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PI Predictions: Offensive Sleepers, Breakouts and Underperformer Predictions from our Writers



With the season just a couple of weeks away, it’s time to put it all on the line and start making predictions. Our writers will take a shot at predicting the Offensive Sleepers, Breakouts, and Busts for NC State’s coming season. Here are the definitions:

Sleeper: A player who is being overlooked and will outperform their consensus expectation

Breakout: A player who will emerge and have a year far better than their prior season’s output

Underperformer: A player who will not meet their consensus expectation

Top Sleeper

Joey Wolferetti: Delbert Mimms, RB
When you look at this Wolfpack team, the one spot that I think we all can agree is a big question mark is running back. With Person and Knight gone, State is going to rely on Jordan Houston and while I think he’s going to do fine, I don’t think he’s a workhorse type. I think NC State is going to need to pair him up with a bruiser, and while the popular pick is going to be Demie Sumo-Karngbaye, I’m going to take a gamble and bet on Mimms eventually playing a big role for this team. He’s big, strong, and really churns those legs. It might take a few weeks but Mimms is my sleeper.

Matthew Bradham: Demi Sumo-Karngbaye, RB
After the exodus of Ricky Person and Zonovan Knight, the running back position is one of the question marks of the Wolfpack offense headed into 2022. It is assumed that Junior Jordan Houston will be the next man up, and I fully expect him to be the first running back to trot out on the field on September 3rd in Greenville against ECU. With that being said, I also expect NC State to continue to have a Running Back-by-Committee, as they have the past three seasons. I’ve loved Houston since he debuted averaging 5.2 yards per carry in 2019. With that being said, I don’t foresee him being a back that runs the ball 20+ times per game. The Running Back room is talented behind Houston, with Delbert Mimms, Michael Allen and Micah Crowell, but I’m putting my money on Demi Sumo being the sleeper to make an impact most don’t expect in 2022. The buzz around Sumo since Spring camp has been substantial. If you watch his high school tape, he has impeccable vision, makes people miss, and also lined up at receiver and ran crisp routes and had sticky hands. Don’t sleep on Sumo.


Breakout Player

Joey Wolferetti: Anthony Smith, WR
NC State is going to rely on Devin Leary quite a bit this season, and if he’s going to be stud we all think he is, then he’s going to need some elite targets on the receiving end. Thayer Thomas is going to lead this team in receptions, but I’m going to predict Anthony Smith breaks out in a big way. The sophomore is 6’2, fast, and has great hands. He was targeted 7 times in the Spring Game, tied for the most with Thomas, and he caught 3 of those for 67 yards and a TD. Two of those catches were really difficult to haul in. I think Smith emerges as one of Leary’s top targets, especially downfield.

Matthew Bradham: Julian Gray, WR
In High School Gray ran a 4.49 laser-timed 40. He ran a 10.7 100-yard sprint. The former 4-star prospect can fly. I could be wrong, but I can’t think of a wideout that has had more buzz in Fall Camp than Gray, whether it’s been Doeren talking about him, Tim Beck talking about him, and his Quarterback talking about him. This week Leary said that Gray was an “outstanding talent…a special player.” He can play in the slot and he can play out wide. In the ACC Network’s All-Acess, we got a glimpse of the damage he was doing on the NC State secondary (which is good) in the recent scrimmage.

In a crowded Wide Receiver room, I’m calling Gray to be the breakout Wolfpack player on offense.


Joey Wolferetti: Devin Carter, WR
First, let me state that I think Devin Carter is going to have a fine year, and this is going to be a real unpopular pick with most of you, but I just think Carter fails to meet expectations. Now, expectations are pretty high for Carter, which is why I think at the end of the year, you’ll look at his stats and see the season as a success for him, however because of my predicted emergence of Smith, the connections Leary has with Thayer, and Pennix likely grabbing a bunch of targets, I think Carter fades back a little bit. His inconsistency last year bit State, and I hope those drops are behind him, but I think with all the competition at WR, I’ll have to go with Carter as my underperformer.

Matthew Bradham: Chris Toudle, TE
I hate my own selection. I freaking love Chris Toudle, and I think he will have a solid season in 2022. With that being said, my gut says Trent Pennix is going to outshine Toudle. Pennix, played his first three seasons at Running Back, but switched to Tight End last season, and poured it on at the end of the year, making 12 of his 16 catches in the final 5 games. Please hear me say that I’m not saying Pennix is Jaylen Samuels, but I think he has the ability to be used more creatively in the NC State offense than Toudle. Maybe that’s why the ACC Digital Network ranked him as the #2 Tight End returning in the ACC heading into the year.

I was supposed to write about how Toudle was going to underperform, and I ended up writing about Trent Pennix. Oh well.



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NC State Football

Dave Doeren Led the Hurricanes to a Game 1 Victory Over Devils



NC State Head Football Coach Dave Doeren helped lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a Game 1 victory over the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 of the 2nd Round of the playoffs. Doeren was ferocious in sounding the siren.

The Canes demolished the Devils 5-1 last night. Go Canes!

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NC State Football

Which NC State Players Signed with NFL Teams as Undrafted Free Agents?



Chandler Zavala was the only player from NC State that was drafted this past weekend in the 2023 NFL Draft. So which Wolfpack players signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents?

NC State has quite a few players playing in the NFL that went undrafted: Defensive Tackle T.Y. McGill, Running Back Zonovan Knight, and Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers.

The Chargers organization must have liked what was going on in Raleigh, signing 3 Wolfpack players as undrafted free agents.

The Bolts signed Safety Tanner Ingle.

Also heading to Los Angeles is Defensive Back Tyler Baker-Williams.

Los Angeles might have found their kicker of the future in Christopher Dunn.

Linebacker Isaiah Moore has signed with the reigning Super Bowl Champs in Kansas City.

Moore is joining former Wolfpacker Joe Thuney in KC.

Wide Receiver Thayer Thomas has signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Thomas is joining former Wolfpacker Garrett Bradbury in Minnesota.

Thayer’s brother, Linebacker Drake Thomas signed with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Thomas joins former Wolfpacker’s Jakobi Meyers (WR) and A.J. Cole (P).

Cornerback Derrek Pitts has signed with Tampa Bay.

Defensive Tackle Cory Durden has signed with the Detroit Lions.

Durden joins former Wolfpacker Alim McNeil, who also plays Defensive Tackle.

Finally, Punter Shane McDonough is a rookie mini-camp invitee.


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NC State Football

Chandler Zavala was NC State’s Lone Draft Pick in 2023



Surprisingly, NC State only had one player taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. Unsurprisingly, Offensive Lineman Chandler Zavala was that singular player.

The Carolina Panthers drafted Zavala in the 4th round with the 114th overall pick.

This marks the second year in a row that the Panthers have selected an offensive linemen from NC State, drafting Ikem Ekwonu with the 6th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Zavala and Ekwonu played beside one another in Raleigh on the left side, and there’s a chance that they will eventually do the same thing on Sunday’s for Carolina.

Zavala is coming off of a season where he earned 1st Team All-ACC honors, and didn’t give up a single sack.

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NC State’s Demie Sumo-Karngbaye Enters Transfer Portal



NC State Running Back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye has officially entered the Transfer Portal. As a Redshirt Freshman this past season, he rushed for 305 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and 3 touchdowns. Sumo-Karngbaye also had 12 receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown.

Demie was electric to start the season, but battled injuries all season long. In conference play, he was limited, only rushing the ball 16 times for 53 yards (3.3 yards per carry) with 0 touchdowns.

There’s no denying that the Wolfpack Running Back room is crowded. From the beginning of the season, Sumo-Karngbaye shared carries with Jordan Houston, who is once again returning this season. After Sumo-Karngbaye continued to miss action due to injuries, True Freshman Michael Allen stepped in and proved to be more than ready for the spotlight, averaging 5.1 yards per carry (53 carries), with most of those carries coming against ACC opponents. Not to mention the fact that True Freshman Kendrick Raphael will look to make an instant impact this Fall.

With all of this being said, I don’t get this move. At the end of the day, every young man has to make the decision they think is best, but Sumo-Karngbaye had every reason to to expect significant playing time in 2023, as long as he could prove to stay healthy.

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