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NC State Hits the Road to Take on Wake

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Before NC State finished up a four-game home stand against Central Michigan last Saturday, Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren was already preparing his team for its first road game of the season this weekend at Wake Forest.

“Last week, we actually went to a different hotel than we normally would, just to break routine,” Doeren said. “It turned out to be a good deal for us.”

This week, the hotel will be different again, and so will everything else for that matter when NC State (3-1) takes its show westward, about 90 minutes away to less comfy confines.  Awaiting the Wolfpack’s arrival will be a Wake Forest team (2-3) which always seems to be at its best when the Red & White comes to Winston-Salem.

Along with being State’s oldest football rival, Wake has also emerged as an old nemesis over the last decade, winning the last five games played between the two teams at BB&T Field.

While he wasn’t around for NC State’s recent streak in road games at Wake Forest, Doeren left nothing to chance this week, choosing to do some historical research in hopes of gaining some clues as to why so many Wolfpack teams had come up short there.

“Every team we play, I’m going to study the past,” Doeren said. “I think that’s important for our players whether it’s home or away, just to talk about trends. I think if you study history, you can keep from repeating it if you understand it. I wasn’t a part of any of those games, but I have talked with our players to find out what they thought our issues were up there. Hopefully we can overcome it this time.”

Now in its 13th season under veteran coach Jim Grobe, Wake Forest fielded an ACC title team in 2006, and then won nine and eight games, respectively, over the next two seasons. In other words, the Demon Deacons have fielded some pretty good teams over the last decade, yet many of NC State’s performances at BB&T Field over that period left fans, coaches and players frustrated against an in-state rival.

Admitting that he played perhaps the worst game of his career two years ago in Winston-Salem, NC State senior linebacker D.J. Green says recent history shouldn’t be a factor when Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. kick off time rolls around.

“I’m not going to be thinking about it,” Green said. “I don’t think anything of it. The past is the past. We’re here to do something about it now. Hopefully we can change that.”

Some challenging issues abound for this year’s Wake Forest team, which is one week removed from a 56-7 thrashing at the hands of Clemson. With his offense generating only 222 yards of total offense in Death Valley, Grobe sat starting quarterback Tanner Price in the second half, choosing to turn the controls over to back-up signal caller Tyler Cameron.

Through five games, the Deacons are averaging 316 yards of total offense, a figure that ranks 113th nationally. Barring some quick fixes, Wake Forest may be challenged to move the football against an NC State defense that is coming off back-to-back strong performances against Clemson and Central Michigan.

Over its last two games, the Wolfpack has recorded 23 tackles for loss, and ranks second in the nation in TFL’s on the season with 37.

“Our goal is to have as many parties in their backfield as we can,” said Doeren. “We sell that to our players and it feeds on itself. That’s definitely a trend we want to continue”

Green credits familiarity with defensive concepts being taught by coordinator Dave Huxtable as a key factor in the Wolfpack’s early season success on that side of the ball.

“We’ve been doing this since the spring, so we have plenty of reps,” Green said. “They stay on us and we’re eager to learn. We’re getting more and more comfortable with the defense and we’re getting good results.”

In yielding an average of just 328 yards per game, Green and the Wolfpack are rated 26th in total defense in the most updated FBS rankings.

The Pack will certainly keep an eye on Michael Campanaro on Saturday. Currently the second leading receiver in Wake Forest history, Campanaro is the only player in the annals of ACC football to have caught 16 passes in a game twice in his career. The senior first made 16 receptions against Boston College last November, and then matched that total earlier this season with a 16-catch performance against Louisiana-Monroe.

Ironically enough, one of Campanaro’s least effective games came in last year’s 37-6 loss to NC State when he was held to just five receptions for 14 yards. Cornerback Dontae Johnson applied most of the stifling coverage on Campanaro that day, and those two will undoubtedly hook up on many occasions once again on Saturday.

With left tackle Rob Crisp out for a third straight game due to injury, Joe Thuney will again get the start at left tackle for the Wolfpack on Saturday. But in this particular match-up, the Pack’s offensive line will have its biggest test inside against relentless Wake Forest nose-guard Nikita Whitlock. The ACC’s leader in tackles for loss with 10, the stocky senior is the reigning ACC Co-Defensive Lineman of the Week.

“Great player,” Doeren said. “I’d love to have him on our team. He’s really fun to watch and tough to play against. He’s very explosive, uses his hands well, is very quick and has a high motor. They line him up over the center where he can cause a lot of problems for your guys in the backfield immediately.”

Saturday’s game will mark the first of four road games for NC State this season, but as far as Doeren is concerned, the contest could provide a defining opportunity for his first Wolfpack squad.

“I like road trips,” said Doeren, who won eight straight ‘true’ road games as a head coach. “I like getting on the bus, watching the movie, eating some snacks and then hanging with the guys at the hotel. I told them that if they want to be contenders, they have to be able to take their show on the road. If not, they’ll win a lot of home games, but be an average, run-of-the-mill team. That’s not what we want to be.”

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NC State Football

NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren Nominated for 2024 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

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NC State’s Dave Doeren is 1 of 11 Head Football Coaches that were nominated for the 2024 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team yesterday.

Head Coach

Name School
Jeff Monken Army West Point
Josh Anderson Dakota State University
Paul Tortorella Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Dave Doeren NC State University
Vincent Brown North Carolina A&T State University
Gary Fasching Saint John’s University
Fran Brown Syracuse University
Willie Fritz University of Houston
Bret Bielema University of Illinois
Lance Leipold University of Kansas
Marcus Freeman University of Notre Dame

The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team was established in 1992 by the College Football Association, recognizing the extra efforts made by college football players and student support staff off the field. AFCA became the governing body of the award in 1997 and continues to honor college football players who go the extra mile for those in need. Allstate worked to present the award starting with the 2008 season. (Link)

Over the past several years, the Pack, led by Doeren, has established a relationship with Gigi’s Playhouse, a Down’s Syndrome achievement center, by hosting Victory Day and having Gigi’s participants visit weekly during the football season. Doeren and his wife Sara established the Doeren Family Fund. called OnePack Empowered, which benefits NC State students who face challenges with executive function skills critical to academic success, such as organization, planning, setting priorities, task completion, and decision-making. The Doerens’ commitment will pilot the program for five years, serving up to 50 students at a time. They hope to inspire other donors to join them in contributing to OnePack Empowered as a sustainable source of support and guidance for an expanding number of participants over the next several years. (GoPack)

The final roster of 23 award recipients announced later in September will bring together:

  • 11 players from the NCAA FBS
  • 11 players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Divisions II, III and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
  • 1 honorary head coach (GoPack)

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NC State NT Brandon Cleveland Nominated for 2024 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

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The Nominees for the 2024 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team were released yesterday, and NC State Junior Nose Tackle Brandon Cleveland is 1 of 111 FBS Nominees.

FBS Nominees

Name/School
Anderson Castle Appalachian State University
Leif Fautanu Arizona State University
Justin Parks Arkansas State University
Andre Miller Army West Point
Luke Deal Auburn University
Kyler Jordan Baylor University
Alexander Teubner Boise State University
Donovan Ezeiruaku Boston College
Jordan Oladokun Bowling Green State University
Connor Pay BYU
Dominic Serapiglia Central Michigan University
Bryce Kennon Charlotte
Barrett Carter Clemson University
Elijah Morris East Carolina University
David Carter Jr. Eastern Michigan University
Jacob Merrifield Florida Atlantic University
Maurice Smith Florida State University
Dean Clark Fresno State
David Dallas Georgia Southern University
Clayton Powell-Lee Georgia Tech
James Bomba Indiana University
Beau Freyler Iowa State University
Jacob Dobbs James Madison University
Austin Moore Kansas State University
Cam Golden Kent State University
Quinton Cooley Liberty University
Zach Zimos Louisiana Tech University
Will Campbell LSU
Logan Osburn Marshall University
Nathan Carter Michigan State University
Nicholas Vattiato Middle Tennessee State University
Nick Barr-Mira Mississippi State University
Brandon Cleveland NC State University
Allen Ortiz New Mexico State University
Cade Haberman Northern Illinois University
Xander Mueller Northwestern University
Seth McLaughlin Ohio State University
Alan Bowman Oklahoma State University
Stephon Dubose-Bourne Old Dominion University
JJ Pegues Ole Miss
Josh Green Oregon State University
Nick Dawkins Penn State University
Gus Hartwig Purdue University
Dean Connors Rice University
Mekhi Shaw San Diego State University
Jalen Apalit-Williams San Jose State University
Jonathan McGill SMU
Tristan Sinclair Stanford University
Justin Barron Syracuse University
NaNa Osafo-Mensah TCU
Andrew McIlquham Temple University
Albert Regis Texas A&M University
Tahj Brooks Texas Tech University
Peyton Higgins Troy University
Patrick Jenkins Tulane University
Zaire Flournoy UAB
William Wells UCF
Chase Griffin UCLA
Valentin Senn UConn
Taji Johnson University at Buffalo
Tim Keenan III University of Alabama
Noah Fifita University of Arizona
Cam Ball University of Arkansas
Jaydn Ott University of California
Luke Kandra University of Cincinnati
Shane Cokes University of Colorado
Graham Mertz University of Florida
Malaki Starks University of Georgia
Brayden Schager University of Hawai’i
Kenenna Odeluga University of Illinois
Jay Higgins University of Iowa
Jared Casey University of Kansas
J.J. Weaver University of Kentucky
K.C. Ossai University of Louisiana
Ashton Gillotte University of Louisville
Dante Trader Jr. University of Maryland
An’Darius Coffey University of Memphis
Jaden Harris University of Miami
Davis Warren University of Michigan
Mark Crawford University of Minnesota
Kristian Williams University of Missouri
Isaac Gifford University of Nebraska
Patrick Garwo III University of Nevada
Caleb Medford University of New Mexico
Kaimon Rucker University of North Carolina
Jett Duncan University of North Texas
Jack Kiser University of Notre Dame
Gavin Sawchuk University of Oklahoma
Matthew Bedford University of Oregon
Brandon George University of Pittsburgh
Jaden Voisin University of South Alabama
Alex Huntley University of South Carolina
Immanuel Hickman University of South Florida
Zachariah Branch University of Southern California
Bru McCoy University of Tennessee
Hayden Conner University of Texas
Michael Denning University of Toledo
Tao Johnson University of Utah
Will Bettridge University of Virginia
Hunter Wohler University of Wisconsin
Will Pelissier University of Wyoming
Jackson Woodard UNLV
Jacob Garcia Utah State University
De’Corian “JT” Clark UTSA
Richie Hoskins Vanderbilt University
Jaylin Lane Virginia Tech
Justin Cody Wake Forest University
Dean Janikowski Washington State University
Garrett Greene West Virginia University
Dalvin Smith Western Kentucky University
Boone Bonnema Western Michigan University

The Allstate Wuerffel Trophy will honor a student-athlete who is inspired to serve others and make a positive impact on society. Together with the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, whose 2024 nominees are announced below, the awards will mark college football’s premier honors for community service.

“Student-athletes deserve recognition for their contributions both in and out of sports” said Troy Hawkes, Allstate executive vice president and general manager. “The Allstate Wuerffel Trophy doubles down on Allstate’s commitment to celebrating college football athletes for outstanding performance on the field, in the classroom, and in their community.” (Link)

Cleveland is active in the Raleigh community. With his coaches and teammates, he hands out Pizza downtown to the unhoused community and works with the regional hospital in his hometown on Christmas. He has also raised $10,000 for Feed the Pack Pantry, a program on the NC State campus run by students that helps support unhoused students and students facing food insecurity. Still in the process of fundraising, students can go grocery shopping on campus for free and get the essentials they need. (GoPack)

All members are selected by a voting panel of former Allstate AFCA Good Works Team members, current and former head coaches, and journalists who look for exceptional leadership on and off the football field.

The final roster of 23 award recipients announced later in September will bring together:

  • 11 players from the NCAA FBS
  • 11 players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Divisions II, III and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
  • 1 honorary head coach (GoPack)

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McCall, Vann & Waters Will Represent NC State at the 2024 ACC Kickoff

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The 2024 ACC Kickoff on July 22-25 in Charlotte, and Quarterback Grayson McCall, Defensive End Davin Vann and Running Back Jordan Waters are the players that will represent the Wolfpack. Coverage of the event will happen daily on ACC Network, beginning at 9am.

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McCall is a Graduate Transfer from Coastal Carolina. He was the Sun Belt Player of the Year in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

If you take a look at McCall’s career numbers at Coastal, you’re looking at video game statistics:
178.4 Passing Efficiency Rating
88 Touchdowns/14 Interceptions
69.9% Completion Percentage
1,113 Rushing Yards
18 Rushing Touchdowns
The former 2-Star prospect out of high school has proven a lot of people wrong over his collegiate career, and he gets to go out with a bang, leading the Wolfpack in 2024.
Davin Vann opted to return to Raleigh for his final year of eligibility, rather than testing the NFL Draft waters.

Prior to the 2023 season, Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren honored Vann with the #1 jersey, which is given to the player that leads the team in work ethic, training and leadership. Vann was also named a captain this past year.

This season Vann’s PFF grade of 76.5 was the third highest on the team behind Payton Wilson and Robert Kennedy III. He recorded 42 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks as a Junior this season.

Waters is a Graduate Transfer from Duke. He rushed for 753 yards  and 12 touchdowns this past season for the Blue Devils, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. In his career, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry in 50 games at Duke.

The former 3-star prospect out of Fairmont High School (Fairmont, North Carolina), who was ranked as the 43rd player in he state of North Carolina in 2019 by ESPN, earned 3rd Team All-ACC honors this season.

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Here’s a Look at NC State’s Roster on EA Sports College Football 25

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While EA Sports College Football 25 doesn’t officially release until Friday, if you pre-ordered the Deluxe Edition, it became available yesterday afternoon. Here’s a look at NC State’s roster on the game.

Quarterbacks

Grayson McCall (SR) – 88
Cedrick Bailey Jr. (FR) – 72
Lex Thomas (RS-FR)- 70
Ethan Rhodes – 53

Running Backs

Jordan Waters (SR) – 84
Kendrick Raphael (SO) – 76
Daylan “Hollywood” Smothers (RS-FR) – 75
Duke Scott (FR) – 67
Isiah Jones (FR) – 65

Wide Receivers

Kevin Concepcion (SO) – 89
Noah Rogers (RS-FR) – 79
Dacari Collins (RS-JR) – 77
Wesley Grimes (JR) – 74
Terrell Anderson (FR) – 73
Jalen Coit (RS-JR) – 71
Keenan Jackson (FR) – 67
Christian Zachary (FR) – 63

Tight Ends

Justin Joly (JR) – 81
Juice Vereen (SO) – 75
Reid Mitchell (RS-SO) – 74
Dante Daniels (RS-JR) – 70

Offensive Line

Anthony Belton (SR) – 87
Zeke Correll (SR) – 84
Timothy McKay (SR) – 79
Jacarrius Peak (RS-SO) – 79
Anthony Carter Jr. (RS-JR) – 79
Dawson Jaramillo (SR) – 75
Sean Hill (SR) – 73
Val Erickson (RS-SO) – 72
Rylan Vann (RS-SO) – 72
Patrick Matan (SR) – 72
Kamen Smith (RS-FR) – 70
Robby Martin (FR) – 69
Rico Jackson (RS-FR) – 69
Trent Mitchell (FR) – 68

Defensive Line

Davin Vann (SR) – 85
Brandon Cleveland (JR) – 80
Travali Price (RS-JR) – 79
Red Hibbler (SR) – 75
Noah Potter (SR) – 75
Chazz Wallace (SR)- 72
Isaiah Shirley (RS-FR) – 72
Justin Terrell (FR) – 69
Chase Bond (FR) – 66

Linebackers

Caden Fordham (RS-JR) – 80
Sean Brown (RS-JR) – 79
Kamal Bonner (RS-FR) – 77
Elijah Groves (FR) – 75
Devon Betty (SR) – 74
Kelvon McBride (RS-FR) – 74
Wyatt Wright (JR) – 74
Joshua Ofor (FR) – 68
Cannon Lewis (FR) – 65

Cornerbacks

Aydan White (SR) – 88
Brandon Cisse (SO) – 80
Ja’Had Carter (SR) – 79
Corey Coley (SR) – 78
Devon Marshall (JR) – 78
Tamarcus Cooley (NIC) (RS-FR) – 73
Tank Boston (FR) – 69 (is a Wide Receiver)
Asaad Brown (NIC) (FR) – 68
Jivan Baly (FR) – 67

Safeties

Devan Boykin (SR) – 86
Bishop Fitzgerald (SR) – 79
Zack Myers (RS-FR) – 74
Rente Hinton (JR) – 71
Brody Barnhardt (Fr) – 67

Specialists

Punter Caden Noonkester (RS-JR) – 80
Kicker Collin Smith (SR) – 63
Punter Owen Fehr (RS-FR) – 60

_______

Heading into the Fall, there will be updates, and there needs to be, because quite a few NC State players are missing from the roster. The most notable omissions are Safety Donovan Kaufman, who could be a starter, and 4-Star Freshman Wide Receiver Jonathan Paylor, who is expected to make an immediate impact this season.

Here’s a look at all the Wolfpack players that are missing from the game currently:

Defensive Lineman Josh Alexander-Felton
Safety Jakolbe Baldwin
Nickel Isaiah Crowell
Safety Daemon Fagan
Running Back Demarcus Jones II
Defensive Lineman D.J. Jackson
Safety Donovan Kaufman
Safety Kerry Martin
Offensive Lineman Matt McCabe
Offensive Lineman Obi Obasuyi
Running Back Jordan Poole
Wide Receiver Jonathan Paylor
Safety Ronnie Royal III
Cornerback Jackson Vick
Kicker Kanoah Vinesett
Offensive Lineman Tyler West
Linebacker Zane Williams

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