Last Friday, Josh Mercer (Guyton, Ga./South Effingham) looked over at the sidelines before his first play. The three-star prospect saw N.C. State running backs coach Des Kitchings standing there, focusing on Mercer. Monday night, Mercer admitted that might have sealed the deal as me made his commitment.
"I committed to N.C. State about 30 minutes ago," Mercer said. "My father and i had a long talk about it, and I felt like they really needed me. Seeing Coach Kitchens on the sideline made me feel wanted, and in fact on my first carry I had a touchdown run. He told me later that he liked my speed inside the tackles and how I watched my blocks unfold and then used my vision and burst to get to the second level."
Mercer had 127 yards and two touchdowns on only 12 carries that night, giving him 333 yards and seven touchdowns in three games this season. The Wolfpack coaching staff have told Mercer he has a chance to be an impact player for them in the future.
"They have two other guys committed at running back, but the coaching staff said they needed a standout like me to help them win games in the ACC," Mercer said. "They said I could be a star for them in their I-formation, pro-style offense that I want to play in."
According to Mercer, two SEC programs were still in contact, but he felt the need to secure a spot before it was too late.
"Florida and Georgia were showing serious interest, but I did not want to wait on them and miss out on the chance to play for a program like N.C. State," Mercer said. "I think Georgia is waiting on some other top running backs, and I do think they will end up calling. But N.C. State showed they wanted me to be a part of their family now, so I feel like I should take them up on that."
So Monday night, Mercer made the call after returning home from football practice.
"I called Coach Kitchens and he was very happy, Mercer said. "He told the other staff in the background and I could hear everyone yelling and being happy. Then 5 minutes later Coach (Tom) O' Brien called and said he was happy to have me and that he could not wait to see my on my official visit."
That official visit will take place Oct. 5 weekend, when N.C. State takes on Florida State. Mercer is excited about the chance to play in Raleigh, and he is looking forward to teaming up with a familiar face in the backfield.
"It feels good to have a chance to play in the ACC, and will have a chance to form a dynamic duo with Shadrach Thornton, who is from Liberty County and is a good friend of mine," Mercer said. "It is a weight off my shoulders to have my decision out of the way. Now I can focus on getting my team to the playoffs."
Mercer is commitment No. 18 for N.C. State in the 2013 class, and the first from the state of Georgia. In the 2012 recruiting cycle, the Wolfpack signed six from the Peach State.