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2017 Fierce 40 Previews: #25 NC State

by DJ Boyer on Jul. 26, 2017

#25 NC State Wolfpack

2016 Recap:
The Wolfpack went on a nasty four game losing streak during the middle of the year but rebounded by winning three of their last four. The Wolfpack disposed of Vanderbilt 41-17 in the Independence Bowl. NC State lost a heartbreaker on the road against eventual national champion Clemson after missing a chip shot field goal that could have won the game.


Coaching:
Dave Doeren has flown under the radar a bit and is 25-26 during his four years leading NC State. Now we are at a time where full recruiting classes have come and gone through Doeren's tenure so this is a critical period for the program. NC State has to start winning more recruiting battles at home against North Carolina and Duke when it comes to landing recruits.

 

Offense

Ryan Finley is back and he is just a junior but with a season under his belt it will help a team that is so dependant upon defense to win. Finley was very conservative last season but only threw 8 interceptions and was an excellent game manager. Look for NC State to takes more shots with big plays as Stephen Lewis and Jaylen Samuels both return in the passing game. Nyheim Hines moves from primarily being a wide receiver to receving the bulk of the carries taking over for the drafted Matthew Dayes. Hines could enjoy vast success because he will be running behind one of the most versitile lines in the ACC. Tony Adams, Will Richardson and Tyler Jones all look like they can play on Sunday at the next level.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Tony Adams OG 4th Round 2018.

                                       Will Richardson OT 4th Round 2019.


Defense

The front six of the Wolfpack are among the best in the not only the conference but the nation. The Wolfpack employ a primary defensive setting of 4-2-5 with a nickel back on the field most of the time in the secondary vice a rover. Bradley Chubb flirted with going pro a season ago and the defenisve end may be the best at his position in the ACC. Chubb registered 10.5 sacks a season ago and could be in the mix for some postseason awards at the end of the campaign. Kentavius Street plays defensive end but figures to be a 3-4 end or a small defensive tackle at the next level. Chubb is the all-around talent but Street has such explosion for a man his size off the ball that he catches offenisve lineman napping. The starting linebackers all return and their improved play durting the second half of the season in 2016 was a big reason for the strong Wolfpack finish. The secondary is deeper than last season but there is a lot of inexperience there. NC State must find some combinations that show good chemistry.

Best Draft Prospects: Bradley Chubb DE 1st/2nd Round 2018.                

                                       Kentavius Street DT 3rd/4th Round 2018.


Special Teams:

In punter A.J. Cole the Wolfpack have a legitimate threat for the NFL. Nyheim Hines started making an impact in the return game long before taking over for Matthew Dayes. It will remain to be seen if he is replaced or splits time with someone else. The field goal kicking game has been awful and it cost the Wolfpack a chance at knocking off Clemson on the road. If the woes continue it could mean losing a lot of close games in a competitive ACC.


Schedule:

South Carolina opens the season at a neutral site and then a few easier games at home against Marshall and Furman. Florida State on the road is a brutal openeing to the Conference schedule. There will be a pair of back-to-back road games in conference but the Wolfpack have the defense and ability to remain competitive.


Draft and Overall Outlook:

The defense is loaded with prospects and the offensive line is turning into one of the better units in the ACC. This is a critical year where NC State is no longer knocking on the door, they have the makeup to be a ranked team.

 

DJ Boyer