The 2017 Wolfpack might be the most experienced team in school history with a total of 22 seniors. For the first time in at least 25 years, the Wolfpack will return 11 senior starters: OG Tony Adams, TE Cole Cook and TE/FB Jaylen Samuels on offense and DE Bradley Chubb, DE Kentavius Street, DT Justin Jones, DT B.J. Hill, LB Airius Moore, LB Jerod Fernandez, CB Mike Stevens, and S Shawn Boone on defense. All eight returning starters on the defensive side of the ball are seniors.
In addition to that group, two seniors who sat out last season but have started multiple games in their careers - WR Jumichael Ramos and CB Johnathan Alston - will be back in action.
Those 13 players have played in a combined 595 games and boast 277 collective starts.
Here’s a look at the number of senior starters returning in Dave Doeren’s previous seasons:
- 2017 - 11 senior starters
- 2016 - 2 senior starters
- 2015 - 6 senior starters
- 2014 - 5 senior starters
- 2013 - 3 senior starters
UP AND COMERS
Despite the number of senior starters returning for 2017, there is also a strong class of juniors. The other returning starters on offense are all juniors: QB Ryan Finley, WR Nyheim Hines, WR Stephen Louis, OG Garrett Bradbury, OT Will Richardson and OT Tyler Jones.
In 2016, 21 juniors earned varsity letters, while 19 sophomores and 10 freshman also lettered.
The Wolfpack returns its front six starters on defense from a year ago. Four of the seven are already three-year starters for the Pack (Kentavius Street, B.J. Hill, Jerod Fernandez and Airius Moore). One is a two-year starter (Bradley Chubb), while Justin Jones started every game in 2016.
In terms of games played, those six have combined to play in 226 career contests. They’ve tallied 840 tackles, 117.5 tackles for loss and 38.5 sacks.
RBs TO MISS SPRING
Although the Wolfpack lost just three starters on offense, one of them leaves a particularly big statistical gap. RB Matt Dayes accounted for 49% (249 of 504) of the team’s carries last season and rushed for 1,166 yards.
Veteran Reggie Gallaspy will be limited during the first week of practice after undergoing offseason surgery. Johnny Frasier will miss all of spring ball after a November shoulder surgery and all-purpose player Nyheim Hines will be competing with the Wolfpack track squad at the ACC Indoor Championships this weekend and hopes to qualify for the NCAA meet.