NC State Wolfpack SI All-American Candidate Spotlight: WR Jakolbe Baldwin

Brett Friedlander

Eleven of the 15 high school seniors that have committed to play their college football careers at NC State are among the 1,000 players nationwide identified by Sports Illustrated as candidates for the publication's 2020 High School All-American team.

Each day over the past two weeks, SI's All Wolfpack has taken a closer look at each of those players and how they project to help the program once they arrive on campus.

Today the series concludes with wide receiver Jakolbe Baldwin.

Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren and his staff replenished the depth of their receiving corps by bringing in five new players at the position for the upcoming 2020 season.

Apparently, though, even that wasn't enough.

State has added three more pass-catching playmakers in the Class of 2021, including two in rapid succession just before the NCAA shut down athletic activities because of the coronavirus crisis in mid-March.

Three days after Julian Gray of Hopewell High School became the first to pledge to the Wolfpack this year, fellow Sports Illustrated All-American candidate Jakolbe Baldwin also announced his intention to play his college ball in Raleigh.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Baldwin is a big-play receiver who averaged better than 20 yards per reception last season while making 34 receptions for 687 yards and eight touchdowns. He also runs track, posting solid marks in both the 400 meters and long jump.

Baldwin’s best game came against Myers Park High School in the third round of the 4AA state playoffs, when he caught a career-high six passes for a 124 yards. Richmond won its first 13 games last season before falling to eventual state champion Vance in the NCHSAA West final. 

State was the first school to offer Baldwin back in August 2019 following an impressive performance at Doeren's summer camp and the early attention paid off. He chose the Wolfpack over ACC rivals Wake Forest and Duke, along with East Carolina, Appalachian State and others.

Baldwin is one of two recruits from Richmond High School to commit to the Wolfpack during the current cycle. Offensive tackle Jaleel Davis is also a member of Doeren's 2021 class.

Here's how SI All-American evaluates him:

"Even at top speed, Baldwin catches the football well over his shoulder. From the snap, quickly gains on a defensive back’s cushion. Uses jump-back move to avoid press coverage. Keeps hands moving versus press coverage.

"Baldwin is very good at making contested catches. A savvy route runner, Baldwin utilizes quickness and a smooth running style. He defeats press coverage and off coverage equally well. He is a big-play threat."

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