Head Coach Dave Doeren announced today at his weekly press conference that Sophomore MJ Morris would be NC State’s Quarterback going forward, beginning this weekend against Marshall.
Here’s what Doeren had to say about the decision.
“It’s clear that we need a spark on that side of the ball. MJ Morris is going to take over as our starting quarterback. He is ready to lead the offense. As I stated in the past when I was asked, it was my plan, and our plan to redshirt MJ and allow him an opportunity to develop behind Brennan Armstrong, but plans sometimes need to change. The time is now, because it’s what’s best for our team. MJ’s excited for the opportunity to lead the football team. I do believe that he’s ready.
Brennan will be a great teammate to MJ, just as MJ has been to Brennan in his role. Brennan has a role on our team. He’s a very competitive, tough guy. He understands this is what’s best for the team right now and what’s needed. I got tremendous respect for him and what he’s gone through, but for what this team needs right now, it needs a spark. I do believe MJ can be that for our offense.
Ever since MJ’s been here, he’s come to practice with great energy. He’s always done that. Each week since coach Anae’s got here, you can see him growing in the offense. That part is now second thought to him. In the Spring, he was learning it…now he knows it. He’s always been an encourager to guys around him. He’s got a positive outlook. The way he can throw the football, he can do that pretty well. There’s certain things that he brings to the table. I think more than anything right now, he’s in a really good headspace. He’s excited. I think that’s the spark that we need.
He’s got a very calming effect on game day. He’s not a guy where the lights are too big. He jumped in as a Freshman and went and played. Some guys, you’d see them shrink in those scenarios…he doesn’t. He’s the same guy in games as he is in practice.
The decision to redshirt MJ at the beginning of the year was about development. It wasn’t about ‘he’s not a good player.’ We went with experience and wanted to give him a chance to have an extended period of time to be healthy and develop as a player. I think it served him well. He looks really good right now. We’re bailing on that a little earlier than expected, but he got an entire offseason and all of training camp and the whole month of September here under his belt. He feels good. It’s what the team needs
I came in Saturday. I watched the game a bunch of times and then sat down with the coaches on offense. We watched a bunch of it together and talked about the season so far…talked about where we’re at, and where we need to go. Then Sunday when we came back in and made that decision. I met with those guys individually and let them know what we were doing. They both handled it as good teammates and competitors would.
Like I said, Brennan’s going to be a great teammate. He handled a very tough conversation as well as you possibly can. I think my respect for him has always been high because he’s a super competitive dude, but he is an excellent teammate. He handled it as well as you can hope. You’ll see that. You’ll see him leading. He’ll be on the sideline cheering guys on throughout the game. If he’s needed to play, he’s going to play. He’ll come in and play hard.
Brennan knows the offense well. He’s been through a lot as a player. He’ll be a great sounding board. He’ll have energy down there for guys. He’ll cheer guys on. He’s going to be a good teammate down there…I guarantee that. I know that he’ll do a good job helping MJ and the other guys around him.
It’s hard. We all know why anyone transfers and has 1 year left. They want to finish out and have a great year. Like I said, this is a guy you want on your team. Brennan’s tough. He competes his butt off. He puts his body on the line every week and runs through people. He’s a good guy…He’s a good person.
Whenever you have to have tough conversations with anyone who does everything he can do and works really hard and it’s not going well. That’s not easy for anybody in life. Speak to him from the heart. Tell him you love him. This is what’s best for the organization. He understands that. He’s a great guy. But to answer your question, yeah. Delivering hard news as a leader is never the fun part of the job, but it’s also a necessary thing.
NC State LB Payton Wilson Wins the Bednarik Award!
NC State’s Payton Wilson won the Butkus Award earlier this week, naming him the best Linebacker in college football. Tonight he won the Bednarik Award, which has been given out annually to the best defensive player in college football since 1995.
Wilson beat out Alabama Linebacker Dallas Turner and UCLA’s Defensive End Laiatu Latu.
Prior to this week, no NC State Linebacker had ever won the Butkus Award. Prior to tonight, no NC State defensive player had ever won the Bednarik Award.
Below is a list of the former Bednarik Award winners.
In one week, Wilson has done what no other Linebacker of defensive player at NC State has ever done.
Go ahead and retire the #11 already!
Wake Forest Transfer WR Welsey Grimes Commits to NC State!
NC State just picked up their first transfer of the 2024 class, and it’s a big one. Former Wake Forest Wide Receiver Wesley Grimes (6’2″/187) just committed to run with the Wolfpack.
As a Sophomore this season, Grimes caught 20 passes for 339 yards and 4 touchdowns in 12 games. As a True Freshman last year, he played in his 6 games, collecting 4 receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown.
In all reality, Grimes is coming home. He was a 4-Star prospect out of Millbrook High School here in Raleigh. ON3, 247Sports and Rivals all ranked Grimes as a Top-250 prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, with Rivals ranking him as the #36 overall player nationally, the #4 Wide Receiver, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina.
From a recruiting rankings standpoint, Grimes instantly becomes the highest ranked player on NC State’s roster. Since he played as a True Freshman, Grimes has 3 seasons to play 2 years of eligibility.
Back in 2021, Grimes chose the Demon Deacons over NC State, Tennessee, Duke and Louisville. On December 8th, 2023, Grimes decided to come back home and run with the Pack.
Kansas State will be Without Their Offensive Coordinator & Starting Quarterback Against NC State
Kansas State will be without their Offensive Coordinator and starting Quarterback when they face NC State in the Pop-Tarts Bowl on December 28th.
New Texas A&M head coach Mike Elko, who just left the same position at Duke, paid big bucks to hire Wildcats Offensive Coordinator Collin Klein as his OC, who had been serving in the position at Kansas State for the past 2 seasons. For the past 7 seasons, Klein has served as the Wildcats Quarterbacks Coach.
This season, Kansas State ranks 23rd in Total Offense (446.1) and 14th in Rushing Offense (199.7).
As Quarterbacks Coach, he helped develop four-year starter Will Howard, who announced he would be entering the Transfer Portal on November 27th. This season, Howard earned 2nd Team All-Big 12 honors. In 12 games, he threw for 2,643 yards and 24 touchdowns (10 interceptions). Howard also rushed for 351 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Howard will be replaced by Freshman Avery Johnson. There was speculation that Johnson might follow Klein to Texas A&M, but he will be starting for the Wildcats in Orlando against the Wolfpack.
NC State’s Kevin Concepcion Earns Freshman All-American Status from The Athletic
NC State Wide Receiver Kevin Concepcion has been named a Freshman All-American by The Athletic.
Here’s what they had to say about KC:
WR Kevin Concepcion, NC State: “KC” easily won ACC Rookie of the Year this season after catching 64 passes for 767 yards, rushing for 297 yards on 7.8 yards per carry and scoring 11 total touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 187-pound slot receiver from Charlotte was a three-star signee who proved he should start right away as a true freshman. Over his last seven games, Concepcion has averaged 117 total yards per game. (The Athletic)