We’ve recently been busier than normal and therefore haven’t had the opportunity to cover nearly as much as we would have liked. But, one topic that we have done an admirable job of highlighting is the impact/problem of attrition and injuries related to this year’s NC State football team.
Back in September we highlighted the 41% attrition rates from the 2005 and 2006 recruiting classes in this entry that is worth reviewing.
Then we followed up with this very detailed account of which players are actually seeing the field.
Removing these 23 [redshirting freshmen] players from our original count of 73 leaves us with 50 players available to use this weekend. Four of those players are special teams members (Bradley Pierson, Jeff Ruiz, Corey Tedder, and Josh Czajkowski) and can also be excluded from this discussion. What we are left with is a completely emaciated team of 46 healthy, scholarship players. This is the group that’s supposed to fill out a 44-player two-deep, play 60 minutes of football, and just pray for no more injuries.
…with 10 seniors, 10 juniors and 10 sophomores on the depth chart, that leaves the Pack looking at 14 freshmen to even fill out the two-deep.
Today, the News & Observer added to data set with this very good article analyzing just the 2006 recruiting class (which was part of our look at both the 2005 and 2006 classes from six weeks ago).
A couple of interesting tidbits:
Just seven of [the 20] players [from Chuck Amato's last recruiting class of 2006] will be available to play in Saturday’s game at Maryland, even though it’s been just 2 1/2 years since the class was signed.
Nine of the players from the class of 2006 either never enrolled or are no longer members of the team. A 10th, John Ware, is on academic suspension. Two others, wide receiver Donald Bowens and safety Javon Walker, had promising 2007 seasons but will miss all of 2008 with injuries. Another, linebacker Nate Irving, is N.C. State’s best defensive player but is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
The group from 2006 was hardly Amato’s best class. It was ranked 43rd in the nation by Scout.com on signing day. But quarterback Justin Burke, wide receivers Bowens, Carlos Everett, Owen Spencer, Darrell Davis and Jarvis Williams, and tight ends Jonathan Hannah and Rashad Phillips seemed to have the ability to revive a passing game that had been grounded since record-setting quarterback Philip Rivers left after the 2003 season. Spencer and Williams are N.C. State’s starting wide receivers now. But there are just two other current starters — cornerback Morgan and place-kicker Josh Czajkowski — from that class.
Despite the lack of depth and breadth on the Wolfpack’s roster and the young players that are playing such key roles on the squad – like starting quarterback Russell Wilson – adds to the respect that we all need to have for the team that was able to defeat a top 20 team (ECU) while battling two other teams that have been ranked in the top 20 this season to (effectively) one possession games (Boston College and Florida State). This data-points mix together to create some of the conclusions and comments that we shared in this entry of interest.
As I take a very cursory look at the direction of the football program related to the immediate future (2009 season) I come to a quick conclusion that should help everyone rest easy — NC State will be deeper, more experienced and (hopefully) more talented at every single position on the football field next year than we are right now. Of course, this makes a customary assumption that injuries are ‘normal’ and not what we have encountered the last season and a half. The only position on the field where this premise could potentially be argued is the loss of Andre Brown at running back, which we hope is offset by the return of Toney Baker and the presence of Brandon Barnes (currently redshirting).