4 former NC State football players were taken in the XFL Draft the past two days.
Cornerback Jack Tocho was taken in the first round of the Secondary phase by the Los Angeles Wildcats.
Tocho is a well put together cornerback who carries a notable presence on the boundary. With good awareness and route recognition skills, Tocho will meet the requirements of an outside cornerback in the XFL and provide the Wildcats with a heady defender and a reliable tackler out on the edge. Tocho doesn’t necessarily possess top end explosiveness or short area agility, but his anticipation and technique will help him continue to be a plus starter at the XFL level while providing no shortage of plays on the football. He may need a bit of help in turn and run coverage over the top, but Tocho’s work in zone should have Wildcats fans excited about seeing him keying opposing quarterbacks in the backfield. (XFL)
Tocho was drafted by the Vikings in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and played 1 year in the league. He spent the 2018 season on the Redskins Practice Squad, and played for the AAF in 2019 before it shut down.
Former All-ACC Offensive Guard Tony Adams was taken by the Tampa Bay Vipers in the 7th Round of the Offensive Line phase.
An impressive NC State product in the 2018 NFL Draft, they don’t come much stronger than Tony Adams. At the Shrine Game, Adams impressed with his ability to uproot interior defenders in the running game and stonewall their bull-rushes as a pass protector. Primarily a guard prospect who also spent time at center, Adams had NFL-caliber traits that the Jaguars took a long look at following the 2018 NFL Draft: his foot quickness, hand power, and core strength all illustrate that of a Day 1 starter at guard for the Vipers, who will likely make a killing running right through the holes Jones bulldozes open. (XFL)
Adams went undrafted in 2018, but was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and ultimately finished the year on the Patriots Practice Squad.
Cornerback Mike Stevens will be teammates with Tocho once again, being drafted by the Wildcats in the 9th round of the Secondary phase.
Former Offensive Guard Terronne Prescod was taken by the DC Defenders in the Open phase.
The XFL season will start in February after the NFL Super Bowl.
Justin Gainey Named Associate Head Coach at Marquette
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.
Dennis Smith Jr. Showing Love to Fayetteville in the Midst of Covid-19
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.
Here’s a quote from Dennis Smith Jr. on his donation: “Fayetteville and basketball have given so much to me…. I wanted to show support for the real heroes during these tragic times – the first responders.” Smith Jr.’s full quote, via the Knicks, is here: https://t.co/EtvF1LhVKh pic.twitter.com/G1RpvhGTjF
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 27, 2020
Andrew Knizner Enters 2020 as the #6 Prospect in the Cardinals Organization
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.
Will Wilson Enters 2020 as the #10 Prospect in the Giants Organization
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.