Ryan Hayes' faculty adviser, Amy Wilson, said he was serious about his studies and would stay after class to work with his professors.
"It's very shocking and he definitely had a bright future ahead and we talked about that," said Wilson.
Wilson had just received an email from Hayes last Friday discussing his academic future.
"As an academic advisor, the worst thing that can possibly happen would be to lose a student," said Wilson.
Wilson got the tragic news Wednesday that rescuers recovered Hayes' body Tuesday from the Carrigan Farms rock quarry in Mooresville after he drowned.
Lifeguards aren't present and signs at the quarry warn people to swim in the 25 foot deep waters at their own risk.
Eyewitnesses saw Hayes jump in, surface, and then struggle before going back under.
"My heart goes out for his family," said Wilson.
Wilson says Hayes was just finding his groove literally. He was about to officially declare a major in communications, with a minor in music.
"He would write songs and so something he really enjoyed was kind of expressing his emotions through that," said Wilson.
She says the rising sophomore worked hard at it, and often stayed after class to talk with her and other professors.
Hayes spent extra time in the first year college village computer lab.
"It was definitely evident that he was a computer tech kind of guy," said N.C. State student Terrance Chandler.
"I remember having a conversation with Ryan in my office about, 'When you hit it big in the music industry, don't forget about me, your academic advisor Ms. Wilson back at N.C. State,'" said Wilson.