With the 2018 football season right around the corner, it’s time for me to help you catch up on your NC State history before the Wolfpack hits the field. In this piece I will be breaking down the best wide receivers in school history. Future breakdowns by position will be coming in the near future.
The below rankings are my own. In looking at all of the data supplied below (collegiate achievements only), these were my conclusions.
- Torry Holt – There is no debate. Holt is the best wide receiver in NC State history. He is the only player at the position to be a Consensus 1st-Team All-American. The only player at his position to win the ACC Player of the Year. The only player at his position to have his jersey retired. Holt is the career leader in receiving yards and touchdown receptions, and ranks 3rd in career receptions. He also made the 1st Team All-ACC twice.
- Jerricho Cotchery – Like Holt, Cotchery made the 1st Team All-ACC twice. He ranks 2nd all-time in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions. In fact, he had been the career leader in receptions for the past 14 seasons, until Jaylen Samuels finished his career with one more reception this past season.
- Koren Robinson – Robinson doesn’t rank in the Top-5 in NC State history in receiving yards, receptions, or touchdown receptions, but I can’t deny him a spot in a list of the Top-5 wide receivers in school history. The only reason he isn’t near or at the top of each of those statistical categories is due to the fact he only played two seasons. He is the only wide receiver in Wolfpack history to win the ACC Freshman of the Year award. He holds the school record for the most 100-yard games in a single season (9), and is tied for 2nd most 100-yard games in a career (14). As a Sophomore, Robinson was 1st Team All-ACC, and earned 2nd and 3rd Team All-American honors. He holds the record for the most receiving yards in school history as a Freshman (854) and as a Sophomore (1,061).
- Eddie Goines – Only one NC State wide receiver was named to 3 All-ACC Teams: Eddie Goines (1st Team 1993-93 & 2nd Team 1992). He ranks 4th all-time in receptions, 4th in yards, and 5th in touchdown receptions.
- Nasrallah Worthen – While he only ranks in the Top-5 in receiving yards, I think Worthen belongs in this spot because he is the only NC State receiver to earn All-American honors in two separate seasons: 3rd Team in 1986 and 2nd Team in 1988. He was also 1st Team All-ACC in both of those seasons as well. Worthen ranks 5th in receiving yards, 7th in receptions, and 9th in touchdown receptions.
Jaylen Samuels – There is no denying the fact that Jay Sam is one of the Top-5 greatest receivers in NC State history. He’s the all-time leader in receptions, and ranks 4th all-time in touchdown receptions. The question boils down to whether or not Samuels was a “wide receiver” or not. At the NFL Combine, he was put in the group with the tight ends, but was Samuels really a “tight end?” Well, he earned All-ACC honors as a tight end in 2015 (1st) and 2016 (3rd). Samuels also earned 3rd Team AP All-American honors as a tight end this past season. He also ranks 6th all-time in school history in rushing touchdowns, but was he really a “running back?” Last season, Samuels was 1st Team All-ACC at the “all-purpose” position, which is about the best way to define him. With all that being said, he took more snaps as a slot receiver in 2017 than anywhere else, so if you want to consider him one of the greatest “wide receivers” of all-time at NC State, you’d be within your right.
Don Buckey – Buckey played in a rush heavy Lou Holtz offense, but that didn’t stop him from leaving NC State as the all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. He and his twin brother quarterback, Dave Buckey, were completely in sync. Besides Torry Holt, Buckey is the only other wide receiver to earn 1st team All-American honors.
Haywood Jeffires – Erik Kramer loved throwing the ball to Jeffires, but he also loved throwing the rock to Nasrallah Worthen and Phil Brothers. With that being said, Jeffires unbelievable talent didn’t go unrecognized, being taken in the 1st round with the 20th overall pick in 1987. He went on to earn 3 All-Pro selections and 3 Pro-Bowl selections.
Mike Quick – Quick was one of the best receivers ever at NC State, but unfortunately he was in a Wolfpack offensive scheme that didn’t sling the pigskin around too much. During Quick’s era, if the ball was thrown, it was his to catch. Quick ranks 6th all-time in receiving yards at NC State. In his Sophomore campaign, Quick helped lead NC State to their last ACC Championship in 1979. Like Jeffiries, he didn’t get the accolades, but the NFL loved his tape. He was drafted in the 1st round with the 20th overall pick, and went on 5 Pro Bowls and 4 All-Pro selections.
NC State Wide Receivers who made an All-ACC Team
Jerricho Cotchery – 2002-03
Koren Robinson – 2000
Torry Holt – 1997-98
Eddie Goines – 1993-94
Charles Davenport – 1999
Nasrallah Worthen – 1986 & 88
Don Buckey – 1975
Pat Kenney – 1972
Harry Martell – 1967
Gary Rowe – 1966
Kelvin Harmon – 2017
Owen Spencer – 2010
Eddie Goines – 1992
Mike Kavulic – 1989
NC State Wide Receivers who won ACC Offensive Player of the Year
Torry Holt – 1998
NC State Wide Receivers who won ACC Freshman of the Year
Koren Robinson – 1999
NC State Wide Receivers who won ACC Player of the Year
Torry Holt – 1998
NC State Wide Receivers who earned All-American Honors
Koren Robinson – 2000 – 2nd Team (Football News) & 3rd Team (AP)
Torry Holt – 1998 – Consensus 1st Team ( Associated Press, The Sporting News, AFCA, Football Writers, Football News)
Nasrallah Worthen – 1986 – 3rd Team (Football News); 1988 – 2nd Team (Sporting News)
Don Buckey – 1975 – 1st Team (Football Writers)
NC State Wide Receivers who have had their Jersey Retired
NC State’s Career Reception Leaders
1. Jaylen Samuels – 2014-17 – 201
2. Jerricho Cothcery – 2000-03 – 200
3. Torry Holt – 1995-98 – 191
4. Eddie Goines – 1991-94 – 147
5. Bryan Peterson – 1999-02 – 139
6. Jarvis Williams – 2007-10 – 133
7. Nasrallah Worthen – 1984-88 – 131
8. Owen Spencer – 2007-10 – 126
8. George Bryan – 2008-11 – 126
10.. Tramain Hall – 2002-05 – 121
NC State’s Career Receiving Yards Leaders
1. Torry Holt – 1995-98 – 3,379
2. Jerricho Cotchery – 2000-03 – 3,119
3. Owen Spencer – 2007-10 – 2,441
4. Eddie Goines – 1991-94 – 2,351
5. Nasrallah Worthen – 1984-88 – 2,247
6. Mike Quick – 1978-81 – 1,934
7. T .J . Williams – 2002-05 – 1,916
8. Koren Robinson – 1999-00 – 1,914
9. Chris Coleman – 1996-99 – 1,909
10. Bryan Peterson – 1999-02 – 1,894
NC State’s Career Touchdown Receptions Leaders
1. Torry Holt – 1995-98 – 31
2. Jerricho Cotchery – 2000-03 – 21
3. Jarvis Williams – 2007-10 – 20
4. Jaylen Samuels – 2014-17 – 19
5. Eddie Goines – 1991-94 – 17
5. George Bryan – 2008-11 – 17
7. Owen Spencer – 2007-10 – 15
7. Koren Robinson – 1999-00 – 15
9. Nasrallah Worthen – 1984-88 – 14
9. Haywood Jeffires – 1983-86 – 14
NC State Wide Receivers: NFL 1st Round Picks
#6 – Torry Holt – 1999
#9 – Koren Robinson – 2001
#20 – Haywood Jeffires – 1987
#20 – Mike Quick – 1982
NC State Wide Receivers: Pro Bowl Selections
Torry Holt – 7
Mike Quick – 5
Haywood Jeffires – 3
NC State Wide Receivers: All-Pro Selections
Mike Quick – 4
Haywood Jeffires – 3
Torry Holt – 1
NC State Wide Receivers: NFL Receiving Yards
1) Torry Holt – 13,382
2) Jerricho Cothcery – 6,623
3) Mike Quick – 6,464
4) Haywood Jeffires – 6,634
5) Koren Robinson – 4,344
NC State Wide Receivers: NFL Receptions
1) Torry Holt – 920
2) Haywood Jeffires – 535
3) Jerricho Cotchery – 524
4) Mike Quick – 363
5) Ted Brown – 339
NC State Wide Receivers: NFL Touchdowns
1) Torry Holt – 71
2) Mike Quick – 64
3) Haywood Jeffires – 51
4) Jerricho Cotchery – 34
5) Alex Webster (RB) – 16
JERSEYS IN THE RAFTERS: Vic Molodet: #73
Everett Case set the standard for the ACC, leading NC State to the first 3 conference championships (54-56). Ronnie Shavlik was arguably the most decorated player from this dynasty, but everyone knows that a great ‘big man’ is most often accompanied by a point guard that can create and get them the ball in optimal scoring situations. Some tandems are not mentioned as individual players, rather they are always remembered as a pair. For instance, rarely do you hear the name Karl Malone mentioned without the name John Stockton followed right behind it. In the case of Ronnie Shavlik, it was hard to think of the All-American center without thinking about All-American point guard Vic Molodet.
Vic Molodet was a 5’11″ point guard from East Chicago, Indiana. Molodet was the coach on the court that led the Wolfpack to three-straight ACC Championships, beginning with the 1st ever ACC Tournament in 1954. Vic played the game with a sense of flare that electrified the crowds in the early years of Reynolds Coliseum. While Shavlik might have been the focal point of the Wolfpack offense, Molodet didn’t go unnoticed by those who voted for post-season honors. Molodet earned All-ACC honors in all three of his varsity seasons, claiming 2nd team honors 1954 and 1955 and 1st team honors in 1956. Vic would go on to play one of his best performances in the ACC championship game his senior season, when he scored 32 points, taking home the tournament MVP award.
Molodet might have had a responsibility of getting Shavlik the ball in the post, but this didn’t stop the crafty point guard from putting the ball in the hoop. His career scoring average of 14.9 ranks 12th in school history, and his 1,405 career points rank 22nd, and a high percentage of those points came from the charity stripe.
In 1956, Molodet helped lead NC State to a #2 rank nationally, though they didn’t finish the year there.
After earning 1st Team All-American honors as a senior, Molodet went on to be drafted by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the the 1956 NBA draft.
1954 – 13.8pts
1955 – 13.5pts
1956 – 18.2pts
2nd Team – 1954 and 1955
1st Team – 1956
All-ACC Tournament Team
2nd Team – 1955
1st Team – 1956 (MVP)
All-Dixie Classic Team
1954 and 1955
1st Team All-American (Converse) – 1956
Molodet’s #73 jersey was honored and lifted to the rafters on February 24th, 1999.
(Molodet’s #73 jersey is honored, but not retired. The only retired jersey is David Thompson’s #44.)
Jerseys in the Rafters: Lou Pucillo: #78
We’ve heard the story time and time again of Michael Jordan being cut from his JV team back in high school. It’s a story that is retold so often because, in hindsight, the fact seems ironic and absolutely ridiculous. While former NC State guard Lou Pucillo didn’t go on to become the greatest basketball player in the history of the game, his story is very similar to Jordan’s, and quite possibly even more absurd.
What are the odds that a player that didn’t make his high school team until his senior season, playing minimal minutes that season, would end up earning ACC Player of the Year honors, along with All-American honors? Welcome to the crazy story of Lou Pucillo.
Lou Pucillo grew up in South Philadelphia and attended Southeast Catholic. The undersized guard didn’t make his high school team until his senior season, and even then, he barely saw the floor. It is a dream of many kids to grow up and play basketball at the next level, but at this point in Pucillo’s life, his credentials pointed toward only a dream, and not actuality. Pucillo was unwilling to quit dreaming, and went on to Temple Prep School, where he averaged roughly 25 points a game, gaining the attention of the NC State coaching staff.
When Everett Case brought Pucillo into the fold, he was the smallest player ever recruited by Case, standing 5’9″, and weighing in at 157 pounds. When a guard is undersized, it is vitally important that they have a great set of ball handling skills and speed, which Pucillo possessed. Sportswriter’s dubbed Pucillo the “Bob Cousy of the collegians.” Pucillo dribbled his way into the NC State record books, earning First Team All-ACC honors twice (1 of 10 players in school history to accomplish this), and First Team All-ACC Tournamnet twice as well.
Pucillo’s senior campaign was one that was clad with accolades. After leading the Wolfpack to their 4th ACC championship, he became one of 5 players in school history to win the ACC Player of the Year award (14.6 ppg). He also became one of only 8 players in NC State history to earn the MVP award for the ACC Tournament. As a cherry on top, Pucillo earned 2nd Team All-American honors in his senior season.
After graduating from NC State, the dream of the NBA never came to fruition, but he did play professionally for the Wichita Vickers in National Industrial League and later played for Sunbury in the Eastern Professional League. When he decided to hang up the jersey and move on, he found himself back in Raleigh, coaching the Freshman team at NC State for three seasons, before stepping out and forming his own private business in the Raleigh area.
It’s rare that the kid that grows up playing basketball on the playground because he didn’t make the school team, see’s his dreams come true. Yet every once in awhile a guy like Lou Pucillo comes along and defies all the odds.
Pucillo’s jersey was honored and lifted to the rafters on February 24th, 1999.
(Pucillo’s #78 jersey is honored, but not retired. The only retired jersey is David Thompson’s #44.)
Jerseys In The Rafters: John Richter: #24
Legendary Wolfpack coach Everett Case reeled in a legendary recruiting class in 1956 when he brought in two players from Philadelphia, who would eventually go on to earn All-American honors, win an ACC title and have their jerseys permanently honored in the rafters. Lou Pucillo and John Richter would go on to be one of the most dynamic duo’s in NC State history. There was nearly 12 inches separating Pucillo and Richter in height (Richter was 6’8″). Pucillo possessed the ball handling skills and he made a habit of feeding the ball to John Richter in the post.
Richter knew how to use his height to his advantage, not only becoming one of the best rebounders in NC State history, but in ACC history as well. He led NC State in rebounding all three varsity seasons, averaging double-digit rebounds in all three seasons (’57 – 12.7, ’58 – 10.9, ’59 – 14.2). Richter’s 936 career rebounds rank 6th all-time in NC State history. The big guy’s career average of 12.7 rebounds per game ranks 3rd in school history and 9th in ACC history.
John was also the 1st Wolfpack player to ever lead the ACC in scoring, when he posted a season average of 17.0 points per game in the 1958-59 season. His career scoring average of 15.0 points per game ranks 11th in school history. Richter not only possessed the ability to score, but he also was efficient in doing so, leading the ACC in Field Goal Percentage in 1957, connecting on 51.9% that season.
He led the team in scoring and field goal percentage twice.
Richter’s monstrous senior campaign didn’t go unnoticed. After averaging a double-double in his last season (17.0 points and 14.2 rebounds), and winning an ACC title, the voters smiled on the big man from Philly. Richter earned 1st Team All-ACC, 1st Team All-ACC Tournament, and 1st Team All-American honors in his final season. This padded his accolade resume that already contained two 2nd Team All-ACC selections (’57 and ’58) and a Dixie Classic MVP award in 1958.
John Richter, one of the best post players to ever play at NC State, went on to be a 1st round draft pick by the Boston Celtics in the 1959 NBA draft.
Richter’s jersey was honored and lifted to the rafters on February 24th, 1999.
(Richter’s #24 jersey is honored, but not retired. The only retired jersey is David Thompson’s #44.)
David Thompson is one of only 9 players in history to win Naismith Award and make Hall of Fame
Did you know that Packinsider.com has a whole section dedicated to the history of NC State athletics? If you haven’t checked it out, go ahead and do that when you get some free time we like to think it’s pretty interesting stuff.
Over the next few months, we are going to be hitting you with nuggets of NC State history that you may not know about. Here is one that we just came across…
Did you know that NC State’s David Thompson is one of only 9 Naismith Award winners to make the Basketball Hall of Fame?
Naismith Award + @Hoophall:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) October 5, 2018
That list is like the who’s who of basketball greats.
David Thompson was awarded the Naismith at the end of his 1974-75 season with NC State. He helped lead the Wolfpack to their first national championship in 1974. Thompson was known as “Skywalker” for his incredible vertical leap. Thompson was the first overall draft pick to the Atlanta Hawks in 1975 but elected to play for the Denver Nuggets in the ABA. He continued to play with the Nuggets after the ABA-NBA merger before being traded to the Seattle Supersonics. Thompson was twice named to the All-NBA team and was selected to four All-Star games. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996. (NCAA)
But just think about that. Of all the college basketball greats who won the ‘player of the year’ award, only 9 of those guys went on to make the Hall of Fame. It goes to show you that NCAA basketball and NBA basketball are really two different games, and if you’re great at one level, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be great at the other. Congrats to DT for being one of the few that was.