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ACC Kickoff Preview: NC State

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2020 Record: 8-4

All-time series: 12-2 NC State

Last Meeting: 11/28/2020, 36-29 NC State

What to Know About the Wolfpack:

Coach Dave Doeren claims this group might be the best he’s ever been around. Don’t sleep on the Wolfpack in 2021. Devin Leary is only getting better going into his 3rd year with NC State and with him comes the offense. He’ll be throwing to established receiver, Emeka Emezie, who posted solid numbers (738 yards, 5 TDs) last season. It’s not just the offense though, this defense is the real deal. Anchored by one of the best linebackers in the nation, Payton Wilson, this unit looks to act as a brick wall. Alongside the young Wilson in the front 7 is are a cast of veterans who are poised to put together a special season in their collective last hurrah down in Raleigh. Expect the Wolfpack to surprise this season, only building on the success they had a year ago.

Head Coach – Dave Doeren, 9th year, 55-46 at NC State:

On the advantage of returning a quarterback: “Anytime as a head coach that you go into summer knowing who your starter is, there’s a different feel. Not having fall competition allows you to focus on other things. I think for your team, that piece is really critical…for him to be able to lead the team throughout the summer and do all the things they do without the coaches present, it’s a big part of putting yourself ahead of the game, against other teams that are still trying to figure it out.”

Devin Leary – Redshirt Sophomore, Quarterback

2020: 8 TDs, 890 yds, 60%

On having his offense coming back: It helps me out tremendously. Being able to have so many guys back, like our receiving corps, running back, and our offensive line, everybody has such great experience where it makes my job that much easier. Coach always said, ‘Just be the point guard of the team, distribute the ball, make everyone else make plays for you.’ Being able to have everyone back is very helpful.”

On what he saw in himself prior to his 2020 leg injury: “There’s always stuff to take away from film. Last year before my injury there were multiple different plays or things I could’ve done better that I can take off film whether it’s within our offense or through studying different defenses.”

Payton Wilson – Redshirt Sophomore, Linebacker

2020: 108 Tot tackles, 11.5 TFL, 3.5 acks

On why he loves NC State: “The coaches and the atmosphere. Coach Doeren is an amazing person, he makes all of us the best that we can be. He teaches us to chase dreams and helps us to achieve academically and athletically. One of the main reasons also is that I love my family so much I didn’t want to leave them, and NC State gave me every opportunity that I needed.”

Grant Gibson – Redshirt Junior, Center

2020: 12 games, 9th-ranked center in the country according to Pro Football Focus

On the effects of the pandemic: “When we got sent home, we talked as a team and said, ‘Listen, we need to grow through this.’ We didn’t know how long we would be at home, we were home for about three months and during that time we had zoom calls, just trying to stay in touch with all the guys so that we could perform well this year. This past year has taught us as a team that we can fight through anything.”

On the leadership within the program: “All of us here can speak for it. There are so many guys on this team that want the team to be great, that’s what you need. When we work out, it’s not one guy that talks the whole time, it’s 18 guys that talk the whole time….it helps the team grow, it helps keep the team on track.”

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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