Tag Archives: NC State Football

Wolfpack duo reunited by Patriots in third round of 2016 NFL draft

For the last two seasons, Jacoby Brissett has lined up alongside Joe Thuney in Carter-Finley Stadium. On Friday night, NC State’s offensive duo went their separate ways when Thuney was selected by the New England Patriots.

That lasted about 40 minutes.

Thuney was taken with the 78th overall pick in the third round at 10:17 p.m. Brissett, projected to go in the sixth round by CBS Sports, was nabbed by the Patriots with the 91st overall pick in the third round at 10:56 p.m.

“No way, that’s awesome!” Thuney told media following the news that Brissett was also picked by the Pats. “Couldn’t be happier for him.”

It couldn’t be a more perfect situation for Thuney. The versatile offensive lineman played any position the NC State coaching staff asked him to during his time in Raleigh. Thuney noted that he “embraced it” when coaches texted him about slotting at a different position each week.

Blessed with great athleticism, Thuney doesn’t quite possess the typical size to play on the outside. Also blessed with high intelligence – he graduated after his junior year at State – Thuney knows his worth. “I think I see myself more as an interior guy, more of a guard or center,” he said.

Thuney also became the first offensive lineman drafted in the first round from NC State since Chris Colmer in 2005. Colmer was taken 91st overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, playing two seasons in the NFL before being cut in 2007. He passed away on December 28, 2010.

Not only was Thuney the first player from NC State selected in the draft, he was also the first from a North Carolina school. Despite having a second-to-third round projection, Jeremy Cash was not selected in the first three rounds of the draft.

Thirteen picks later, Brissett became the second NC player selected.

Similar to Thuney, Brissett carried a sixth-round projection, but was snatched by the Patriots just before the second night concluded. Brissett joins Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon as NC State quarterbacks currently on an NFL roster.

Brissett transferred from Florida to State, sitting out the 2013 season before winning the starting job in 2014. His first year in Raleigh opened eyes, but his second saw him set career-bests in 2015 with 237 completions and 2,662 passing yards.

“He’s a guy that’s hit or miss for me,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said about Brissett. “He’s got the size and he’s got the arm. But in some of those games that I watched, there’s something missing that bothered me a bit.”

The fit makes sense for both Thuney and Brissett with New England.

Sebastian Vollmer is a free agent after this season and Nate Solder after the 2017 season, making the need for a tackle very real in the near future. As for Brissett, he will have a chance to battle Jimmy Garoppolo for the starting nod in the season opener with Tom Brady suspended for the first four games.

As for the future, Brissett now knows he has at least one lineman he can rely on. According to Pro Football Focus, Thuney allowed just two sacks, one QB hit and four hurries last season. With his versatility and Brissett’s size, the Patriots have two Pack prospects at positions of need in the years to come.

4 observations from the NC State Kay Yow Spring Game

For the first time since December, NC State fans got the opportunity to see football back at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday. It wasn’t as intense or organized as the fall, but the Spring Game gave the fanbase a glimpse into the past and future.

Prior to the start of the game, Wolfpack alums Torry Holt and Philip Rivers walked the sidelines again. During the game, Johnny Frasier and Nyheim Hines both scored touchdowns as the red team blew out the white team, 47-0.

Jalan McClendon passed for a touchdown while Jakobi Meyers rushed for one in he first half. With the Kay Yow Spring Game officially in the books, here’s a look at four observations from Saturday’s exhibition.


1. Meyers, McClendon State Their Case

NC State quarterback Jalan McClendon (2) after practice on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Madeline Gray/North State Journal)
NC State quarterback Jalan McClendon (2) after practice on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Madeline Gray/North State Journal)

The starting nod for the season opener against William & Mary was still up in the air heading into the Red and White Game. After Saturday, that’s still the case.

Both Jalan McClendon and Jakobi Meyers had their flashes for the red team, with McClendon getting it done through the air and Meyers looking sharp in the running game.

Despite harsh wind conditions, McClendon finished 13-for-18 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown to Maurice Trowell.  Donning the green non-contact jersey, McClendon didn’t show off his legs.

Meanwhile, Meyers wowed the fans with a 14-yard rushing touchdown to close out the first half. He compiled 40 rushing yards on 10 attempts while going 12-for-20 with 117 passing yards and a touchdown to Clark Eyers.

Neither has played against ACC competition to this point, but having two capable quarterbacks to choose from is a problem Eli Drinkwitz is happy to have.


2. Running Game Looks Stacked

Whoever takes the reins under center for NC State will be able to hand the ball off to a plethora of running backs.

Hines looked strong for the red team in the early going, rushing for a total of 72 yards on just nine carries with a touchdown. He showed the same zip in the backfield he has in the past at Garner and the Pack last season.

Following a dominant first quarter from the red team offensive line and Hines, Frasier made the switch over to the red sidelines. With the switch, State faithful got a look at No. 22 busting his way through four tacklers on the way to a 32-yard touchdown on his first drive. Frasier followed that up with another touchdown from one yard out and finished with a total of 62 yards on 15 attempts.

Given the agility of Hines, speed of Reggie Gallaspy and vision of Matt Dayes, the Pack already seemingly had three backs to compete in the ACC. Tack on the power style of Frasier, and State’s backfield looks loaded heading into next season.


3. Refs Take Themselves Seriously

It was a Spring Game, but you wouldn’t know it by some of the calls made on Saturday. Sure, some would inspire tweets with “#ACCRefs,” but one was outright silly.

Following a hard hit by Mike Stevens, a reserve cornerback, the referee threw a flag near the spot. The call? Targeting. Stevens was ejected after hitting his own teammate. You can’t make this up.

I’m not entirely sure if this is a sign that targeting calls will be taken more seriously this season or if this official was taking himself a little too seriously. Either way, it was a sight to behold watching Stevens come to terms with getting disqualified from a Spring Game.


4. Philip Rivers is Still a God in Raleigh

Philip Rivers giving current NC State QB Jalan McClendon advice.

A video posted by Cory Smith (@rcorysmith) on

No matter how few and far between his visits are to Raleigh, Rivers is still cherished by NC State fans. While taking the field following the coin toss, Rivers was cheered for louder than the actual team running out of the tunnel.

The Chargers quarterback made the rounds, posing with current coach Dave Doeren and shaking the hands with every coach or player that outstretched their hand. Before he exited Carter-Finley Stadium, Rivers also gave some sage advice to McClendon on the red team sidelines.

Sure, guys like Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon have left their mark on Wolfpack faithful, but Rivers is still a God.

5 things to watch: NC State football Kay Yow Spring Game

RALEIGH – College basketball is now in the rearview mirror and we can all now blissfully enjoy baseball and beautiful spring weather, right? Wrong.

It’s already football season – as if it ever truly stops – and the NC State football Spring Game is this Saturday. No seriously, that’s a thing that’s happening already.

Look, we get it, you’ve been a bit preoccupied with March Madness, MLB’s Opening Day or the Masters. That’s why we’re here. Here’s a look at five things to watch in the NC State Kay Yow Spring Game.


1. QB Battle Still Raging On

NC State quarterback Jalan McClendon (2) after practice on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Madeline Gray/North State Journal)
NC State quarterback Jalan McClendon (2) after practice on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Madeline Gray/North State Journal)

The departure of Jacoby Brissett after 2015 left a void at the most crucial position for any football program – quarterback. Luckily for NC State fans, Dave Doeren recruited heavily at the position to hold a true competition this offseason.

Redshirt sophomore Jalan McClendon is expected to take over the role, but has to prove himself on Saturday. The Charlotte native isn’t worried about taking the reins moving forward.

“I just want to go out there and show what I can do,” said McClendon. “The coaches trust me, and that is all that I really need. … I believe in myself more than anybody else does. I believe the team believes that I can be the quarterback.”

Along with McClendon, Jakobi Meyers and Josh Taylor will also look to put pressure on Doeren to earn the starting role.


2. Offensive Line Still a Work in Progress

Let’s be honest, the offensive line was somewhat of a work in progress throughout all of last season. This year, the team is without standout Joe Thuney and has been riddled with injuries throughout camp.

New offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford isn’t concerned with the early issues in camp.

“It has been like this every year wherever I have been. Last year at one point we had six offensive linemen, before that it was seven or eight,” Ledford said. “You get used to it and you make it happen. That is the whole thing about spring, it is developing what you want your unit to identify with.”

Players who have stepped up in the roles early on are Tyler Jones and Garrett Bradbury, according to Ledford. Expect both to get significant minutes during the Spring Game.


3. First Look at Frasier

NC State running back Johnny Frasier (22) after practice on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Madeline Gray/North State Journal)
NC State running back Johnny Frasier (22) after practice on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Madeline Gray/North State Journal)

Similar to Dennis Smith for the basketball team, NC State fans can’t wait to see what Johnny Frasier looks like on the gridiron. On Saturday, Wolfpack fans will get their first glimpse.

Frasier was hampered earlier in spring practice by a concussion, but told North State Journal last week that he will be on the field Saturday. So what did he gain from having a year off as a redshirt freshman?

“Confidence in myself,” Frasier said. “Knowing that I can play with high-level athletes. Now I feel like I can compete with anyone in the world. Hopefully during the season I can show everybody.”

Look for Frasier to show off his power-running ability on Saturday with fellow running backs Matt Dayes and Reggie Gallaspy not expected to play.


4. Leaders Emerging on Defense

There has been some shuffling at key positions defensively for NC State with Mike Rose, Hakim Jones and Juston Burris all graduating. With players like Bradley Chubb, Jerod Fernandez, Jack Tocho and Kentavius Street still around, the defense appears to be in good hands.

Street has served in mostly a backup role with only 31 tackles and a half sack last year. The former 5-Star defensive tackle expects to step up for the team this year.

“It’s good now because I know the defense like the back of my hand,” Street said. “Now I’m just trying to play as fast as possible.”

The  junior made no bones about who will lead the way for NC State this season.

“With the seniors [last year], we kind of took a backseat,” Street said. “We let them take the lead because they had already been through everything. Now we’re taking the helm and doing things our way.”


5. Offensive Game Plan Taking Shape

North Carolina State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eli Drinkwitz talks with reporters after Spring football practice at NC State's practice facility. (Eamon Queeney/North State Journal)
North Carolina State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eli Drinkwitz talks with reporters after Spring football practice at NC State’s practice facility. (Eamon Queeney/North State Journal)

Eli Drinkwitz comes into the NC State system with a lot of offensive weapons, but a scheme that several players are still adapting to in the spring.

The backfield is loaded with Frasier and Nyheim Hines expected to play on Saturday along with Gallaspy and Dayes set to rejoin the team before the fall. Then there’s the receiver options in Jaylen Samuels, Jumichael Ramos and converted tight end Pharoah McKever.

Running a no-huddle spread system similar to what Drinkwitz coached at Boise State was exciting for Hines during the offseason.

“I looked at the film and I was like, ‘Well, this is the offense I wanted to run out of high school,” Hines said. “A year later, I got my dream come true.”

Saturday’s version will still be very much a work in progress, but offensive players raved all spring about how great the system will be for the team. Now it’s time for Drinkwitz to sell the fanbase on the concept.


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Johnny Frasier confirms he will play in NC State football Spring Game

NC State football fans will get their first glimpse of Johnny Frasier in a Wolfpack uniform during the Spring Game on April 9.

No, it won’t be a meaningful game, but the simple fact that Frasier will be playing didn’t seem likely just last week. The redshirt freshman missed multiple practices while going through concussion protocol but confirmed with NSJ Sports that he will be ready to go for the Spring Game.

When asked if he’ll play, Frasier simply answered, “yes sir.” The former Princeton back also praised the Wolfpack coaching staff for preparing him.

“It wasn’t really all that bad,” Frasier said of missing time during spring practice. “I still kept my head in the playbook and talked to the coaches throughout everything. I didn’t get too behind because they made sure to keep me in the loop. It was like another day at practice every time I talked to them.

“These coaches are amazing. They’ve got me to where I need to be.”

Frasier spoke about several other topics including his expectations for NC State, the quarterback battle and bulking up during his redshirt year during his 1-on-1 interview with NSJ Sports.

For the full interview in this Sunday’s edition, subscribe to the North State Journal.


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NC State running back Johnny Frasier going through concussion protocol

Johnny Frasier is expected to be a significant part of NC State’s offense in 2016, but an early setback is already hindering him. NC State officials have confirmed the running back has missed the last two practices as he goes through the concussion protocol.

The Princeton product came in as a four-star running back and seventh overall in the country at the position by 247Sports. After being flipped from Florida State, Frasier redshirted during his freshman campaign.

“Johnny looked good the first few practices, he’s been learning,” fellow running back Nyheim Hines said of Frasier. “I’ve seen a big change in him over the last year. So I can’t wait for him to come back.”

NC State head coach Dave Doeren didn’t comment on the status of Frasier following Tuesday’s practice. Prior to the injury, Doeren had high praise for the tailback.

“He grew up a lot,” Doeren said. “Coming from a small town, and really the competition he was playing against … he was just out of shape, he’ll tell you that. He’s changed his body and he’s grown up a lot. The game is starting to slow down for him a little bit. Now it’s about learning the terminology.”

With new offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz implementing his system, not having Frasier on the field is not ideal. However, the depth of the position with Hines, Matt Dayes and others at the position, Drinkwitz still has experience in the backfield.

Luckily for the Wolfpack, Frasier has time to recover before the start of the 2016 season opener against William & Mary on Sept. 1. His status for the Spring Game — set for April 9 at 1 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium — has not been announced.


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