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

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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.

Underperformer

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

NC State’s 2023 Football Schedule has Arrived!

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NC State’s 2023 Football schedule was released yesterday.

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Notes

  • NC State will play all three in-state ACC rivals: UNC, Duke and Wake Forest
  • NC State has two Friday night games back to back: UVA & Louisville
  • NC State will play Quarterback Brennan Armstrong’s former team UVA on 9/22.
  • NC State will host Notre Dame for the 2nd time ever, and will face a familiar face in former Wake Forest Quarterback Sam Hartman.
  • In the first year without Divisions in the ACC, 5 of NC State’s 8 conference opponents will be teams that were in the Coastal Division last year: UVA, UNC, Miami, Duke, VT.
    • The three former Atlantic Division opponents are: Clemson, Wake Forest and Louisville

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NC State’s 2023 Football Recruiting Class has the Most 4-Star Players in the Dave Doeren Era

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NC State’s 2023 football recruiting class is currently ranked 30th nationally by ON3, but I think you can make an argument that this could be Dave Doeren’s best class since he’s been in Raleigh.

Currently, 9 of the 18 players that make up the class (not including collegiate transfers) are 4-star prospects. You would think a class that included 9 4-star prospects would be ranked higher than 30th, but the reason it isn’t, is because different recruiting services rank players differently.

This is the most 4-star players that Doeren has ever had in a single class.

2023 – 9
2022 – 7
2021 – 8
2020 – 3
2019 – 7
2018 – 6
2017 – 4
2016 – 2
2015 – 5
2014 – 6
2013 – 2

4-Star Players in the Wolfpack’s 2023 Recruiting Class

Safety Daemon Fagan (247, ON3, Rivals & ESPN)
Tight End Javonte Vereen (ON3 & ESPN)
Safety Zack Myers (247 & Rivals)
Running Back Kendrick Raphael (ESPN & Rivals)
JUCO Defensive Lineman Jykeveous Hibbler (ESPN)
JUCO Safety Bishop Fitzgerald (ON3)
Offensive Lineman Darion Rivers (ON3)
Wide Receiver Kevin Concepcion (Rivals)
Cornerback Brandon Cisse (ON3)

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Former NC State Defensive End Claude Larkins Commits to FIU

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Former NC State Defensive End Claude Larkins has committed to play for Florida International University.

On January 1st, Larkins made it official that he was entering the Transfer Portal.

Larkins only played 11 snaps in 1 game this season (Charleston Southern), and recorded 1 tackle. In 2021, he played 16 snaps in 1 game and recorded 2 tackles.

He was a 3-star recruit out of Hollywood, Florida, in the 2020 recruiting class, so heading to Miami puts him at around an hour from his hometown.

Larkins has three years of eligibility remaining.

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NC State will Host Notre Dame for their 2023 Football Home Opener

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It’s official. NC State’s football home opener will be against Notre Dame next Fall.

The Wolfpack defense will see a familiar face across the line of scrimmage throwing the pigskin. Former Wake Forest Quarterback Sam Hartman transferred to play for the Irish for his final year of eligibility.

This will mark the 4th time Hartman has faced NC State in his career.

Notre Dame finished the 2022 season ranked 18th in the AP Poll, with a 9-4 record.

This will mark the 4th time the Wolfpack have played the Irish, and the second time at home. The other time Notre Dame came to Raleigh, NC State won 10-3 in a hurricane. The Wolfpack have won 2 of their 3 games against the Irish.

The Wolfpack’s other non-conference opponents in 2023 will be at UCONN, and VMI and Marshall at home.

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