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Steelers Have Big Plans for Jaylen Samuels in Year 2

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It looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers have big plans for former NC State H-Back Jaylen Samuels in Year 2.

Samuels’ role comes as James Conner has apparently been handled with kid gloves in an effort to keep him healthy and fresh. Per Kaboly, Samuels has been OC Randy Fichtner’s “Christmas toy that he didn’t learn to play with until the following year.” Kaboly reports Samuels has been used both as the backup running back and an offensive weapon who can “can line up just about everywhere.” Regardless of Conner’s usage, Samuels is sounding like someone who could have standalone fantasy value in PPR leagues. (Roto)

According to J-Sam, the Steelers have plans to have him and James Conner on the field sometimes.

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be something special put into the offense,” Samuels said. “They will have us start off in the backfield or I can start out wide or motion out.”

“A lot of guys are fast. It’s all about speed,” Samuels said. “If I can build up my speed a little faster, I feel like I’ll be more decisive in and out of my cuts as a pure runner. I feel like I got faster. I can get in and out of my cuts a little bit better. Still have to work on my route running, my overall game.” (ESPN)

With Eddie Faulkner, former NC State Tight Ends/Special Teams coach, serving as the Steelers Running Backs coach, expect Pittsburgh to enjoy seeing Samuels used more often, and in a variety of ways.

 

 

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Justin Gainey Named Associate Head Coach at Marquette

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Former NC State Point Guard Justin Gainey (1997-00) has been hired by Marquette as their Associate Head Coach, serving along head coach Steve Wojciechowski, the former Duke point guard.

“We are excited to welcome Justin and the Gainey family back to Marquette,” Wojciechowski said.  “Justin is one of the nation’s top rising coaches and his talents, ability to build meaningful relationships and myriad of experiences alongside some of the game’s best teachers will serve our program, and most importantly our players, incredibly well.” (Link)

This isn’t Gainey’s first stint at Marquette, serving as Director of Operations from 2014-17. The past two seasons, Gainey served as an Assistant Coach with Sean Miller at Arizona. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Coach at Santa Clara for one season with his former head coach at NC State, Herb Sendek.

Gainey’s coaching career began at NC State, where he served as Director of Operations for three seasons (2006-09), and then he went on to work at Appalachian State and Elon as well.

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Dennis Smith Jr. Showing Love to Fayetteville in the Midst of Covid-19

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Former NC State Freshman of the Year Dennis Smith Jr. never forgets where he came from. The New York Knicks Point Guard is always showing love for Fayetteville, North Carolina.

According to Ian Begley, DSJ is providing food vouchers for 575 first responders at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, and 32 computers for local students in Fayetteville.

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Andrew Knizner Enters 2020 as the #6 Prospect in the Cardinals Organization

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Former NC State Catcher Andrew Knizner enters the 2020 season ranked as the #6 prospect in the Cardinals organization.

Knizner was drafted in the 7th round by St. Louis in 2016, and was called up for the 1st time to the Big Leagues last year, when Yadier Molina was placed on the disabled list.

The jump wasn’t an easy one, with Knizner hitting .226 in 18 games.

Despite some time in the Majors at the end of last season, Knizner will begin 2020 in Triple-A Memphis, where he has already played 83 games, hitting .283.

Cardinals legend Molina is back to full strength, and backup Matt Wieters was signed to a 1-year deal, meaning it’s not quite time for Knizner.

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Will Wilson Enters 2020 as the #10 Prospect in the Giants Organization

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Former NC State All-American Shortstop Will Wilson will is entering the 2020 baseball season ranked as the #10 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization.

After being drafted by the Angels with the 15th overall pick in the MLB Draft last year, Wilson hit .275 in 46 games of Rookie ball with the Orem Owlz.

In December, the Angels traded him to the Giants.

In his final season at NC State, Wilson led the team with a .335 batting average, 20 doubles, 16 home runs and a .661 slugging percentage, and finished eighth all-time in career doubles (57) and homers (39), and ninth in total bases (409).

Wilson is the 3rd highest draft pick in NC State history, and only the 2nd batter to be drafted in the 1st round, alongside another shortstop who is currently in the league as well: Trea Turner.

According to MLB.com, Wilson is expected to make it to the Majors in 2022.

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