To say the NC State football squad ended the 2016 season with great momentum would be a bit of an understatement. Dave Doeren’s Wolfpack won three of its last four games convincingly, earned a bowl victory against an SEC opponent and loses just a handful of starters from a team that only lost two games by more than a touchdown.
The Wolfpack jumped out to big leads in its last two outings - 21-0 at UNC and 28-3 vs. Vanderbilt in the Camping World Independence Bowl - and turned the ball over just one time in each of its last two games. The offense was 6-9 in the red zone in the last two games, while the defense tallied 13 tackles for loss over that time frame.
NC State posted it’s fourth-best total offense mark (5,417 yards) in school history and the top mark in Doeren’s tenure. Defensively, the Pack finished the season ranked eighth nationally in rushing defense (108.6 ypg).
His 13 touchdowns for the season tied as the seventh-best mark in school history and he will enter his senior campaign with 31 career TDs - the seventh-best career mark ever by a Wolfpack player. The most versatile scorer in school history, Samuels is the only player among the top 25 Wolfpack scorers to have his touchdowns so equally divided between rushing (16) and receiving (15).
Samuels has led the Wolfpack in receiving and touchdown receptions each of the past two seasons.
Five different Wolfpack players turned in eight 100-yard receiving games in 2016. No other school nationally had more individuals with 100-yard games. The Wolfpack loses only one of those players - senior Bra’Lon Cherry who had one 100-yard game, while Stephen Louis (3), Jaylen Samuels (2), Kelvin Harmon (1), and Nyheim Hines (1) are all expected to return in 2017. Add veteran Ramos to the mix and the wide receiving corps is stacked.