Giving Thanks to the Lettermen Seniors of 2011

J.R. SWEEZY, Defensive Tackle: Mooresville, N.C., Mooresville HS
Sport management. J.R. went all out and left nothing on the table. Originally recruited as a LB, he moved to DE before coming into his own as a playmaking DT. When big plays are made, #52 is in the mix.
GEORGE BRYAN, Tight End: Castle Hayne, N.C., New Hanover HS
Parks, recreation and tourism management. “I just don’t like Carolina, and I can’t explain it. It’s just one of those things. It’s like you are born not liking something to eat.”

All the receptions, TD’s, highlight reel plays, and mock NFL Draft lists might not add up to match that quote-an oration of the highest Wolfpack order.
AUDIE COLE, Linebacker: Monroe, Michigan, Monroe HS
Parks, recreation and tourism management. The former Golden Glove Boxing Champion from Michigan has become a true prize fighter for the Red & White.
T.J. GRAHAM, Wide Receiver: Raleigh, N.C., Wakefield HS
Parks, recreation and tourism management. Local track and field phenom who played on High School team that threw to him about once a month. No one has worked harder on the offseason to improve his game. All time in career return yardage- we’ll be seeing your plaque on the concourse soon.
TAYLOR GENTRY, Fullback: Raleigh, N.C., Leesville Road HS
Parks, recreation and tourism management. Made or assisted on nearly every tackle on kickoffs-all while being the wedge-buster. Made a catch for a first down as a Freshman in Chapel Hill during that butt whooping of the Baby Blues that was a real eye opener for things to come. Get well soon big fella’-many NFL teams want some of what you bring.
WAYNE CRAWFORD, Center: Philadelphia, Pa., Chestnut Hill Academy
Business administration. After graduating this reserve lineman became the President of the NC State chapter of Uplifting Athletes. Uplifting Athletes is a non-profit organization that works with college football players to raise money for rare disease research. The one time backup Center has logged some snaps at DT where he helped plug the middle until the starters became healthy again.
MARKUS KUHN, Defensive Tackle: Weinheim, Germany, Weinheim HS
Business administration. Has really come a long way learning an American sport that is a novelty in his fatherland of Germany. He is a stalwart character anchoring this defensive resurgence. He is also, quite possibly, the funniest character on the player interviews shown on the jumbo screen during time-outs (lederhosen dance!?).
DWAYNE MADDOX, Linebacker: Shelby, N.C., Crest HS
Communications. Has stayed on the ready since day one of being a part of the LB corps. The only player I can think of who has played all three LB positions and done it without hesitation and with all out effort. His role has been to go in wherever needed and that’s just what he’s done.
MIKEL OVERGAARD, Offensive Tackle: Weiser, Idaho, Weiser HS/Snow College
Human biology. Even though Mikel came in as a JUCO Transfer (after starting as a walk-on at Washington State) he has displayed what Wolfpack football is all about. A regular at RT, he has also filled in admirably at LT and LG. With a 3.65 GPA he has a bright future ahead.
JEFF RIESKAMP, Defensive End: Cincinnati, Ohio, Elder HS
Multidisciplinary studies. OK, confession- #99 has always been my favorite player and it has been harsh to see injuries cause so much disruption to a lion heart competitor. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jeff and his extended family that would travel to each game from their home in Cincy, and they were kind and cordial to say the least. I found out that Jeff was a YMCA National Swimmer in the most grueling of events, the Butterfly. It should come as no surprise since he would take on OL that had huge size advantages over him with the persistence of Michael Phelps in a sprint-head on. Good luck Jeff.
JAY SMITH, Wide Receiver: Norfolk, Va., Lake Taylor HS
Arts application. He patiently waited his turn as upperclassman WR did their thing and moved on. All the while Jay kept the dream alive that his time would come, and there was possibly nobody on the team happier that his fellow Virginia homeboy would be the starting QB. Going into his final home game he is 4th on the team with 30 receptions and tied for second in TD receptions with 3.
CURTIS UNDERWOOD, Halfback: Lackawanna, N.Y., Lackawanna HS
Parks, recreation and tourism. It didn’t seem likely that Curtis would be stepping out midfield and announced on Senior day, but that’s just what’s going to happen. Like his close buddy Russell Wilson, he was in the mist of making a decision of transferring for his Grad season and capping off his career elsewhere. When starting RB Mustafa Greene suffered a foot injury it was Coach Tom O’Brien who went to Curtis to see if he was interested in sticking it out. He redshirted last season and was named the Scout Team Player of the Year, and he was having a break out start this year until injuries hampered his season (still leads team with over 5 yards per rush). He is back in and performing of the most important roles he has played on Kickoff return where he is usually the one who opens the seam for TJ before a big run back.
DANIEL IMHOFF, Quarterback: Sanford, N.C., Lee County HS
Business administration. Supposedly every team has got one player like Daniel- not likely to play but has the heart and determination in the image of “Rudy” in Notre Dame folklore. But, that just does not do #14 and third string QB of the Wolfpack enough justice- to say the least. This is a player who day-in and day-out prepares for games and practices more like a player who suits up on Sunday’s on the big stage rather than as an amateur reserve colligiate. He is the consummate, take care of business, individual on this Wolfpack squad and is known by all his peers as being tireless in preparation. I have gotten the pleasure to have conversations with a father of one of our stand out players who says that his son looks up and admires Daniel in the highest regard. Just another local NC product that loves the NC State and wouldn’t trade his experience here for anything else (a common theme for this Senior class).
STEVEN HOWARD, Wide Receiver: Charlotte, N.C., Olympic HS
Arts application. Another of the guys I’ve always rooted for extra-he is the player that represented what I tried to be back in my (eh’hmm) glory days of High School Football. Not the biggest-or the fastest, but putting in the best route running and stock-blocking for display. More WR screens and successful rushes benefited from #85 and his blocking skills.
JUSTIN BYERS, Cornerback: Charlotte, N.C., Vance HS
Sports management. Started out as a RS Freshman being thrown into fire as an undersized strong safety and is now playing as a solid special teamer and backup corner back. Continued playing in the secondary even though he had a severely damaged shoulder (we weren’t very good at the point of attack back then and our Safeties were more like nose tackles). The injury and the subsequent surgery may have limited Byers from ever reaching his upmost athletic potential but is has not slowed him down from being the consummate team member
J. ELLIS FLINT, Placekicker: Amsterdam, N.Y., Amsterdam HS/Hofstra
Arts application. Some day he’ll get a chance to look back and say “I played ACC football as a kicker and made every one (2-2 PAT’s) 😉

As you can see I added some substance to some of the Senior Letterman who don’t get their names mentioned as much over the years. I also want to give a shout out to a few others I didn’t get a chance to recognize here: Zach Powell, Fuquay-Varina; Chaz McQueen, Cary; Ben Areno, Greensboro; Joe Prater, Garner; Travis Legget, Chadbourne; David Hyde, Cary; Calvin Forbes, Mastic Beach, NY.

Give a moment to share a thought of two about our Wolfpack brethren suiting up for the last time in Carter-Finley. Then let’s cheer them on to the fitting finish they deserve with a resounding W against Maryland. Go Pack!

Alums NC State Tradition

4 Responses to Giving Thanks to the Lettermen Seniors of 2011

  1. packpowerfan 11/25/2011 at 12:20 PM #

    Neat write up Vt! I played football at LCHS for a year before Dan started with Varsity. He’s a good kid, and when it comes to backups and third-stringers, he had what you ask for. Heart, determination, work-ethic and a competitive fire that motivates everyone else.

  2. packpowerfan 11/25/2011 at 12:26 PM #

    Also, when I transferred to West Brunswick I got to play against GB84. Hell of a guy, and not a fun player to tackle when you are the beanpole receiver/corner that I was.

  3. vtpackfan 11/25/2011 at 1:11 PM #

    Thanks for sharing those memories-just the kind of response I was hoping might surface.

  4. Ed89 11/26/2011 at 8:40 AM #

    Great write-up. Really a nice, quality, senior class. Best of luck to them all. Now, let’s go kick some Twerps!

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