Check out the article to see who are the backups and reserves.
The Wolfpack looks for a rotation of 8-9 wide receivers and that rotation will be a young one for position coach Frisman Jackson. Six of the eight players listed on the depth chart at the three wideout spots are either true freshmen or true sophomores while one senior is a first-year walkon. However, all four true sophomores saw meaningful action last season and that new senior has shown great promise during fall camp.
Z – Flanker
Starter: Bryan Underwood (5-9, 180, *Sr)
- Most experienced player in the unit, he has played in 33 career games and caught 92 passes.
- Ranks 10th in school history with 13 career TD receptions.
- Missed five games last season with a broken collarbone.
X – Split End
Starter: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (6-3, 208, So.)
- Another freshman who earned starting time last season and also missed games with injuries.
- Tallest WR on the depth chart.
- Had 22 receptions for the season, 14 in the first three games.
S – Slot
Starter: Johnathan Alston (6-0, 206, So.) or Bo Hines (6-1, 190, Fr.)
- Also saw action as a true freshman last season, he did not catch a pass.
- Dislocated his elbow last season in the seventh game of the season.
Jackson on the wide receivers: “The guys have worked hard and I feel a lot better about the group now than I did a year ago. I have a better understanding of what guys can do and not do and they’re a year older so I’m not teaching so many guys how to do certain things that you have to teach a freshman. With the exception of one player, every one of our guys has been here since at least the spring so this year I’ve worked with a veteran group and wasn’t starting from scratch.
“I like to have a rotation of eight guys and see how it goes. We have six or seven guys that are interchangeable and will all get in the game. They can all do different things for us.
“Na’Quan Brown has been the surprise of camp. You can see how much he’s dedicated himself to learning the offense and he’s been making plays down the field for us. He’s going to continue to grow and get better as a football player.”
Bra’Lon Cherry (5-11, 189, So.)
Co-Special Teams Coordinator Clayton White on the punt returners: “Cherry got some good returns last year and he’s done a good job for us this fall catching punts. I think he’s ready to have a breakout year there. Bo is a tough kid who has worked his way into being a punt returner. In high school, you’re just a punt catcher, but he’s worked to become a punt returner. Grazen was a good returner in high school.
“The most important part is catching the punt. It’s high pressure and it’s a skill that is sometimes overlooked a little bit. “
Fullbacks coach Eddie Faulkner returns his starter from a year ago in graduate Tyler Purvis and another experience player in Devin O’Connor. Freshman Jaylen Samuels has turned heads in fall camp with his physicality and brings another dimension to the position.
Starter: Tyler Purvis (6-2, 231, *Gr.)
- Post-graduate who posts one of the highest GPAs on the squad and was an Academic All-ACC performer.
- Started six contests last season and caught a dozen passes.
Faulkner on the fullbacks: “All three of those guys have a particular package and role where they can get in the game. They all have particular strengths. Tyler Purvis is steady-eddy. He knows what he’s doing and we trust him. He makes plays. Jaylen is continuing to learn but he’s really talented. Devin is more of a run-game type guy for us. ”
The tight ends will also benefit from the return of an experienced player, David J. Grinnage, as well as graduate Benson Browne, who has gained a wealth of football knowledge in his four years with the program. Tight ends coach Eddie Faulkner says each player brings a different strength and will be in the game based on the personnel.
Benson Browne (6-5, 270, *Gr (Jr.))
- Another offensive starter who has already earned his degree, he had one of the best offseasons on the team.
Faulkner on the tight ends: “Those guys have different packages. It depends on what scenario we’re in. Benson is really good in the run game and David might be a little strong in the passing game, but they both can do either/or. Cole gets better every day and will continue to be more relative as the season goes. ”
The safety position boasts a good combination of youth and experience, with one of the team’s oldest players and some of the youngest. A proven starter returns for safeties coach Clayton White at free safety, while new starters will be manning the free and nickel spots.
Starter: Josh Jones (6-2, 212, *Fr.)
- Strong player who redshirted the 2013 campaign at safety and linebacker.
White on Jones: “Josh Jones bring versatility, speed, athleticism and has big play potential. He’s probably the most athletic guys in our group.”
Starter: Hakim Jones (6-2, 205, *Jr.)
- Returning starter who is the team’s second-leading returning tackler.
White on Jones: “Hakim Jones is the captain back there. He brings the most experience in our group. He’s a sure tackler, but the main thing he brings is experience. He’s a very smart, high-football IQ guy.”
Starter: Tim Buckley (6-0, 197, *Jr.) or Dravious Wright (5-10, 206, So.)
- Local player who played in a dozen games last season, starting one at the nickel.
White on Buckley: “Buckley does a great job in the slot covering, he does a great job in the run game and he’s a good blitzer. He really studies the game and his opponents.”
Check out the article to see who are the backups and reserves.
It’s been a long time since the Wolfpack could say that the offensive line was one of the strengths of the team, but this year’s unit has the potential to be just that. Mike Uremovich’s unit returns five players who have started entire seasons – 71 total career starts among the five positions. The right side of the line is anchored with four 300+ lb. players.
Starter: Rob Crisp (6-7, 285, *Sr.)
- Missed much of last season but has come back strong.
- Has played in 36 career contests, starting 13.
Starter: Joe Thuney (6-5, 296, *Gr (Jr.)
- Back to the his natural position, he started games at right tackle, left tackle and right guard last season.
- Earned the team’s Jim Ritcher Award for Most Valuable offensive lineman in 2013.
Starter: Quinton Schooley (6-3, 301, Jr.)
- Played every offensive snap of the 2013 season, starting every game
Starter: Tony Adams (6-2, 301, Fr.)
- Graduated early and joined the Pack in January, he quickly worked his way into the starter’s role.
Starter: Tyson Chandler (6-7, 345, (Gr.) or Alex Barr (6-7, 314, *Jr.)
- Has been the starter at RT each of the past two seasons.
Coach Uremovich on the offensive line: “It’s been great in camp. We have seven guys who are really confident so we’ve had great competition at multiple spots. The competition has pushed them all to perform better. It’s been great as opposed to last year when we were a lot thinner on the offensive line.
“Tony has done a great job learning the offense and has pushed the older guys.
“We really have the competition on the whole right side between Tyson, Alex and Tony. Alex is a swing guy who can play both positions.
“It’s good to have Joe at guard because he IS a guard. Last year he had to play tackle because of our situation, but he is at home at left guard. He does a nice job pulling and having him and Rob together is great. Those two and Quinton returning at center gives us a lot of experience from the center on out on the left side.
“On the right side, Tyson and Alex have played a lot of football and Jomantas is great because he can play all four positions – everything but center. He can back up all four spots, so he’s extremely valuable.”
The linebacker spot has been hit early and often by injuries this spring and summer. Incoming LB Ty Linton tore his ACL during the spring and is out, while projected starter M.J. Salahuddin suffered an injury in the preseason and has missed most of camp. Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Dave Huxtable has both ends of the spectrum at his two linebacker spots: two seniors battling for the starter’s job at one position and two freshmen at the other.
Starter: Rodman Noel (6-4, 223, Sr.) or Brandon Pittman (6-2, 236, Sr.)
- Greatly improved player who has added strength and bulk.
- Has played in 37 career games, starting five on the strong side.
Huxtable on Noel: “ It’s been great competition. Rodman Noel came off having a really, really good spring and has had a great fall camp. He’s gotten bigger and stronger and is a lot smarter football player than he was a year ago. He’s done a tremendous job.”
Starter: Jerod Fernandez (6-0, 224, *Fr.)
- Hard hitting young player who red-shirted last season.
- Co-recipient of the 2013 Scout Team Player of the Year Award.
Huxtable on Fernandez: “Jerod is a redshirt freshman who had a really good spring and really worked hard over the summer and has had a good camp. He’s a tough kid – a great contact kid who is very passionate about the game. “
Check out the article to see who are the backups and reserves.
The depth chart at running back has the same names as a season ago, but all three are smarter, stronger and faster for 2014. Running backs coach Des Kitchings is pleased with the depth and talent of his group.
Starter: Tony Creecy (5-11, 213, *Gr.)
- One of the strongest leaders on the 2014 squad, he graduated in May.
- Most experienced player in the group, he has played in 34 career contests.
Kitchings on the running backs: “Camp competition was great. Those three guys were tremendous and want to be the strength of our team. They’ve worked hard and it showed in camp. Those three feed off each other.
“Shad is a more powerful, stronger running back. Matt Dayes is very elusive, very good at catching the football and good in the open field. Tony is a collection of it all. He’s very reliable and dependent and is a great leader.
“Matt Dayes had a tremendous camp. He can catch the ball well, he can run, he’s going to be a kick returner. He’s playing with a lot of confidence.”
Defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen has the most depth of any position on the Wolfpack squad. His players have collectively started 71 career games and two of the four spots will be manned by seniors. However, like the rest of the team, youth is prevalent on the d-line, with seven freshmen or sophomores among the rotation of 11.
Starter: Art Norman (6-0, 254, *Gr.)
- Just 8.5 sacks from tying Mario Williams career record.
- Had more snaps (508) than any d-lineman last season.
Nielsen on Norman: “Art’s one of the leaders. He’s probably the most experienced members of our group – he’s played a lot of football. He’s very fundamentally sound, very tough and very steady. He has a great work ethic every single day. He’s so sound that he’s hard to block. He’s a real technician.”
Starter: T.Y. McGill (6-1, 289, Sr.)
- Veteran of 38 games and 13 career starts.
- Has worked hard in the offseason to come back with great conditioning and attitude for senior campaign.
Nielsen on McGill: “T.Y. had a great offseason – a phenomenal offseason. He added upper and lower body strength. He’s put in extra work and was always asking ‘what else can I do.’ He’s really focused on his technique and becoming a fundamentally great player.”
Starter: B.J. Hill (6-4, 300, Fr.)
- Graduated early and went through spring drills with the Wolfpack, he has added over 30 pounds since arriving on campus.
- Started the spring game.
Nielsen on Hill: “Coming in at midyear really helped B.J. to learn the system and the fundamentals. I don’t really look at him as a freshman. He’s done a great job in the weight room. He takes on double-teams and combination blocks and holds the point well.”
Starter: Mike Rose (6-3, 271, *Jr.)
- Started four games as a sophomore.
Nielsen on Rose: “Mike has really gained strength and confidence in taking on blocks. He’s working to get better and brings great experience to our group.”
Here’s a look at the the Depth Chart for the season opener against Georgia Southern for just the QB’s and CB’s.
GoPack.com Click on the link to see who the back ups and reserves are for the positions.
With just 10 days until the Pack opens its 2014 season against Georgia Southern at Cater-Finley Stadium, GoPack.com will be releasing the Pack’s depth chart over the next few days – two position groups at a time.
Production from the quarterback position was a problem for NC State in 2013, with more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (14), but anticipation is high for the Wolfpack debut of highly-touted transfer Jacoby Brissett. Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Matt Canada is pleased with Brissett’s leadership as the starter, as well as the progress of his backups.
Starter: Jacoby Brissett (6-4, 221, *Jr.)
- When Brissett takes the field against Georgia Southern, 651 days will have passed since the last time he played in a game.
- Transfer from Florida who has been with the Pack since January of 2013.
- Known for his pocket presence and strong arm, Brissett has established himself as a team leader with strong work ethic.
Canada on Brissett: “Jacoby has done a great job in camp. He’s a great leader and is very much a student of the game. He has the ability to make all the throws, but his greatest strength is probably his leadership and his desire to win. He’s a great competitor. He’s certainly established himself as the No. 1 quarterback, but he will have to have 10 guys around him doing their job to be successful. He’s done a great job putting himself in a position to have a great year.”
Corner is one of the youngest positions on the field with two freshmen, three sophomores and a junior making up the three-deep. Only three of the six have ever seen game action, but several young players have made great progress under first-year CB coach George Barlow
Starter: Jack Tocho (6-0, 201, So.)
- Started seven games last season as a true freshman.
- Picked off two passes in his first career start (Syracuse).
Barlow on Tocho: “Jack is very talented and has nice size and nice ability. But the thing that makes him special is that he’s a student of the game. He continues to try to do everything exactly how I ask him to do it. He’s improved on his technique and his confidence. He has the ability to be one of the better corners in the ACC.”
Starter: Juston Burris (6-1, 211, *Jr.)
- Started every game of 2013 and five games in 2012. He has solid experience, having played in 25 career games.
- Led the team in PBUs last season and has been a disruptive force in the secondary during fall camp.
Barlow on Burris: “Justin is a physically gifted kid who is really tall for the position. He has the hips and the feet to play corner and I’m looking for big things from him. He played a lot last year and has really worked on his confidence. He’s playing with great confidence, great effort and great technique. He also has a chance to be a really good player in this conference.