NC State Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson is a wizard.
After losing 6 of the 11 starters from the 2022 Wolfpack defense (7 if you count Tyler Baker-Williams, who was injured at the end of the season), Gibson somehow has the Wolfpack back as dominant as they were last year, if not more so.
Here’s a look at where NC State currently ranks in the Top-5 in the ACC and in the Top-25 in the nation in specific defensive team stats.
For comparison, in 2022, NC State ranked 10th in Rush Defense (100.7), 18th in Total Defense (326.9), 11th in Scoring Defense (19.2), 19th in Third Down Conversion Defense (.328), 3rd in Interceptions (19), 24th in Turnovers Gained (22), 12th in Passing Efficiency Defense (113.35), 14th in 1st Down Defense (16.5 per game), and 63rd in Sacks per game (2.15).
The 2022 defense was ranked higher than the 2023 defense in 5 of the 10 stats listed above, but if you look at the stats, and not the rankings, the 2023 defense is currently superior to the 2022 defense in 9 out of the 10 categories.
The only stat that the 2022 defense was superior in: Scoring Defense.
The 2022 defense allowed 19.2 points per game, and the 2023 team is allowing 19.4. That’s 2 tenths of a point.
The work that Gibson and his Defensive Staff put in to keep the Wolfpack defense at this level consistently is outstanding.
Like I said…Gibson’s a wizard.
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)