KINSTON, N.C.- Defensive end Quinton Coples is one of several prospects that could be the top overall prospect in the state of North Carolina for the Class of 2008. The 6-foot-6, 242-pounder has a number of early scholarship offers and is getting early interest from nearly every program in the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast Conferences.
The Rivals.com Junior All-American has an early top four of Florida, North Carolina, North Carolina State and East Carolina.
Gators assistant Doc Holliday, one of the top 10 recruiters in the SEC according to Rivals.com and a previous national top 25 recruiter, has been in touch on behalf of the defending champions.
"(Florida) is just a great program and I like the way they get after it," Coples said. "Plus, the coach that is recruiting me from there is real down to Earth."
Coples said he plans to take an unofficial visit to Gainesville during his spring break in April to get an up close look at the Gators' program.
The Tar Heels also are a big factor early.
"The school (UNC) is unbelievable," Coples said. "It's a good school academically. Athletically, they struggled on the field last year, but I think the new coaching staff is going to turn things around."
The new staff at N.C. State also has impressed Coples.
"They have a very good coaching staff," he said. "It's a good school academically with a high graduation rate for athletes. The new coaching staff came from Boston College, which always graduated its players and they told me that they planned to do the same thing at N.C. State."
East Carolina, the local favorite, also has impressed Coples.
"I like ECU because of the style of play and because they are close to home," he said. "The staff has really shown a lot of interest. They have sent me a lot of letters and things like that."
Clemson, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and a number of other programs also have shown interest in Coples, who will focus on several aspects of a program before he makes a decision.
"I'm looking for a high athletic graduation rate," Coples said. "I am also looking at comfort level, how the flow of the school makes me feel. I also want to go to a program with a winning mentality."
Coples had 63 tackles and seven sacks as a junior. He feels there are many things that make him a success on the field.
"My strength is chasing down the ball carrier," he said. "I really get after it and I also put in a lot of hard work. As a senior, I hope to increase my tackles and move better."
In addition to being a Junior All-American, Coples was named to the Rivals100 to watch list and the Rivals250 to watch list for the Class of 2008.