grayson, a big back from Lexington.
On the defensive line, North Carolina boasts Gregg Gilmore
from South View (Hope Mills).
The 6-4, 285-pound Gilmore is the best defensive lineman in the state, and on the high school level, can play inside or outside. He's so dedicated to continuing to reshape his body that he passed on eating a burger or fries when he met Lemming at a local hamburger joint, Lemming said.
defensive end Tyquan Lewis
also spent time at tight end, where he was an outstanding blocker, according to Lemming.
"Tight ends are tougher to find," he said. "He's more of a blocking tight end on film with good hands."
Other recruits that Lemming likes include: R.J. Prince
, Tray Watkins
and Nick Carroll