18 of the 20 former NC State players on active NFL rosters saw action in Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season. Check out a breakdown of how they did below.
After some wondered if Quarterback Philip Rivers (starter) would be benched after two dismal weeks in Week 10 and 11, the Wolfpack legend has rebounded mightily. After recording a QB Rating of 106.3 in Week 13, Rivers was near perfect in the Chargers’ 45-10 thrashing of the Jags, with a QB Rating of 154.4, completing 16 of 22 for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns (0 interceptions). It was his best performance of 2019.
Philip Rivers' trash talk is amazing 😂
— ESPN (@espn) December 10, 2019
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett (starter) rebounded, playing much better in the Colts’ 38-35 loss to the Bucs. After three straight games with a QB Rating in the 70’s, Brissett was 19 of 36 for 251 yards and 2 touchdowns (0 interceptions) for a QB Rating of 93.6.
Jacoby Brissett throws a 💣 to Marcus Johnson for 6️⃣ pic.twitter.com/Du4U4hPkRt
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) December 8, 2019
Linebacker Germaine Pratt (starter) led the Bengals with 8 tackles in their 27-19 loss to the Browns, playing 72% of the snaps. Pratt has started 5 straight games, and the 8 tackles were a career high.
Germaine Pratt's PFF grades since being named the starter. pic.twitter.com/oApjSXo0mX
— Jeaux Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) December 9, 2019
Quarterback Russell Wilson (starter) played one of his worst games of 2019 in the Seahawks’ 28-12 loss to the Rams, completing 22 of 36 for 245 yards and 1 interception for a QB Rating of 69.8.
Running Back Jaylen Samuels (starter) rushed the ball 7 times for 16 yards, and had 2 receptions for 18 yards in Pittsburgh’s 23-17 victory over Arizona, playing 47% of the offensive snaps. It was his 4th start of the year.
Place Kicker Stephen Hauschka (starter) was perfect, making all 3 field goal attempts (36, 47, 48) in Buffalo’s 24-17 loss to Baltimore.
Defensive Back Juston Burris (starter) had 3 tackles and 1 QB Hit in the Browns’ 27-19 victory over the Bengals, playing 32% of the defensive snaps.
Running Back Nyheim Hines rushed the ball 4 times for 1 yard, and had 4 receptions for 28 yards in Indy’s 38-35 loss to Tampa Bay, playing in 56% of the offensive snaps. He also lost a fumble. Hines returned 2 punts for an average of 17 yards.
Center Garrett Bradbury (starter) played 100% of the offensive snaps in Minnesota’s 20-7 victory over Detroit.
— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) December 8, 2019
Since Week 5, #Vikings center Garrett Bradbury is PFF's #10 ranked center in terms of Pass Blocking Efficiency at 98.4%.
— Purple FTW! Podcast (@PurpleForTheWin) December 9, 2019
Offensive Guard Joe Thuney (starter) played 100% of the offensive snaps in New England’s 23-16 loss to Kansas City.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) December 10, 2019
Wide Receiver Kelvin Harmon had 1 reception for 30 yards (4 targets) in the Redskins’ 20-15 loss to the Packers, playing 85% of the offensive snaps.
Excellent job by Dwayne Haskins staying poised in the pocket on 3rd and 13. Blitz gets picked up and he finds Kelvin Harmon open over the middle to pick up the first down. #Redskins pic.twitter.com/KwUHp46YaD
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) December 8, 2019
Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers had 1 reception for 35 yards (3 targets) in the Patriots’ 23-16 loss to the Chiefs, playing 57% of the offensive snaps.
Defensive End B.J. Hill had 2 tackles in the Giants’ 23-17 loss to the Eagles, playing in 37% of the defensive snaps.
Offensive Guard J.R. Sweezy (starter) played 60% of the offensive snaps in the Cardinals’ 23-17 loss to the Steelers. Sweezy was limited in practice last week due to illness, and has been limited this week as well.
Defensive Tackle Justin Jones (starter) had 1 tackle in Los Angeles 45-10 victory over Jacksonville, playing 77% of the defensive snaps.
Punter A.J. Cole (starter) punted the ball 5 times for an average of 44.2 yards in the Raiders’ 42-21 loss to the Titans.
Offensive Tackle Will Richardson played 18% of the offensive snaps in the Jags’ 45-10 loss to the Chargers.
Offensive Guard Ted Larsen played 5 Special Teams snaps in the Bears’ 31-24 victory over the Cowboys on Thursday night football.
Quarterback Ryan Finley (Bengals)
Quarterback Mike Glennon (Raiders)
Linebacker Bradley Chubb (Broncos) – knee
Defensive End Kentavius Street (49ers) – knee
Terquavion Smith is a Top-10 Scorer in the NBA G-League
Former Wolfpack scoring guard, Terquavion Smith is going off in the NBA-G League, and is now the 9th best scorer in the NBA G-League.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 26, 2023
He’s averaging 24ppg, shooting 40% from the floor and 37% from long range. He’s also adding 5 rebounds and 2 assists per game. But putting the stats aside, his performances have been electric.
Terq Smith with the hammer SLAM. pic.twitter.com/lglY7PHGOk
— Delaware Blue Coats (@blue_coats) November 26, 2023
His team, the Blue Coats, are an affiliate of the 76ers. The Sixers are being led by Joel Embid (their center), their PG Tyrese Maxey, and PF Tobias Harris. Smith is a SG, and honestly, I think there’s a shot he gets his chance at some point this season. Kelly Oubre Jr has been out with a broken rib, and his replacement, De’Anthony Melton is doing alright, but his stats aren’t all that different than Terquavion’s.
Melton is averaging 12 points per game, shooting 40% from the floor and 40% from 3pt range. He’s adding 4 rebound and 4 assists.
Smith is the more explosive player, but it’s likely the 76ers want to see a little more offensive efficiency before they start thinking about moving him up.
Former NC State SS Trea Turner Set Phillies’ Record in NLDS
Former NC State All-American Shortstop Trea Turner set a Phillies’ postseason record, collecting 4 hits in Philly’s Game 4 3-1 victory over the Braves. The Phillies first went to the playoffs in 1908, and Turner is the first player to ever have 4 hits in one game.
Turner was 4-4, and was a triple shy of the cycle.
Most people will remember Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos from the NLDS, but it’s Turner that’s slashing 500/.539/.942 in the 2023 playoffs thus far.
Trea Turner gives the Phillies the lead in the 5th inning! pic.twitter.com/x6ExY5XmYp
— Phillies Tailgate (@PhilsTailgate) October 13, 2023
Trea Turner joins the homer party! pic.twitter.com/q3SHTEJ9Lw
— Phillies Tailgate (@PhilsTailgate) October 11, 2023
Trea Turner is worth every damn penny. pic.twitter.com/OyDKWosJRS
— Phillies Tailgate (@PhilsTailgate) October 8, 2023
MLB 2023 Season PackPros Roundup
Five former NC State baseball players played in the Major Leagues in 2023. Here’s a roundup of how it went for the four of them.
Shortstop Trea Turner signed an 11-year $300 million contract with Philadelphia heading into the 2023 season. Turner was coming off of his 2nd All-Star game appearance. 2023 was a little bit of a mixed bag for Turner. Through much of the season, the Phillies looked like they had made a terrible investment in Turner, but he finished the season extremely well. He finished his first season in Philly with a batting average of .266, which is the lowest of his career, if you don’t count the .225 he batted in his first year in the MLB, batting .225 in only 27 games. With that being said, his 26 home runs were the 2nd most of his career, and he stole 30 bases for the first time since 2021. Turner’s 102 Runs ranked 10th in the National League, and his 30 Stolen Bases ranked 9th.
Turner was taken with the 13th overall pick in 2014.
Carlos Rodon’s first year in New York was his worst season in the MLB to date. After signing a 6-year $162 million with the Yankees in the offseason, expectations were high for what Rodon would bring to the Yankees. He was coming off of back-to-back All-Star seasons in Chicago and San Francisco. Injury has plagued Rodon at times throughout his career, and the injury bug struck three times this season. As a result, Rodon only started 14 games. He finished the season with a 3-8 record, and a outrageous 6.85 ERA.
Rodon was taken with the 3rd overall pick in 2014.
Catcher Patrick Bailey made his MLB debut this season. He was called up from Triple A to the Giants on May 19. While Bailey’s offensive numbers won’t ‘wow’ you, he was one of the best fielding catchers in all of the MLB this year. In 97 games, Bailey posted a .233 batting average, with 7 HRs and 48 RBI. In fielding, Bailey was the best in the Majors in Framing, 2nd in Pop Time, and 2nd in Caught Stealing Above Average. He ranked 6th, throwing out 15 base stealers.
Bailey was taken with the 13th overall pick in 2020.
Catcher Andrew Knizner entered the year on thin ice with the St. Louis Cardinals organization and the fanbase, but by seasons end, he became a fan favorite. Despite the fact that he is behind starter Willson Contreras, Knizner played 70 games, and looked like a starting MLB catcher in many of them. Knizner finished with a career high in batting average (.241), Runs (30), 2B (11), HR (10), RBI (31), SLG (.424) and OPS (.712). Technically Knizner doesn’t become an undrafted free agent until 2026, signing a 1-year $1.1 million contract in arbitration prior to the season.
Knizner was taken in the 7th round in 2016.
Pitcher Evan Justice was called up to the Colorado Rockies for a brief stint in his first season of professional baseball. Things didn’t go well after the call up, posting an 8.59 ERA in 9 appearances, striking out 7 batters in 7.1 innings. As a result, he was optioned back down to Triple-A. In 2023, Justice pitched in A, AA, AAA and the majors. In the minors, he had an impressive 6-1 record with a 3.49 ERA, striking out an impressive 63 batters in 38.2 innings. Opponents batting average against him was a putrid .131, and his WHIP was 1.11.
Justice was taken in the 5th round in 2021.
PI EXCLUSIVE: AJ Cole Shares His NC State Story
Former NC State Punter A.J. Cole is now a Pro Bowl Punter for the Las Vegas Raiders. Cole averaged 42.2 yards per punt while serving as the Wolfpack’s punter, which ranks 4th in school history. Since going undrafted in 2019, Cole was signed as a free agent by the Raiders, and he’s been their starter ever since. Cole was named to the Pro Bowl in 2021 and 2022, and earned 1st Team All Pro honors in 2021.
I caught up with Cole, and he shared how he ended up as the punter at NC State, what his time in Raleigh meant to him, how being a Wolfpack football player prepared him for the NFL, what it’s like to play with and against former teammates, and what NC State means to him today.
I’ll let him share his story in his own words.
“I went to the NC State camp in the summer going into my Senior year. They were looking to scholarship a punter. I had started punting in December, right after my Junior season ended, so I was still super raw. The coach that was running the camp set up a competition for Coach Doeren to watch the Punters. To qualify for the competition, you had 2 chances to hit a 38-yard punt with 3.8 seconds of hang time, which is not that hard. I was pretty nervous though, and shanked my 2 qualifying punts. So they eliminated everyone that didn’t qualify and brought up the guys that were going to kick in front of Coach Doeren. Well, the coach running the camp yells at me to ‘come over,’ and I told him I didn’t qualify. He said “You sure? I’m pretty sure you did. Hop in the line.” So I hopped in the line, and kicked really well. Coach Doeren brought me up to his office after the camp, and offered me a scholarship on the spot
It was pretty funny though, because I had never punted in a game before. So when I got home, they asked me for my hudl highlight tape, so they could watch it as a staff, and I had to tell them I had never punted in a game before, but I’d send them my tape after a couple games.
My experience at NC State was incredible. The biggest thing I always tell people about State is the people are great. From teammates, to coaches, to professors, to the other students, I really just enjoyed the kind of person that NC State attracts. I had a chance to pursue 2 dreams while I was there. I got to chase an engineering degree and play football. Obviously, I’m doing the football thing right now, but if that hadn’t worked out, my NC State degree would have served me well. Raleigh, North Carolina means a lot to me, and it really helped shape me into the man I am.
I feel like NC State prepared me well for the NFL. Being in a consistently competitive environment in the ACC definitely helped adjusting to the level of competition in the league. The facilities are world class, and the strength and conditioning program helped me make some super crucial changes to my body that allowed me to reach my potential.
Playing with Jakobi Meyers again has been awesome. It’s cool to play at this level with guys that you knew from college. We always talk about how the Pack is doing, and we do some reminiscing on the Raleigh days. There’s so many NC State guys in the league right now, it feels like every week I’m seeing an old teammate. That’s really special.
I absolutely still keep up with NC State. I watch all the games I can, and my friends from college are still my best friends.