ON CAMPUS: Northwood's Palmer signs with Jacksonville Jaguars
Northwood High School standout and N.C. State University top wide receiver and kick returner Tobias Palmer recently joined the Baltimore Ravens’ Aaron Mellette as the second local football player this year to sign an NFL contract. Palmer was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars at the end of April and just recently impressed Jaguars coaches with his speed at an all-rookie team minicamp.
“We talked about him quite a bit after the rookie minicamp,” Jacksonville Head coach Gus Bradley said. “We really like his speed and we’re trying to move him around to find a home for him.” Palmer initially caught the notice of the Jacksonville staff when he turned in a 4.31 40-yard dash at his pro day combine. Jacksonville coaches seem to be satisfied with receivers Cecil Shorts III and Justin Blackmon occupying the two starting wide receiver spots, but there is a logjam for the remaining three wide receiver roster spots with Palmer in the thick of the chase.
Jaguar wide receiver coach Jerry Sullivan commented on his play after the mini camp, “As a rookie, your head is going to swim a little bit, you’re trying to learn everything, but it doesn’t seem like he is panicked. He’s pretty under control. He has to learn and then function in our system but all the things I see, I’m encouraged.” Alfie Crow, Jacksonville Jaguar insider and journalist for SB Nation added, “If Palmer can keep flashing his speed when the pads go on, he could have a chance to squeeze his way on the roster, especially with his ability to return kicks.”
Palmer’s NFL stock rose this past fall where, as a senior for N.C. State, he led the Wolfpack in several statistical categories, including leading receiver with 54 catches for 781 yards and six touchdowns, top kick returner with 44 runbacks for 1,130 yards, and two touchdowns and leader in all-purpose yardage with 1,971 yards. Palmer understands what a great opportunity he has before him in Jacksonville. In an interview with The Florida Times-Union, he stated, “This has allowed me to get my foot in the door, but I can’t get off the gas pedal. I have to keep pushing until I see my name on the 53-man roster.”
Dillon Frye (LCHS) and fifth-ranked N.C. State (46-14, 19-10) finished a perfect 3-0 this past weekend in NCAA regional play and will now advance to the Super Regional for the second year in a row. The Wolfpack will face the winner of the Eugene Regional. State defeated Binghamton in the opening game, 4-1, then slipped past William and Mary 1-0 in game two. After W&M defeated Ole Miss to advance to the championship game, State again had no problem with W&M in winning game three, 9-2. The Wolfpack’s 47 victories ranks as the fourth most in school history, with the 1993 squad still holding onto the record at 49 wins.