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Catching up with the pack Wolfpack Football Notes

#Pack19

The entire 2019 squad is now on campus, as the final members of #Pack19

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STEalthwolf

The Wolfpack debuted the new white camp uniforms that will be worn on Military Appreciation Day vs. Syracuse.

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QB Competition

The downside to the fact that the Wolfpack will boast five NFL quarterbacks this season is that very little experience returns at that position for the 2019 season. The good news is that the Wolfpack has a talented roster of signal callers, although the starter may not be announced until the first game.

The only returnee for 2019 with any game experience is RS-sophomore Matthew McKay. McKay saw action in five games last season, completing 7 of 8 pass attempts for 87 yards, while rushing for 36 yards on 13 carries and scoring a touchdown. That experience, combined with a solid spring outing in 2019, definitely gives him the edge heading into fall camp.

The only other contender who was on the 2018 squad is RS-freshman Devin Leary, who sat out last season after a prep career that saw him make the finals of the prestigious Elite 11 competition and win the Gatorade Player of the Year award for the state of New Jersey.

Transfer Bailey Hockman also enrolled in January of 2019. The RS-sophomore started his career at Florida State but has not played collegiately.

Ty Evans is a 2019 early enrollee who also made it to the Elite 11 finals and was the Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year.

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It's 5 o'clock somewhere

Wolfpack Nation is known for many things, including selling out venues, supporting NC State athletics with passion and noise, and an antipathy towards 12 p.m. kickoffs. With acres and acres of parking surrounding Carter-Finley Stadium, pregame tailgating is something the Pack fanbase takes pretty seriously.

The Wolfpack’s recent success on the field has translated to more televised games, which has in turn meant more of those early kickoffs. WPN’s angst in 2018 - when five of the squad’s seven home games kicked off before 1 p.m. - caused head coach Dave Doeren to steal a line from Jimmy Buffett at his weekly press conference: “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.,” he quipped when asked about the early starts.

But Doeren knows that his squad’s record in those early kickoffs makes it difficult to take offense. NC State has won 14 straight games with kickoffs of 1 p.m. or earlier - dating back to 2016. The Pack has won its last seven early kicks at Carter-Finley Stadium and also has won its last eight early kicks on the road or at neutral sites.

In fact, the Pack posted a perfect 7-0 record in early kicks’ last season. The offense posted 38.9 points a game under the midday sun, winning those seven contests by an average of 23.9 points. In 2017, the Pack was also perfect with an early start time, going 5-0.

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leaders of the pack

Wolfpack fans may be able to tell the players without a program in 2019, but might struggle a bit with the coaching staff. NC State has four new assistant coaches, two new quality control coaches and three new graduate assistant coaches for 2019.

The Wolfpack lost three coaches on the offensive side of the ball following the 2018 season (one left to be a head coach, one to be an offensive coordinator and another to the NFL). Dave Doeren was able to replace those three with experienced new coaches John Garrison (OL), Todd Goebbel (TE/FB/Special Teams) and Kurt Roper (QB). On defense, Tony Gibson is serving as co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach.

Clockwise: John Garrison, Tony Gibson, Todd Goebbel, Kurt Roper

The new QC coaches are Billy Dicken (defense) and Worth Gregory (special teams). Two of the three new GAs aren’t new to Wolfpack football, as former WR Gavin Locklear and former OT Alex Barr are now working with the offense, while Larry Scott is a new defensive graduate assistant.

The Wolfpack also has new offensive coordinators for 2019. Des Kitchings, who has been on staff since 2012, and George McDonald, who joined the Pack in 2015, are now co-offensive coordinators.

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back-to-back-to-back

In 2016, Wolfpack running back Matthew Dayes became the first NC State player since 2002 to go over the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Dayes ran for 1,166 yards that season before being drafted by the Cleveland Browns the next spring.

In 2017, Nyheim Hines converted from receiver to running back and turned in 1,112 rushing yards - marking the first time since 1973-74 that two different Pack backs had rushed for 1,000+ yards in consecutive seasons Willie Burden and Stan Fritts in 1973 and ‘74.

When Reggie Gallaspy, Jr., rushed for 1,091 yards last season, it marked the first time in school history that a different back had rushed for 1,000+ yards in three consecutive seasons.

NC State is one of only three schools in the Power 5 conferences to boast 1,000-yard individual rushing performances each of the past three seasons

Only three schools in the Power 5 conferences (five in the FBS) have boasted at least one 1,000-yard rusher each of the past two seasons and NC State and Oklahoma are the only schools that have boasted three different 1,000-yard rushers each of those seasons.

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Who's special?

It’s been four years since a player other than A.J. Cole, III, punted the football for the Wolfpack or a player other than Tyler Griffiths snapped for a punt or a kick (the last time was 12/26/14 to be exact).

Those two have graduated and moved on, which leaves both jobs open for 2019. The Pack has two punters on the roster: Aussie Mackenzie Morgan, who sat out last season after transferring, and redshirt sophomore Trenton Gill.

The one specialist who is returning for 2019 is a pretty special specialist. As a true freshman, Christopher Dunn set the NC State single-season field goal record in 2018 with 21 kicks, as well as the school mark for points scored with 120. He has connected on his last 15 field goals - the second-longest streak in school history.

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FROM FOE TO FRIEND

For just the second time in recent history, the Wolfpack will have a player competing for it that has previously played against it. In 2016, Joe Scelfo started at center for NC State after starting at that same position against the Wolfpack the previous year for South Alabama. This season, graduate transfer wide receiver Tabari Hines will attempt to do the same.

Hines spent his first three years at Wake Forest, where he started 24 games - including two against NC State. In three career contests against the Wolfpack, Hines pulled down 22 catches for 306 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair of 100+ receiving games (the top two receiving games of his career).

In 2018, Hines (who is a cousin of former Wolfpack RB Nyheim Hines) was named ACC Receiver of the Week for his performance against NC State, when he had eight receptions for career-highs of 139 yards and three touchdowns.

After graduating from Wake Forest, Hines transferred to Oregon prior to the 2018 season, but ended up redshirting for the Ducks.

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No. 1!

Since 2014, NC State head coach Dave Doeren has honored a member of the Wolfpack squad by giving them the No. 1 jersey. For 2019, graduate defensive end James Smith-Williams will don that special number.

Smith-Williams, who started every game he played during the 2018 season, graduated in December with a degree in business supply chain management and a 3.0+ GPA. He tallied 9.5 tackles for loss and six sacks, while also earning Academic All-ACC honors in 2018. His diligence in the Wolfpack’s strength and conditioning program has helped him gain 60 lbs. since his freshman campaign.

The Raleigh native has spent the past two summers working as a paid intern for IBM and that prestigious corporation has already offered him a full-time job whenever his football career is complete. He also serves as vice president of NC State Athletics’ Student-Athlete Advisory Council. He recently organized a donation drive for victims of domestic violence.

“Our goal as a program is to help our players chase two dreams: life with football and life without football; and to develop them academically, athletically and socially,” said Doeren. “James has grown and excelled in those areas. He has been a tremendous leader for us, has always made great decisions and has done things the right way on and off the field. I’m very proud to see his hard work pay off and look forward to seeing him continue to improve this season.”

WR Stephen Louis wore the honored jersey in 2018, two-time All-ACC all-purpose back Jaylen Samuels was honored in 2016 and 2017, and safety Hakim Jones was honored in 2015. Safety Jarvis Byrd, who had come back from three torn ACLs to play his senior campaign, wore No. 1 for the 2014 season.

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BROTHERHOOD

Although the members of the Wolfpack football team would tell you that their teammates are their brothers, six members of the 2019 squad can say that literally. There are three sets of brothers on the 2019 roster: the Dabbs, the Thomases and the McKays.

The Dabbs twins - WR Tyler and RB Will are returning for their redshirt junior campaigns. Thayer Thomas is a redshirt sophomore who was the Pack’s fourth-leading receiver last season, while his brother Drake is a linebacker who graduated high school early and enrolled in January.

Timothy and Matthew McKay, Drake and Thayer Thomas and Will and Tyler Dabbs

By the time the 2019 season starts, there will actually be three McKay brothers enrolled at NC State (although just two on the football squad). Matthew is a redshirt sophomore quarterback, Timothy is a true freshman offensive lineman who enrolled in January and their older brother, Travis graduated with a degree in engineering from UMBC this spring and has been accepted to graduate school at NC State.

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