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Auburn Transfer Safety Donovan Kaufman Commits to NC State

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NC State just picked up a commitment from Auburn Transfer Safety Donovan Kaufman (5’10”/204). Kaufman took an Official Visit to NC State on the weekend of January 26th, after entering the Portal on the 16th.

Rivals ranked Kaufman as a 4-Star prospect in the 2020 recruiting class. They ranked him as the #186 overall player nationally, the #11 Safety, and the #9 player in the state of Louisiana. Out of high school, Kaufman committed to Vanderbilt.

In his first season of college football, Kaufman played 2 games (started) for the Commodores as a True Freshman, collecting 15 tackles and a pass breakup in limited action.

In 2021, Kaufman transferred to Auburn, where he played in 13 games as a Freshman (2020 didn’t count against eligibility due to Covid), starting in 7 of them. In 414 snaps, Kaufman had 33 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups and 3 forced fumbles.

In 2022, Kaufman was the returning starter at Safety, starting in the first 7 games, before suffering an injury that kept him out of the final 4 games. Still, he played in 459 snaps, which was a new career high. As a Sophomore, Kaufman recorded a career high 39 tackles, as well as 2 pass breakups and 1 forced fumble. His PFF grade was 72.1 that year, which is the best grade of his career.

This past season, Kaufman started in 4 of the 12 games he played in, recording 395 snaps. As a Junior, Kaufman had 37 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery and 2 forced fumbles.

Kaufman has played 1,369 collegiate snaps in 34 career games, starting in 18.

NC State is returning both of their starting Safeties from 2023 in Devan Boykin and Sean Brown. Boykin is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in December, but I’m hopeful he will be full go by the start of the 2024 season. Robert Kennedy III started for the Wolfpack at Nickel this past year, and he has run out of eligibility leaving a hole there. I could see Boykin moving to Nickel. Either way, there will be a starting role open at Nickel, or one of the Safety positions if Boykin moved to Safety.

Adding a player with Kaufman’s experience into the Wolfpack’s secondary is tremendous at this point from the Transfer Portal. Don’t be surprised if he is competing for the starting job at Nickel or Safety this Fall.

Matthew is Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He writes for all sports, with a focus on football and recruiting, and is in charge of business strategy. He is an NC State alum who majored in business. Matthew is also the lead pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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NC State Football

WATCH: PackInsider’s Kevin Concepcion Freshman Highlight Reel

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Kevin Concepcion had one of the best seasons by a Freshman in the history of the NC State football program. He was named the ACC Rookie of the Year and earned Freshman All-American honors. Concepcion finished his first collegiate season with 71 receptions for 839 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also rushed the ball for 320 yards, averaging 7.8 yards per carry. Concepcion broke NC State’s Freshman records for receptions and touchdown receptions.

Check out PackInsider’s Highlight Reel of Kevin Concepcion’s Freshman season ABOVE.

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NC State Football

Vegas is Higher on NC State Heading Into 2024 Than They Were Heading Into Last Year

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The bookmakers in Las Vegas have released their odds for total regular season wins for the 2024 College Football season, and NC State is sitting at 8.5. For perspective, entering the 2023 season, the number was 6.5, and the Wolfpack went on to win 9.

Here’s a look at Vegas’ opinion of the rest of the ACC heading into 2024:

FSU – 9.5
Clemson – 9.5
Miami – 9.5
NC State – 8.5
Louisville – 8.5
UNC – 8.5
SMU – 7.5
Virginia Tech – 7.5
Duke – 6.5
California – 6.5
Syracuse – 6.5
Pitt – 5.5
Georgia Tech – 5.5
Boston College – 4.5
Virginia – 4.5
Wake Forest – 4.5
Stanford – 3.5

(FanDuel)

What are your thoughts? Are you taking the Over or the Under on NC State? Or what are your thoughts on any of the other teams?

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NC State Football

ESPN Includes NC State in Their 2024 College Football Way-Too-Early Preseason Top-25

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ESPN recently released their 2024 College Football Way-Too-Early Preseason Top-25, and they ranked NC State 18th.

1. Georgia
2. Ohio State
3. Oregon
4. Texas
5. Notre Dame
6. Ole Miss
7. Mizzou
8. Penn State
9. Alabama
10. Utah
11. Arizona
12. LSU
13. Michigan
14. Oklahoma
15. Florida State
16. Tennessee
17. Oklahoma State
18. NC State
19. Clemson
20. Kansas State
21. Louisville
22. Kansas
23. Kentucky
24. Miami
25. Texas A&M

ACC Teams in the Way-Too-Early Top-25

15. FSU
18. NC State
19. Clemson
21. Louisville
24. Miami

Here’s what they had to say about the Wolfpack:

18. NC State Wolfpack

Previous ranking: 20

2023 record: 9-4, 6-2 ACC

Winter update: The Wolfpack should be much more explosive on offense after adding former Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall and some nice playmakers around him. McCall passed for more than 10,000 yards with 106 total touchdowns with the Chanticleers. The Wolfpack also added Jordan Waters, who was Duke’s leading rusher with 819 yards and 12 scores in 2023. Eight new receivers are coming in, including Noah Rogers (Ohio State) and Wesley Grimes (Wake Forest). Tight end Justin Joly was very productive at UConn. Safety Donovan Kaufman (Auburn) and cornerbacks Tamarcus Cooley (Maryland) and Devon Marshall (Villanova) might help fill some holes in the secondary. (ESPN)

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NC State Football

247Sports Includes NC State in Their 2024 College Football Way-Too-Early Top-25

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247Sports has released their updated 2024 College Football Way-Too-Early Top-25, after signing day and coaching changes, and they included NC State at #21.

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ACC Teams in the Way-Too-Early Top-25

12. Miami

15. Clemson

18. FSU

20. Louisville

21. NC State

23. Virginia Tech

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