July 18, 2011

Pack still on top for K'Hadree Hooker

K'Hadree Hooker is one of the top defensive linemen in the state and proved it once again this past weekend at an invitation-only Shrine Bowl Combine. Despite showing up late because of a miscommunication between him and his coach on the start time, it didn't take long for the 6-foot-2, 280-pounder to establish his presence among the other top players on the defensive line.

For Hooker, though, it was just a chance to compete with his friends.

"I think I did good, got a chance to compete with some of my buddies and have fun," he said. "It was a great time out here."

The three-star recruit is ranked as the No. 35 defensive tackle in the country and checks in at No. 15 on the Rivals.com North Carolina Preseason Top 30. He has narrowed his focus to NC State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech but doesn't hesitate when asked for a leader; it's NC State.

Hooker has actually been spending quite a bit of time in the area because his parents have a house in Raleigh. The Deep Run (N.C.) South Lenoir star is also hearing quite a bit from numerous coaches on the Wolfpack staff.

"[I talk to] Coach Willis, Coach Petercuskie, Coach Reed, basically all of the coaches," he said. "I've talked to Coach O'Brien, too. [They tell me] I'm the guy they want and I've got an opportunity to do big things at NC State."

Another of Hooker's finalists, Georgia Tech, has recently been penalized by the NCAA for rules violations and has been forced to vacate its 2009 ACC Championship, in addition to going on four years of probation and a hefty fine. Hooker recently took a trip to Atlanta but noted that he, "didn't see any of the football stuff or anything like that.

"With the NCAA stuff, I'm not really sure what's going on, I haven't been able to get up with any coaches. But I haven't tried to get up with any coaches, I'm in the process of doing that with my family."

Hooker expects to announce his decision at his school's first practice, which will be held in early August.

"[I plan to announce] hopefully sometime in August at our midnight practice," he said. "I don't know the exact date."

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