This past weekend NC State did their best to upend the #1 team in the nation. In the end FSU was just too much for a young, inexperienced NC State defense, but we learned a lot about this NC State team. Here are some things we think were cleared up after Saturday’s game.
-Brissett is really for real
The guts in the comeback win in the season opener tipped us all off on the type of player Jacoby Brissett could be, but putting up gaudy numbers and dissecting defenses against weak opponents is nothing to hang your hat on. Throwing up 350 yards and 3 Tds (while completing 67% of your passes) against the #1 team in the nation is another story. As I rewatched the game last night I tried to watch the game as objectively as I could. If I had never seen or heard of Jacoby Brissett or Jameis Winston would I know which one was the Heisman candidate and which one was the virtual unknown? I don’t think so, in fact I think Brissett out performed Winston despite throwing for one less TD and 6 fewer yards. Brissett had some highlight reel plays, made some spectacular passes and was constantly holding the NC State offense together. The guy is big time and he’s just getting started. I think with Brissett behind center NC State will be putting up silly offensive numbers all season.
– Shad Thornton is State’s running back
Dayes will certainly share carries and is still a threat as a receiving option, but I think we saw that against bigger, stronger competition Shadrach was the most effective. I asked the question on Twitter a few weeks ago on what people thought Doeren would do when they started facing tougher competition. Many thought the 3 headed monster of Thornton, Dayes and Creecy would keep on being thrown out there, but I think it was pretty obvious that come season time coaches usually go back to a more natural 1 or 2 back gameplan. I think we saw who the leader is in the backfield. Shad carried the ball 18 times for 85 yards and caught 7 passes for 60 yards and really just passed the eye test. He broke tackles, got extra yardage and moved the chains all day long. I’m not sure on his numbers for yards after contact but I’m sure they were insane. The kid just keeps his legs churning and loves to initiate contact. The Brissett/Thornton combo is likely one of the better 1-2 punches in this conference right now.
-Route running a little sloppy
With Brissett’s quick release and State’s hurry up offense, the receivers who run the most precise routes are the ones reaping the benefits. Gone are the days of Wolfpack receivers racking up yardage on broken plays. Sure Brissett made plays outside the pocket and will continue to do so, but the majority of the receiving yards are coming off quick pocket passes from Brissett. This is why you see Bo Hines getting so many looks. Once again he led the team in receptions and it’s mainly due to his precision route running and soft hands. The guys that aren’t seeing many looks are the ones that have been a little sloppy and rounding corners on their routes. As the season wears on, look for the WRs to start focusing more on creating separation by focusing on their route running.
-Defense wasn’t ready
State’s defense just wasn’t ready for athletes like Florida State. Once Winston and company got a look at what the Pack was doing defensively, they started exposing them with ease. The line was getting no pressure, they were over-pursuing and they were just too slow to match up man to man with the FSU receivers. The Noles totaled over 530 yards on Saturday, a number that is just too high no matter who your opponent is.
– Doeren hates cheaters
I know Coach Doeren took a lot of heat for voicing his opinion that FSU was faking injuries to slow down the Pack’s hurry up offense, but good for him. A lot of people are under the impression that it’s classless to make excuses like this. Well, it’s classless to cheat and then act like you have no idea how someone could accuse you of cheating. Doeren is right on and FSU was faking injuries (or at least taking too long to get off the field after a minor injury), so I don’t mind him saying something about it. Truth is, FSU couldn’t stop NC State’s hurry up and they did what they had to do to stop it. Call that what you want, but don’t blame Doeren when he calls it like he sees it. If I’m a Wolfpack player then I’m glad my coach stood up for us in that regard. #1 team in the nation or Presbyterian, it doesn’t matter, cheating is cheating and people need to stop loading the guilt onto Dave Doeren and start looking at FSU’s ‘NFL level’ athletes who couldn’t keep up with an ACC no-huddle offense.
7 NC State Players Make 2022 AP All-ACC Football Teams
The AP has released their 2022 All-ACC Teams, and 7 NC State Football players were honored, with 4 on the 1st Team, and 3 on the 2nd Team.
NC State Players on 1st Team
Senior Center Grant Gibson
Senior Place Kicker Chris Dunn
Junior Linebacker Drake Thomas
Sophomore Cornerback Aydan White
NC State Players on 2nd Team
Senior Offensive Guard Chandler Zavala
Senior Linebacker Isaiah Moore
Senior Safety Tanner Ingle
QB — Drake Maye, North Carolina, 6-4, 220, r-fr., Huntersville, North Carolina
RB — Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh, 5-11, 215, jr., New York, New York
RB — Will Shipley, Clemson, 5-11, 205, soph., Weddington, N.C.
WR — Josh Downs, North Carolina, 5-10, 175, jr., Suwanee, Georgia
WR — Zay Flowers, Boston College, 5-10, 172, sr., Fort Lauderdale, Florida
TE — Oronde Gadsden II, Syracuse, 6-5, 216, soph., Fort Lauderdale, Florida
OT — Jordan McFadden, Clemson, 6-2, 305, sr., Spartanburg, S.C.
OT — Graham Barton, Duke, 6-5, 311, jr., Brentwood, Texas
OG — Dillan Gibbons, Florida State, 6-5, 327, sr., Saint Petersburg, Florida
OG — Marcus Minor, Pittsburgh, 6-4, 325, sr., Lanham, Maryland
C — Grant Gibson, North Carolina State, 6-1, 310, grad., Charlotte, North Carolina
K — Chris Dunn, North Carolina State, 5-8, 170, grad., Lexington, North Carolina
All-purpose player — Will Shipley, Clemson
DE — Jared Verse, Florida State, 6-4, 251, soph., Berwick, Pennsylvania
DE — K.J. Henry, Clemson, 6-4, 255, grad., Winston-Salem, North Carolina
DT — Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh, 6-0, 280, jr., Miami
DT — Tyler Davis, Clemson, 6-2, 300, sr., Apopka, Florida
LB — Yasir Abdullah, Louisville, 6-1, 242, sr., Miramar, Fla.
LB — Drake Thomas, North Carolina State, 6-0, 230, jr., Wake Forest, North Carolina
LB — Cedric Gray, North Carolina, 6-2, 230, jr., Charlotte, North Carolina
CB — Aydan White, North Carolina State, 6-0, 185, soph., Asheville, North Carolina
CB — Anthony Johnson, Virginia, 6-2, 205, grad., Coconut Creek, Florida
S — Kam Kinchens, Miami, 5-11, 202, soph., Miami
S — Jammie Robinson, Florida State, 5-11, 203, jr., Cordele, Georgia
P — Lou Hedley, Miami, 6-4, 220, sr., Mandurah, Australia
QB — Jordan Travis, Florida State, 6-1, 212, jr., West Palm Beach, Florida
RB — Sean Tucker, Syracuse, 5-10, 210, soph., Owings Mills, Maryland
RB — Trey Benson, Florida State, 6-1, 215, soph., Greenville, Mississippi
WR — A.T. Perry, Wake Forest, 6-5, 205, jr., Lake Worth, Florida
WR — Tyler Hudson, Louisville, 6-2, 195, sr., Spring, Texas
TE — Will Mallory, Miami, 6-5, 245, sr., Jacksonville, Florida
OT — Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse, 6-5, 322, jr., Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada
OT — Robert Scott Jr., Florida State, 6-5, 334, soph., Conway, Arkansas
OG — Chandler Zavala, North Carolina State, 6-5, 325, grad., Boynton Beach, Florida
OG — Sean Maginn, Wake Forest, 6-3, 304, sr., Suwanee, Georgia
C — Bryan Hudson, Louisville, 6-4, 301, r-jr., Georgetown, Kentucky
K — B.T. Potter, Clemson, 5-10, 200, grad., Rock Hill, South Carolina
All-purpose player — Jalon Calhoun, Duke, 5-11, 189, sr., Greenville, South Carollina
DE — Myles Murphy, Clemson, 6-5, 275, jr., Marietta, Georgia
DE — Donovan Ezeiruaku, Boston College, 6-2, 236, so., Williamstown, New Jersey
DT — DeWayne Carter, Duke, 6-3, 298, r-jr., Pickerington, Ohio
DT — Kobie Turner, Wake Forest, 6-3, 290, sr., Clifton, Virginia
LB — SirVocea Dennis, Pittsburgh, 6-1, 230, sr., Syracuse, New York
LB — Mikel Jones, Syracuse, 6-1, 224, jr., Miami, Florida
LB — Nick Jackson, Virginia, 6-1, 234, sr., Atlanta
LB — Ayinde Eley, Georgia Tech, 6-3, 233, sr., Olney, Maryland
LB — Isaiah Moore, North Carolina State, 6-2, 232, grad., Chester, Virginia
LB — Charlie Thomas, Georgia Tech, 6-2, 207, sr., Thomasville, Georgia
CB — Fentrell Cypress II, Virginia, 6-0, 184, jr., Rock Hill, South Carolina
CB — Storm Duck, North Carolina, 6-0, 200, jr., Boiling Springs, South Carolina
S — Erick Hallett II, 5-11, 190, sr., Cypress, Texas
S — Tanner Ingle, North Carolina State, 5-10, 186, sr., Orlando, Florida
P — Daniel Sparks, Virginia, 6-6, 203, jr., Gadsden, Alabama
Coach of the Year — Mike Elko, Duke
Offensive Player of the Year — Drake Maye, North Carolina
Defensive Player of the Year — Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
Newcomer of the Year — Jared Verse, Florida State (AP)
Devin Leary’s Legacy at NC State
Earlier today news broke that Wolfpack Redshirt Junior Quarterback Devin Leary was entering his name into Transfer Portal. As a result, I wanted to take some time to highlight the legacy that Leary leaves at NC State.
Even though Leary played 4 seasons on the field at NC State, he only played in 30 career games for the Wolfpack, with that number being lowered due to injuries in 2020 and 2022, and competition in 2019, starting only the final 5 games. Taking that into consideration, the numbers that Leary put up at NC State are even more impressive.
Leary leaves NC State ranked 6th in career passing yards, 4th in touchdown passes, and 4th in completion percentage.
Leary also ranks 3rd in school history in career passing efficiency rating (139.0), trailing only Philip Rivers (144.2) and Ryan Finley (140.0).
He also ranks 2nd in school history in interception avoidance (1.69), trailing only Jacoby Brissett (1.44).
In 2021, Leary threw 35 touchdowns, setting the new school record for touchdowns thrown in a single season, passing Philip Rivers record of 34.
Plain and simple, Leary was one of the best to ever play the position at NC State, and that’s saying a lot!
NC State Wide Receiver Jasiah Provillon Enters Transfer Portal
Redshirt Junior NC State Wide Receiver Jasiah Provillon has entered the Transfer Portal.
— Siahhh Cheese (@jasiahpro84) December 5, 2022
Provillon was member of the Wolfpack’s 2018 recruiting class, a 3-star prospect out of Irvington, New Jersey. While he has seen action in all 12 games this season, Provillon has only played 84 snaps. In 18 career games over 5 seasons of play, Provillon has 2 receptions for 58 yards (in 2019).
We wish Jasiah the best in his final year of eligibility and appreciate his commitment to the Pack the past 5 years!
NC State Quarterback Devin Leary Enters Transfer Portal
According to Pete Thamel of ESPN, NC State Quarterback Devin Leary is entering the Transfer Portal.
Source: N.C. State quarterback Devin Leary intends to enter the NCAA transfer portal. Leary will have one year of eligibility remaining. He's thrown for 6,807 yards and 62 touchdowns, making him one of the most productive portal quarterbacks available. https://t.co/N36c52JU47
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 5, 2022
Leary has 1 year of eligibility remaining, and he will likely be the top Quarterback name in the Portal.
Big programs with a need at Quarterback will be picking up the phone quickly, and many of these schools likely have the ability to offer significant NIL money.
Heading into this season, Leary was not expected to be back for the Pack in 2023. After the numbers he put up in 2021, he was expected to forgo his final year of eligiblity, and enter the 2023 NFL Draft. With that being said, after not having the start to the season that was expected, and tearing his pec in the 6th game of the season against FSU, the future for Leary became blurry.
When True Freshman Quarterback MJ Morris entered the scene for the Wolfpack, playing at a high level, things got even more blurry.
Would he still go pro, even though he didn’t have a season that saw his stock rise? Would he return to NC State, where there might be a position battle in 2023? Would he transfer to another school of higher prestige giving him more of a spotlight for the 2024 NFL Draft?
This isn’t a shocking decision by Leary. It probably is what makes the most sense to Leary, and also what makes the most sense to NC State. It is clear that MJ Morris seems to be the future at Quarterback at NC State. I love NC State, but I’m not dumb. Leary can also see his draft stock rise by transferring to a bigger program.
Leary has been incredible at NC State, throwing for 6,807 yards and 62 touchdowns in 4 seasons. In total he has been at NC State 5 years, and he has been nothing short of an exemplary representative of the university. When he went down, he was an incredible teammate and leader, despite not being on the field.
We wish you the best Devin! You have a bright future ahead of you, and you will always be a part of the Wolfpack family.