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PI EXCLUSIVE: Auburn Transfer Safety Donovan Kaufman Breaks Down Official Visit to NC State

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This past weekend, Auburn Transfer Safety Donovan Kaufman (5’10″/204) took an Official Visit to NC State. I caught up with Kaufman to get his take on the experience.

Break down the experience of the Official Visit. What did you do?

I toured the facility, met the staff, watched some film with the coaches, got to get around some of the players, and looked over some academics.

What were your interactions like with the coaches? What was their pitch to you?

The interactions were good. It seemed very genuine. The culture is a winning culture. Their pitch was really just showing me the facts of the situation and that they have a great chance of making the playoffs.

What was your favorite part of this visit?

My favorite part of the visit was them showing me how they could develop me mentally.

After entering the Portal, what led you to take an Official Visit to NC State?

Honestly, they asked if I wanted to come and I said yes. They were one of the schools who reached out to me the first or second day I was in the portal.

After the visit, where do things stand with you and the Wolfpack?

Things are pretty good with us.

What was it like to visit with Auburn teammate Cam Riley?

It was a good feeling, just knowing everything we had been through, it was good to be able to go through the new chapter together, especially with us both having one year remaining.

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Rivals ranked Kaufman as a 4-Star prospect in the 2020 recruiting class. They ranked him as the #186 overall player nationally, the #11 Safety, and the #9 player in the state of Louisiana. Out of high school, Kaufman committed to Vanderbilt.

In his first season of college football, Kaufman played 2 games (started) for the Commodores as a True Freshman, collecting 15 tackles and a pass breakup in limited action.

In 2021, Kaufman transferred to Auburn, where he played in 13 games as a Freshman (2020 didn’t count against eligibility due to Covid), starting in 7 of them. In 414 snaps, Kaufman had 33 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups and 3 forced fumbles.

In 2022, Kaufman was the returning starter at Safety, starting in the first 7 games, before suffering an injury that kept him out of the final 4 games. Still, he played in 459 snaps, which was a new career high. As a Sophomore, Kaufman recorded a career high 39 tackles, as well as 2 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble. His PFF grade was 72.1 that year, which is the best grade of his career.

In 2021, Kaufman transferred to Auburn, where he played in 13 games as a Freshman (2020 didn’t count against eligibility due to Covid), starting in 7 of them. In 414 snaps, Kaufman had 33 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups and 3 forced fumbles.

In 2022, Kaufman was the returning starter at Safety, starting in the first 7 games, before suffering an injury that kept him out of the final 4 games. Still, he played in 459 snaps, which was a new career high. As a Sophomore, Kaufman recorded a career high 39 tackles, as well as 2 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble. His PFF grade was 72.1 that year, which is the best grade of his career.

NC State is returning both of their starting Safeties from 2023 in Devan Boykin and Sean Brown. Boykin is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in December, so I’m not sure what his status will be heading into Game 1. Robert Kennedy III started for the Wolfpack at Nickel this past year, and he has run out of eligibility, leaving a hole there. I could see Boykin moving to Nickel. Either way, there will be a starting role open at Nickel, or one of the Safety positions if Boykin moved to Safety.

Matthew is Publisher and Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He is also the Lead Pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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Football Recruiting

4-Star WR Jerel Bolder Commits to NC State!

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4-Star 2025 Wide Receiver Jerel Bolder (6’0″/200) has verbally committed to Run with the Wolfpack!

Bolder was one of three 2025 prospects to commit to NC State yesterday, joining 3-Star Wide Receiver Arrion Concepcion and 3-Star Running Back RJ Boyd.

The North Carolina standout just wrapped up his Official Visit to NC State, and it obviously left an impression. He previously took Official Visits to Georgia and Virginia. Duke and Ole Miss were also in his Top-5.

Rivals ranks Bolder as a 4-Star prospect, and the #8 overall prospect in the state of North Carolina in the 2025 class. He plays for Forest Hills in Marshville.

NC State was in early with Bolder, offering him a scholarship on June 5, 2022.

This past Fall, Bolder had 43 receptions for 881 yards and 14 touchdowns for Forest Hills.

NC State now has 10 verbal commitments in their 2025 recruiting class: 4-Star WR Jerel Bolder, 3-Star RB RJ Boyd, 3-Star WR Arrion Concepcion, 3-Star CB Cam Strong, 3-Star QB Will Wilson, 3-Star TE Gus Ritchey, 3-Star DE Colby Cronk, 3-Star S Tristan Teasdell, 3-Star WR Jamar Browder and 3-Star Caden Gordon.

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3-Star RB RJ Boyd Commits to NC State!

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2025 Running Back RJ Boyd (6’1″/210) verbally committed to NC State over Duke this evening! This is the second verbal commitment the Wolfpack have picked up today, with 3-Star Wide Receiver Arrion Concepcion committing this morning.

Boyd took an Official Visit to NC State last weekend, after wrapping up an Official Visit to Duke the weekend before.

He rushed for 694 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns for Ware County (Waycross, Georgia) last season as a Junior.

NC State offered Boyd back on January 17th.

NC State now has 9 verbal commitments in their 2025 recruiting class: 3-Star RB RJ Boyd, 3-Star WR Arrion Concepcion, 3-Star CB Cam Strong, 3-Star QB Will Wilson, 3-Star TE Gus Ritchey, 3-Star DE Colby Cronk, 3-Star S Tristan Teasdell, 3-Star WR Jamar Browder and 3-Star Caden Gordon.

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4-Star S Jontae Gilbert Includes NC State in Top-5

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4-Star 2025 Safety Jontae Gilbert (6’1″/180) released his Top-5 yesterday, and NC State made the cut along with Georgia, Georgia Tech Louisville and UCF. He also announced that he will be announcing his commitment on August 10th.

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Gilbert plays for Douglass in Atlanta, Georgia.

A lot has changed since Gilbert announced his Top-7 three weeks ago, which included Michigan, South Carolina, Memphis, and Georgia State. Georgia Tech and Georgia weren’t even in the Top-7 three weeks ago, but now find themselves in the Top-5.

Gilbert was in Raleigh for a midweek Official Visit this week. He also has taken Official Visits to the rest of his Top-5 as well.

Back in July of 2022, Gilbert committed to Ohio St., but last July he decommitted from the Buckeyes.

NC State offered Gilbert in April of last year. He was at the Wolfpack’s Spring Game in April, and at their Junior Day in January.

Gilbert is a consensus 4-Star Top-275 (used to be a 5-star prospect) prospect. ESPN and Rivals both rank him as the #113 overall player nationally in the 2025 class. Rivals ranks him as the #14 player in the state of Georgia, and the #3 Safety.

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NC State Makes Top-3 for 3-Star EDGE Mykah Newton

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3-Star 2025 EDGE Mykah Newton (6’3″/260) has announced his Top 3 schools, and NC State made the cut along with Michigan St., and UCF. He also announced that he will be announcing his commitment on July 18th.

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Newton plays for Newberry High School (Newberry, Florida) down in the Sunshine State. His Junior stats last season were extremely impressive, racking up 62 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 13 sacks.

NC State offered Newton on May 13th. Newton took an Official Visit to NC State on June 7-9, and he has also taken Official Visits to both UCF and Michigan St.

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