Preseason Webrun


ncsu helmet

Brett Friedlander (
Scrimmage performance helps transfer Mitchell become Wolfpack QB frontrunner

Friday after practice, N.C.State football coach Dave Doeren said that the five-man battle for the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback job had been narrowed down to just two – senior transfer Brandon Mitchell and junior Pete Thomas.

Judging from Doeren’s comments following Saturday’s first preseason scrimmage, the competition may have narrowed even further.

No stats were available from the simulated game. But it’s clear from Doeren’s post-scrimmage comments, in which he didn’t mention Thomas, that Mitchell has emerged as the clear frontrunner to be under center when the Wolfpack opens the 2013 season on Aug. 31 against Louisiana Tech.

“I’m starting to see the confidence with Brandon Mitchell and the offense, that showed today,” Doeren said. “He showed a lot of emotion behind the offense and was encouraging people and demanding guys to play harder.

“You can’t do that if you don’t know what you’re doing so it was nice to see him take another step forward today.”

Brett Friedlander (
Wolfpack QB competition wasn’t much of a battle

New N.C. State football coach Dave Doeren still hasn’t officially named a starting quarterback for his team’s season opener against Louisiana Tech on Aug. 31, so technically the competition for the job is still ongoing.

According to Doeren, what was once a five-man free-for-all to become Mike Glennon’s replacement has been narrowed down to just two – senior transfer Brandon Mitchell and junior Pete Thomas.

The reality, however, is that the battle has already been decided. And in many ways, it was over before it ever really began.

Doeren made that abundantly clear after spring practice when, unconvinced that either Thomas or fellow holdover Manny Stocker was ready to run his up-tempo spread offense, he went out and recruited a fifth-year free agent who he felt was.

Mitchell was an appealing choice because of his experience, his dual-threat ability and the fact that, having already received his undergraduate degree from Arkansas, he was able to play right away without having to sit out a season under NCAA transfer rules.

Though it’s uncertain what, if anything, Mitchell was promised before deciding to attend State, it’s a fair assumption that he didn’t come here to be a backup for his final year of college eligibility. He could just as easily have done that by staying with the Razorbacks.

As long as the athletic 6-foot-3, 239-pound Louisiana native was able to learn the playbook quickly and gain the trust of his new teammates, the foregone conclusion was that the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback job was his for the taking.

Jacey Zembal (
Quarterback race continues to take center stage

NCSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada has a proven track record in building his offense around the talents of his players. The offense won’t change per se, but the play calling and personnel groups could. Thomas feels more at ease with the playbook now than he did last spring.

“I am definitely a lot more comfortable with it and we worked real hard over the spring and last nine practices,” Thomas said. “We have to keep up with the stuff that we have installed, so we can keep installing.”

The up-tempo pace helps put defenses on their heels and could also make them fatigued. Having a quick mind and sound decision making is part of the process for the quarterback in executing it at the line of scrimmage.

“The defense gets tired, and once you get that first first down, you go fast and go fast,” Thomas said. “The defense can’t get into a lot of their exotic blitzes and coverages.”

The up-tempo scheme should also be able to take advantage of the team speed the Wolfpack have on offense.

“I think we’ll probably be one of the fastest teams in the ACC,” Mitchell said. “You saw that over the summer with guys running routes and things like that. Even sprints with [strength and conditioning] Coach [Jason] Veltkamp over the summer, when we were doing 55s. Out here it was evident. We had a lot of outside plays and beating the defense around the corner. It showed the speed we have.”

Mitchell pointed out that the offensive line, which has three players with past starting experience, has the hardest adjustment to the no-huddle offense. The quarterback position also needs to help the offensive line with organization.

“Trying to get the calls in, they can’t look to the sideline, and they have to keep following the ball around,” Mitchell said. “Basically, they are chase with the referees. The hardest thing is to keep them motivated and keep commanding them.”

Joe Giglio (N&O)
Freshmen QBs add new dimension to NC State offense

While the odds are against Shirreffs or Taylor, a walk-on from New Bern, winning the job, there is a reason Doeren includes the two in the conversation.

“Both the freshmen run well,” Doeren said. “They’re both athletic.”

Doeren prefers quarterbacks who have the ability to run. At Northern Illinois last season, Jordan Lynch ran for 1,815 yards and 19 touchdowns. In 2011, quarterback Chandler Harnish ran for 1,379 yards and 11 touchdowns. Both years, the quarterbacks led the team in rushing.

Doeren described Lynch as a “tailback that could throw.” Lynch also threw for 3,138 yards and 25 touchdowns and led the Huskies to a 12-2 record and the Orange Bowl.

Both Shirreffs and Taylor can find inspiration in Lynch and the success he had under Doeren. Shirreffs, who is 6-3 and 218 pounds, ran for 1,372 yards last season and led Jefferson (Ga.) High to a state championship.

Like Lynch, Shirreffs was rated by as a two-star prospect. NIU was the only major Division I program that wanted Lynch to play quarterback.

Shirreffs was set to go to Yale before N.C. State offered after Doeren was hired in December.

Doeren said physically there are similarities between Shirreffs and Lynch, who is 6-foot and 216 pounds.

“Shirreffs is built more like Jordan, he’s a really strong kid,” Doeren said.

Shirreffs and Lynch had an embarrassment of college options compared to Taylor. Despite leading New Bern to a 15-0 record and running for 3,309 yards in his prep career and passing for almost 8,000, Rivals didn’t even rate Taylor.

At 5-11 and 185 pounds, Taylor had a “bunch of Division II” offers but no options other Division I options other than to walk on at N.C. State.

Luke DeCock (N&O)
Two-horse race at QB for NC State

Dave Doeren has more of a comfort level with his quarterback situation after one practice in pads than he did a week ago, if only because the first-year N.C. State coach had almost no comfort level with contender Brandon Mitchell coming into his first training camp with the team.

“I didn’t even know if Brandon could throw a week ago,” Doeren said. “I hadn’t seen him play yet.”

Speaking after Wednesday’s practice, Doeren made it abundantly clear that what was once a five-player mish-mash of contenders is now a two-horse race between Pete Thomas, the former Colorado State starter who transferred to play in Tom O’Brien’s offense, and Mitchell, the Arkansas transfer who played wide receiver for the Razorbacks last season.

There may not be enough practices left to make a decision between the two, so the choice may simply come down to which unique asset Doeren values more: Thomas’ experience or Mitchell’s athleticism.

Otherwise, there’s nothing now to separate the two of them.

“Today, both Pete and Brandon played better,” Doeren said after Wednesday’s practice. “Yesterday, Pete played maybe better than Brandon. Today, they both made a lot of plays. … It seemed like we settled down a little bit over there with the quarterbacks. Both of them had some nice plays.”

Meanwhile, another transfer is lurking in the background — Jacoby Brissett, who is sitting out this season after coming in from Florida.

Joe Giglio (N&O)
Mitchell, Dayes stand out in first scrimmage

Dayes, a freshman from Weston, Fla., broke off a long touchdown run during the scrimmage, according to Doeren. With last year’s leading rusher Shadrach Thornton suspended for the opener, Dayes could see his playing time increase.

“Matt has a chance to play early and he showed today that he can protect the football and break some tackles,” Doeren said.

At 5-9 and 190 pounds, Dayes looks physically prepared to play as a true freshman. Doeren said his quickness and vision are assets.

“I think his biggest attribute is how fast he accelerates,” Doeren said. “Maybe his high-end speed wouldn’t be great but the first 20 yards is excellent.”

Joe Giglio (N&O)
UNC, NC State, Duke football camp notebook

Don’t be surprised if N.C. State goes young this season. Redshirting, especially at receiver, running back and defensive back positions, is not a priority for coach Dave Doeren’s first class.

“You’re going to see some freshmen play on both sides of the ball in the skill positions,” Doeren said.

Of the 20 scholarship freshmen in camp, there are five receivers, five defensive backs and three running backs.

Freshman running back Matt Dayes, who was considered the prize recruit of the class, has already stood out in practice and in Saturday’s scrimmage at Carter-Finley Stadium.

With last year’s leading rusher, Shadrach Thornton, suspended for the opener, Dayes’ role could be expanded.

“Matt has a chance to play early and he showed (Saturday) that he can protect the football and break some tackles,” Doeren said.

At 5-9 and 190 pounds, Dayes already physically looks like a college running back. He was an all-state running back in Weston, Fla., last season after he ran for 1,864 yards and 31 touchdowns.

Dayes, who chose State over Vanderbilt, has impressed Doeren with his vision and quickness.

“I think his biggest attribute is how fast he accelerates,” Doeren said. “Maybe his high-end speed wouldn’t be great but the first 20 yards is excellent.”

Ryan Tice (
Matt Dayes is preparing to play

NC State head coach Dave Doeren has said all along that he expects at least one, and maybe even two, of the true freshmen running backs to play this fall. The Wolfpack will definitely need a rookie rusher to step up with 2012 leading rusher Shadrach Thornton suspended for the first game and just one scholarship runner returning from last year in Tony Creecy.

Matt Dayes, a freshman from Weston, Fla. who was ranked as the nation’s No. 27 running back, is preparing as if he’ll be the guy that will step up in Thornton’s absence, but he knows he hasn’t earned any carries yet.

“I’m trying to play as a true freshman,” he said. “I’m working really hard and trying to get after it at practice.

“It’s just like if anyone gets hurt – somebody has to step up. Whichever one of the freshmen that works the hardest is probably going to be the one that plays.”

“Whether [Thornton] was in or out [for the first game], we’re going to play three or four backs based on what we do,” Doeren said after the team’s first scrimmage on Saturday, where he noted Dayes had a long touchdown run. “Matt has got a chance to play early and he showed today that he can protect the football and break some tackles, that’s good.

“I wouldn’t consider him a speed guy, but he’s not slow by any means, either. He’s got really good vision, he puts his foot in the ground and I think his biggest attribute is how fast he accelerates. …The first 20 yards are pretty excellent for him.”

The 5-foot-9, 213-pounder earned all-state laurels as a senior and he was also named the Broward County Player of the Year after he rushed for 1,864 yards and 31 touchdowns. He tallied at least 150 yards on the ground in every contest and helped lead his team to the Florida 8A championship game, where he rushed for five scores but could not lead his team to victory.

Brett Friedlander (
N.C. State suspends RB Thornton for season opener

New N.C. State football coach Dave Doeren said after practice Wednesday that running back Shadrach Thornton has been suspended for the Wolfpack’s season opener against Louisiana Tech on Aug. 31.

The punishment stems from a domestic dispute that led to Thornton being arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault on a female. He has a court date scheduled for Aug. 22.

Although Doeren didn’t announce the suspension until Wednesday, he said it was handed down as soon as he learned about the incident that took place at State’s D.H. Hill Library on June 6.

“The week of the event we talked a lot,” Doeren said. “He won’t play in the first game. That was decided a long time ago, regardless of the outcome of the court date.”

According to a police report, Thornton grabbed the woman identified as his girlfriend by the arm and pushed her against a wall during an argument at State’s D.H. Hill Library. A university employee witnessed the incident and alerted campus police, leading to Thornton’s arrest.

In a statement issued after news of the incident became public Sunday, Doeren said that he had already disciplined Thornton and that the 6-foot-1, 203-pound sophomore had taken steps to earn his way back into team activities.

Jacey Zembal (
Fullback Logan Winkles out for year

NC State suffered its first serious injury of the young season, after redshirt junior fullback Logan Winkles suffered another ACL tear Thursday.

The 6-foot-1, 260-pound Winkles was part of a one-two punch at fullback with redshirt junior Tyler Purvis, but now the Wolfpack will be looking for depth.

“We won’t have him for the season unfortunately,” NC State first-year coach Dave Doeren said. “Logan has had a lot of injuries, so it’s unfortunate. It’s part of the game and guys understand that. The next man in philosophy will take place there.”

Winkles suffered an ACL tear on the opposite knee during his redshirt season in 2010, leading up to playing West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando. He missed the first few games of 2011 while rehabbing his knee, but ended up playing 24 snaps at fullback in nine contests, but mostly playing on special teams.

Winkles was praised for his physical nature in the blocking game last year, and caught 10 passes for 90 yards and two scores out of the backfield, including a 25-yard score in the win over Maryland.

“He had a right ACL in high school and then hurt it again here [in 2010], and now it is his left,” Doeren said. “It was clean and the docs feel good about his recovery. He just has to go through the normal procedure.”

Doeren said Winkles was unlucky by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“He was in a drill and got leg whipped, and it wasn’t a planting thing,” Doeren said. “Another guy was at the end of the drill and got thrown from the backside, and he didn’t see it coming.”


Rock starting to crumble: NC State has put a big slab of rock near the opening area of the practice fields to help bring team togetherness out into the open in a visible manner. The players get to take a swing at the slabs of rock with a sledge hammer, and after a period of days, the goal of having it crumble to pieces will be achieved.

“It symbolizes all the work that they’ve been putting in to get to a certain point,” Doeren said.

Brett Friedlander (
Winkles’ injury brings out the best in N.C. State teammate Cheek

Injuries are an unfortunate reality in football and N.C. State’s loss of fullback Logan Winkles on Thursday will be a difficult one for the Wolfpack to overcome.

But as bad as the season-ending blow might have been for both the player and his team, it was at least softened somewhat by an unsolicited act of selflessness by Winkles’ “brother in arms,” linebacker Ryan Cheek.

“Ryan Cheek came over right after the injury and, (in a) pretty neat deal, asked if he could in honor of his brother move over from linebacker to fullback and take his spot,” coach Dave Doeren said after practice Friday. “I think that said a lot about a senior on our football team wanting to do something for the rest of the guys.”

Jacey Zembal (
NC State searching for playmakers

Doeren also saw areas that needed to improve before his team is ready to play Louisiana Tech. Mental mistakes were a bug-a-boo for the Wolfpack last year, and becoming mentally tougher is one of the prime objectives this fall, especially when the road games start to occur.

“I thought there were some drives that were started that got killed due to penalties,” Doeren said. “That is a good learning for our guys to see on tape.

“We can’t give up big plays and there was a couple of deep passes. One of them got called back because of a couple of offsides deal.

“The pre-snap stuff, I was disappointed with that. I saw a few drops that hurt us, but also saw some good catches. We are getting better in that aspect.”

Doeren said the center-quarterback exchange will need to improve and was inconsistent during the scrimmage. The right guard position is also still up for grabs, which is the final key to settling the offensive line into a cohesive unit. Doeren was encouraged by how well the lineman has adjusted to the no-huddle offense, and several have dropped a lot of weight.

Senior left tackle Rob Crisp and fifth-year senior left guard Duran Christophe should anchor the line, and redshirt junior right tackle Tyson Chandler is also a returning starter.

“I think we are close and by after next Saturday we’ll have a pretty good feel for most positions,” Doeren said. “[Alex Barr] has been inconsistent. He tries really hard and has gotten a lot better since the spring.

“There is still a decent battle going on between Barr and Ali Kassem. [Ali] just has to play longer. He is playing hard when he is in there, but he just has to sustain it.”

Doeren said senior linebackers Zach Gentry and Robert Caldwell have had good starts to camp at middle linebacker, and sophomore M.J. Salahuddin is playing both middle linebacker and weakside linebacker. The Wolfpack could be fast and athletic at linebacker when the dust settles.

“D.J. [Green] had his best day yesterday, and he’s trying to get back into football shape,” Doeren said. “That was good to see for him.”

Showing continued progress from the spring helps show that what the new staff is teaching is being learned. The goal is to get better each and every week, which sounds simplistic, but is a must for the Wolfpack to reach their goals of playing in a good bowl game and being in contention for the Atlantic Division championship.

“The spring game was so vanilla, but I think we are way ahead tackling-wise for the defense,” Doeren said. “Last year, the first scrimmage, it was pathetic watching that. That part was good, and we had a good day yesterday.”

Ryan Tice (
Travares Copeland adjusting to first playbook

Sophomore wide receiver Travares Copeland grew up as a quarterback. However he knew that when he got to West Virginia as a true freshman, he would be moving to wide receiver and, after originally planning to redshirt, he appeared in four games with two starts and made 10 catches for 55 yards.

A family illness forced Copeland to return to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in the middle of the season and then he decided to transfer to NC State this spring. One year after playing wide out for the first time in Morgantown, the 5-foot-11, 187-pounder is adjusting to new surroundings, a new offense, new teammates and new coaches once again. He is also tasked with learning a playbook for the first time in his football career.

“They didn’t have a playbook at West Virginia, it was similar to my high school, where we just went off signals,” he explained. “Here, there’s a playbook so that’s a difference, but the similarity is that Coach [Dave] Doeren likes fast-paced and Coach [Frisman] Jackson likes fast-paced; I’m used to that.”

Copeland went as far as to say that the only major difference between the offense he played in at WVU and the one he is learning in Raleigh from a pass catcher’s perspective is the wide receivers’ splits; they line up wider with the Wolfpack.

Some of the older wide outs who went through spring practice also took the time to help explain the offense and some of its routes and concepts to Copeland after he arrived on campus, and he can see the benefit from that work now.

“I adjusted pretty good,” he said. “The guys are really good to me, so we bonded really quick. They’re great guys and I feel comfortable around them.

“There were a great help. They weren’t acting like they were all that. When I came in, they accepted me with open arms. They just told me what I needed to do, I did it and when we started studying the playbook, they have been a big help for me. The playbook is still tough, though.”

There’s only one way for Copeland to ensure that learns the playbook as well as he needs to in order to make a great impact with the Red and White, and even if that means sacrificing one of his favorite hobbies in order to study more, he’ll do it during the season.

Jacey Zembal (
Will Baumann returns to punting basics

NC State junior punter Wil Baumann knew he needed to go back to the basics to make an improvement in his production.

Baumann averaged 38.9 yards on 74 punts his sophomore year, which was an increase of 1.4 yards per attempt.

Baumann did have his best individual performance in the 17-16 upset win over Florida State. He punted seven times for an average of 43.0, and had three fair caught. Baumann averaged over 40.8 yards per punt in six out of the 13 games.

The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Baumann earned raves his freshman year for pinning 21 punts inside the 20-yard line on 65 attempts. He punted nine more times his sophomore season, but fell to 16 inside the 20.

“I really don’t think about that because it’s more about where you are hitting the ball from,” said Baumann on his ability to stick the football inside the 20. “The big thing is not to get many touchbacks. That doesn’t help with field position.”

Baumann and junior kicker Niklas Sade went about their business during spring practices. Baumann’s long right leg got a workout in the Kay Yow Spring Game April 20 at Carter-Finley Stadium. He punted 11 times for an average of 41.6 yards, and landed three inside the 20-yard line.

“I’ve been working on my hang time and get my distance off, and change my form a lot this spring,” Baumann said. “I’m just trying to stay confident and hit a better ball.”

Joe Giglio (N&O)
Wolfpack’s Doeren mum on Tar Heels talk; Duke’s Cutcliffe mixes things up

Dave Doeren hasn’t said much about North Carolina since he was hired as N.C. State’s football coach. That’s by design.

There is no countdown to the game or “triple play” zingers from Doeren.

“I don’t talk about it,” he said of the Tar Heels, who will visit Raleigh on Nov. 2.

Doeren said there’s a reason for ignoring UNC and it’s not an issue of “legitimizing” them, as Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora said of the rivalry last year before his first game, an epic 43-35 win at Kenan Stadium.

“The week of the game, they’re our mortal enemy,” Doeren said. “Right now, we need to get better and we need to worry about us and we need to beat Louisiana Tech. That’s where our focus will be.”

That doesn’t mean Doeren isn’t aware of the rivalry.

“Your job should be to always try to be better than them because they are our rival, but we don’t need to talk about that game,” he said.

He said his stance on rivalry games goes back to advice he got from former Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak on how to approach the rivalry with Toledo.

“Don’t make it as big of a deal as it is because the kids already hate them,” Novak told Doeren.

The day-by-day approach worked for Doeren at Northern Illinois; he went 2-0 against the Rockets.

Joe Giglio (N&O)
NC State football planning indoor practice facility

N.C. State is planning the stages of building an indoor practice facility near Carter-Finley Stadium, Wolfpack athletics director Debbie Yow said Tuesday.

Yow is hopeful the $14million facility will be ready for spring practice in 2015. Virginia and Florida State opened new indoor practice facilities this year. Closer to home, N.C. State is the only ACC team in the Triangle without a place to move inside when it rains or gets excessively hot.

“We do need one,” Yow said. “Duke has an indoor facility and (North) Carolina has one.”

Ryan Tice (
Q&A: Dave Doeren talks lines, Jarvis Byrd, Zach Gentry

Did anything stand out from this past scrimmage when you went back and viewed the tape?

I thought the defensive backs tackled really well in space, that was impressive. I thought our running backs ran hard and took care of the football, there were no fumbles by our backs in the scrimmage. We didn’t have as many drops as we did in practice today, that’s for sure.

I was disappointed in how many pre-snap penalties there were, that was probably the biggest disappointment.

Both of the quarterbacks did some good and bad things. Brandon [Mitchell] made some nice big play-type throws down the field that were caught, but there was not really anything I did not see when I was out there.

Are those pre-snap penalties coming from skill guys, linemen or a combination?

It’s a combination. You’ve got a lot of quarterbacks in and out with difference cadences that is causing some of it. It’s not just the other 10 guys, sometimes it’s on the QB. That’s the thing about offense, it takes just one guy to screw up the whole thing. You’ve just got to make sure that they’re locked in every snap.

Are some of those things also due to the change in the scheme?

Yeah, I mean it was the first scrimmage, you expect a few things and there are a lot of freshmen playing, too. Once you start to have a common lineup, you start to see fewer and fewer of those things because there is a better chemistry, but right now, there is a lot of changes in the lineup throughout the day. That’s part of the problem right now.

Despite that, are you able to see any more consistency with the offensive line?

Unit today, because we had some guys out with injuries, I thought we’ve gotten better at running the football. You’re starting to see guys really understand how to zone block together or power double team together, use each other and we’re getting better there.

How about on the other side with the depth you guys have on the defensive line?

We don’t have a lot right now, there’s too many of them watching practice, but when they’re all healthy, we’ll have some good depth. We just have a lot of guys with training camp bumps and bruises that weren’t out there today.

What did the coaching staff see from Jarvis Byrd that made you think he could be a good fit at safety?

Well we were just trying to get our best 11 on the field and we felt like, at corner between him, Dontae [Johnson] and [Juston] Burris, those were three of our better defensive backs. Byrd, having the ACL injuries he’s had and not that he can’t run, he’s a better fit [at safety], he’s a fast safety. At corner, he struggles a little bit top-end wise at times, so it’s a way to make him a more effective hand.

Ryan Tice (
Building the #Pack14, Part I

An in-depth look at how NC State has pushed up the recruiting rankings, where they currently stand No. 23 in the nation

When Dave Doeren took the NC State job, he made no secret that he was disappointed so many talented North Carolinians were heading out of state to star on the gridiron. Georgia nearly reached the National Championship game last year when their ground attack was powered by two true freshmen Tar Heel State natives in Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, and that’s just the latest example.

“Seeing all the great players from North Carolina starting as freshmen at other schools is upsetting,” Doeren noted in his introductory press conference on Dec. 2. “It is, and I am going to fight for those guys, and we’re going to do it the right way.

“We’re going to get them here, get them to our games, and we’re going to make it very difficult [for them to leave the state]. That’s what you do.”

It was not the first time that a new coach has taken a job in North Carolina and proclaimed that he would keep the state’s top football prospects from escaping the borders. Doeren had quite an uphill battle – the program had signed just three top ten players from the state from 2010-2012 and 13 total since the class of 2003, which is as far back as the database goes.

During that same 11-year time period, North Carolina led the way by inking 28 top 10 North Carolina natives, while Clemson tied NCSU for second with 13. South Carolina nabbed 12 while Florida, Georgia and Notre Dame, each totaled six.

NC State has landed just one top 10 player in the state so far this summer (No. 8 Germaine Pratt), but they are major players for all four of the state’s uncommitted prospects remaining at the top of the list – five-star defensive end Kentavius Street (No. 2), four-star defensive end Lorenzo Featherson (No. 4), four-star running back Derrell Scott (No. 5) and four-star wide out Trevion Thompson (No. 9).

“Coaching is one thing, but you still have to play with the best players,” Doeren admitted at ACC Kickoff. “That’s what we’ve got to work on doing right now.”

That is not to say it has not been an impressive group of pledges collected so far by the coach who will make his official debut in Raleigh on Aug. 31. ranked the top 35 players in North Carolina earlier this year and eight are currently committed to the Pack. North Carolina (five), Duke (two) and Georgia (two) are the only other schools with multiple commits on the list, and 10 of the team’s current commits were ranked between numbers 14-30 in the state by The Wolfpacker.

That is called wasting no time to make a statement, with an emphasis on the first five letters of the word. The Pack have not landed more than four of the state’s top 30 players since 2008, when they inked eight, and seven currently make the cut (tight end pledge Garrett Bradbury is listed at No. 33).

“I think if you asked the high school coaches right now and follow our recruiting, we’ve made a lot of strides, particularly in our own state,” Doeren said at ACC Kickoff. “They feel the excitement about what’s going on within our program and with what we’re doing, what we’re talking about and the vision we have for what NC State is going to be.”

The success is not limited to the state’s borders, either. Four-star defensive end Justin Jones is one of several talented Georgia prospects already in the fold. NC State has not signed multiple four- or five-star talents in the same class since 2010 (one five-star and four four-stars), and a pipeline has taken off in Florida if you include transfers Jacoby Brissett (a former four-star ranked as the No. 75 overall player in the class of 2011) and Travares Copeland, (a former high three-star ranked as the No. 28 athlete in the class of 2012), a pair of Sunshine state natives.

NC State has already beaten Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Auburn, Nebraska and Notre Dame for commitments this season – some multiple times.

How did they do it? With the class currently standing 22 strong and ranked 20th in the land by, The Wolfpacker takes a look back at how it happened.

Ryan Tice (
The #Pack14 by the numbers

2 4-star commits in the NC State class of 2014. Both are ranked among the nation’s top 250 players by

5 times NC State earned a commitment from a prospect with a UNC offer.

7 pledges are ranked among the best prospects at their respective positions by Defensive end Justin Jones is the highest ranked as the nation’s No. 12 strongside defensive end.

13 3-star prospects have pulled the trigger for NCSU. That is tied for the third-most in the land.

14 of NC State’s 22 commits are in-state recruits.

15 players are ranked among the top players in their home states by Germaine Pratt is the highest ranked as the No. 8 player in North Carolina.

189 Pratt is ranked as the No. 189 player nationally in the class of 2014, which is the highest of any NCSU pledge.

2008 was the last time that NC State inked more than 4 of the state’s top 30 players with 8. They currently have seven, which included their first top 10 North Carolinian since 2010.

2011 was the last recruiting class where NCSU inked at least one four-star recruit (Rodman Noel). They have not had multiple four- or five-star pledges since 2010.


Opening Statement – Episode 3

Each installment of this series will cover the development of different players as they fight for a spot on the depth chart leading up to the Pack’s season opener against Louisiana Tech. In today’s episode, our cameras followed defensive end Mike Rose during a recent Pack practice.
Opening Statement – Episode 2

Each installment of this series will cover the development of different players as they fight for a spot on the depth chart leading up to the Pack’s season opener against Louisiana Tech. In today’s episode, our cameras followed CB Niles Clark during the Pack’s first two practices in full pads.
Opening Statement – Episode 1

Each installment of this series will cover the development of different players as they fight for a spot on the depth chart leading up to the Pack’s season opener against Louisiana Tech. In today’s episode, our cameras followed wide receiver Charlie Hegedus during the Pack’s first couple of practices.
Position Preview: Running Backs

Throughout preseason camp, will feature each of the Pack’s position groups with a behind-the-scenes look from practice. In this episode, we follow the running backs during a recent practice.
Position Preview: Linebackers

Throughout preseason camp, will feature each of the Pack’s position groups with a behind-the-scenes look from practice. In this episode, we follow the linebackers during the first day in full pads.
Doeren: It’s a good starting point

North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren says he saw several things he was pleased with during Saturday morning’s scrimmage.
Mitchell: Whoever doesn’t win the job needs to be ready

North Carolina State quarterback Brandon Mitchell says that if either he or Pete Thomas fails to win the starting QB gig, both need to be prepared.
Thomas: We’re nowhere near where we need to be

North Carolina State quarterback Pete Thomas says there’s a lot of work that needs to be done before the season opener against Louisiana Tech.

ncsu bball logo
NC State To Play Cincinnati In ESPN’s Hoops Marathon

ESPN has announced the North Carolina State men’s basketball team will play at Cincinnati Tuesday, Nov. 12 as part of the network’s 24-Hour College Hoops Marathon. The Wolfpack and the Bearcats will tip off at 5 p.m. ET at UC’s Fifth Third Arena. The game will be televised on ESPN.

NC State is 6-1 all-time against Cincinnati in a series that dates back to 1947. The last meeting between the two schools came on Dec. 23, 2007, an 85-77 Wolfpack victory at PNC Arena.

Brett Strelow (
Johnny Football, impermissible cars, big man weight gain/loss among topics touched on at Wolfpack Club Coaches Caravan

Whittenburg, who joined the basketball staff as a director of player development in late July, was greeted warmly by the crowd. Yow shared a text message she received Tuesday from former Wolfpack head coach and Whittenburg teammate Sidney Lowe, who praised Gottfried and Yow for making a “great hire.”

N.C. State is moving forward without five of the seven rotation players from an NCAA tournament team, and improving the conditioning of fifth-year senior Jordan Vandenberg and freshman BeeJay Anya has been a priority.

Vandenberg finished last season at 286 pounds, and Gottfried said half-jokingly in early July that the 7-foot-1 center “won’t have a locker” if he’s not at 250 when preseason practice begins in October. The second session of summer school ended recently, and Vandenberg weighed 247 pounds when he left.

Anya is listed at 6-9 and 275 pounds, but he weighed 337 when he reported to campus about six weeks ago.

“He wants to obviously lose a lot of weight,” Gottfried said. “It’s a big concern for me because I think we were counting on him to play a lot, and he’s got a long ways to go, just to be real honest. It’s something I think he can do. The question is, how quickly can you lose 50 or 60 pounds? We’ll see what happens.”

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

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19 Responses to Preseason Webrun

  1. primacyone 08/15/2013 at 8:13 AM #

    Thanks 1.21.

    So many unknowns. Truly a year without expectation in both Football and Basketball.

    I find myself trying to compare this years football team to TOB’s first team. Not from a coaching perspective but from a player perspective.

    TOB’s first team had I believe 4 freshman in the defensive backfield. That killed us that year. We’ve got what appears to be 3 experienced defensive backfield players that could be on the field at the same time this year. That’s got to be a big positive for us.

    I feel more comfortable with the OL with this team versus TOB’s first team. They certainly have more experience than TOB’s first OL. That’s a big positive.

    I’m concerned the no huddle offense could significantly diminish both of the above positives if the offense is not run effectively. It could wear out both the OL and the Defense.

  2. VaWolf82 08/15/2013 at 9:57 AM #

    That’s a bunch of stuff. It’s not often I have to take a 1/2 day of vacation just to read SFN. 🙂

  3. 1.21 Jigawatts 08/15/2013 at 10:18 AM #

    This is what happens when you take the summer off from doing webruns, we all need a preseason to get back into our respective playing shape.

  4. Prowling Woofie 08/15/2013 at 10:57 AM #

    Really disappointing that Anya would show up weighing 337 lbs. Not a good omen for his dedication and work ethic. Hope this won’t end up being a wasted scholarship…

    At 6’9″, I would think he’d need to slim down to 260-265 to be effective in an up-tempo offense.

  5. BJD95 08/15/2013 at 11:09 AM #

    If you are surprised about Mitchell being the starting QB…then you have been living under a rock. Or just not paying attention.

    Doeren was hardly a week into spring practice before he started publically pining for the “Jacoby Brissette era.” Mitchell is essentially a poor man’s Brissette, and will lay the foundation for how we will play in 2014 with the new QB.

    I am soooooo ready for football to start. Having nothing but baseball on TV is driving me crazy(ier).

  6. Pack85EE 08/15/2013 at 12:05 PM #

    It sure seems as if the questionable positions are coming together. I hate it because I’m becoming too optimistic and setting myself up for heartbreak. Still, I believe were going to be better than expected (by the prognosticators). The first game will be telling. 14 DAYS!

  7. Greywolf 08/15/2013 at 1:33 PM #

    This season is looking more and more like an ”everything to gain/nothing to lose” year.
    Should things fall into place we could be a real surprise in our division and conference. Brandon Mitchell may beat out Pete Thomas but Pete should be able to provide some quality relief for Brandon.

    While we don’t have experienced depth in our secondary, we do have some quality freshmen who are already making themselves known.

    Our LB’s look to be agile and mobile. If they turn out to be hostile as well, we will be in very good shape there.

  8. BJD95 08/15/2013 at 2:48 PM #

    Pete is a perfectly capable backup QB. Starting duties behind this OL would probably result in his untimely death.

    Adequate would be a HUGE leap forward for our LB play.

  9. TheCOWDOG 08/15/2013 at 6:46 PM #

    I would have killed for this kind of 2-a-day weather.

    …gotta extra jump in the gitty up.

    One thing I always keep close are the words Lou said in our very first meeting.

    ” Don’t believe a word I say to the media.”

  10. BJD95 08/15/2013 at 7:34 PM #

    This summer has been incredible. For August, this is mind boggling. I don’t know exactly when or how Ma Nature will make us pay for it…but I’m sure it will be brutal!

  11. BJD95 08/15/2013 at 9:12 PM #

    Speaking of pre-season…the Iggles are drinking the Panthers’ collective milkshake. The score doesn’t reflect how badly the Panthers have been outclassed.

  12. packalum44 08/15/2013 at 9:41 PM #

    Very very pleased we are building an indoor practice facility. 14 million is not bad and comparable to Fl State, which just spent around 15 million. They are the gold standard in our conference in football. They easily have the best stadium.

  13. TheCOWDOG 08/15/2013 at 10:06 PM #

    Damned straight Beej. Not once …knock on wood…have I had much insect consternation with the veggie garden in a very productive year. Haven’t had to weed much, mow the lawn much since early July, either. And it’s not like I’m watering every other day.

    Damned good omen for Doeren and State.

    So what if the poles may just have shifted…a bit

  14. packalum44 08/15/2013 at 11:00 PM #

    So I just saw CJ Wilson make a nice tackle for the Bears. Is this not his 1st year in the league?

    Do you mean to tell me our entire starting 2ndary is in the NFL now? 2 of which (Wolfe/Amerson might see significant action and perhaps start).

    Steam is coming out of my ears I think my head might explode. Our secondary was putrid last year. They single-handedly lost us (well Amerson) the Miami game and others that I do not specifically remember b/c I require a gallon of moonshine every Saturday in the fall to cope with feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, embarrassment and so forth. They say that in lieu of water boarding the Guantanamo prisoners are forced to watch NC State football from the O’Brien years.

    The Tennessee game was a national embarrassment for the 13 people outside of NC that watched it. The UT coach said before the game that we had an NFL 2ndary, which I too thought at the time, until I watched the game and ensuing season. For that game the prisoners were forced to read the pre-season accolades and hype, especially heaped upon Amerson and company.

    I cast the overwhelmingly amount of blame on the coaches (and Amerson though the staff kept playing him) for squandering such a talented bunch. Good riddance Ed Reed and especially O’Brien. Believe me or your lying eyes, but O’Brien was the biggest disappointment in NC State history. I would say he’s overrated but when NC State was your best stop, well I retract such a ridiculous assertion. He’s like Herb but without the media gushing over him.

  15. packplantpath 08/16/2013 at 8:14 AM #

    ” Not once …knock on wood…have I had much insect consternation with the veggie garden in a very productive year.’

    You know what, screw you CD!!!!

    You want some consternation? Go plant some squash in my yard….. Gebus, I averaged 2 squash per plant before the squash beetles would ravage through. I had about 3 different varieties and all were wiped out. Darn seven dust wont’ touch those buggers for me. And the good stuff I’m a little nervous spraying with my kid around (and it ain’t legal anyway). I just had a late crop come up, hit 3 leaves and all get wiped out in the last 10 days!

    My dang tomatoes either drowned during the august monsoon or got tomato spotted wilt so bad they only produced a few each.

    I tell you, my garden is getting like football. All I have is hope at the beginning of the season but no expectations!

  16. BJD95 08/16/2013 at 9:29 AM #

    I wish I lived in NM and had one of those no maintenance rock gardens. I hated weeding and hedge trimming even when I had a young man’s back, and a functioning right meniscus.

  17. Pack78 08/16/2013 at 9:34 AM #

    Quote from DE Art Norman in today’s N&O:

    “Last season was fun, but obviously a lot has changed,” Norman said. “I’ve been here four years and we’re learning things that we never knew before. We’ve had a lot of guys step up and I think that’s going to make us better.”

    Read more here:

  18. packalum44 08/17/2013 at 6:09 PM #

    Surprisingly optimistic assessment from Doeren the way I read it.

    Anyone else glad we haven’t lost 10 guys to injury or kicked off the team for arbitrary reasons?

  19. Greywolf 08/18/2013 at 11:53 AM #

    I don’t find it surprising at all that Doeren has an optimistic assessment of the team. If he doesn’t believe in the team, it will be hard for the team to believe in themselves.

    He states concerns which are realistic and appropriate. Confidence is essential to success in almost any endeavor but we don’t need a coach with his head up his ass, blind to the areas needed to be strengthened.

    Being optimistic and having expectations are not the same. Low expectations to compensate for the lack of ability to accept failure for what it is not an attribute we want in a head coach.

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