Pack Recruiting Report: Nov. 3, 2011

Posted by J.J. Greenstein on November 3, 2011 under Other ACC Coverage | Comments are off for this article

Head Coach Mark Gottfried did it again, adding his third commitment from a top 100 prospect from the state of North Carolina. This time it was 2012 small forward T.J. Warren of Brewster Academy who pulled the trigger and decided to run with the Pack.

Warren can score from anywhere, rated 23rd in the latest ESPNU Top 100 players in the 2012 class; he was coveted by many schools including Georgetown, who made his final two, North Carolina, and Ohio State.

It was huge for the Pack to land a legacy recruit, Warren’s father played for the Pack in the 80’s. Coach Gottfried said one of his goals for recruiting was to protect his backyard, and with Warren joining five star shooting guard Rodney Purvis of Raleigh’s Upper Room Christian Academy and four star point guard Tyler Lewis of Oak Hill Academy, originally from Winston-Salem, I’d say he’s done that quite well.

State still has open spots, which they’d love to fill with power forward Amile Jefferson from Philadelphia, 7’2 center Boris Bojanovsky of Slovakia, or wing Andrew White, who plays AAU with Tyler Lewis on Team Loaded. Any of the three would be a huge get for the Pack- especially a big man like Jefferson, who will be visiting the Pack soon, or Bojanovsky, who has good skills for his size.

NC State currently has the second rated recruiting class in the nation for 2012, yes- that’s higher than Carolina or Duke. It’s safe to say that Gottfried is not scared one bit to go head to head with the “big dogs” for the top recruits in the state.

Football

With State’s basketball program attracting all of the attention on the recruiting front, some good news for the football team has surfaced over the last few weeks.

The most recent being the addition of corner back Marchez Coates of Maryland. Coates, rated the 52nd best corner in the 2012 class, decommitted from Pittsburgh and chose the Pack on Oct. 31st. The three star prospect adds depth to the 2012 class and should be a solid piece of the future for the defensive backfield.

Ten days earlier, State pulled an athletic defensive end out of South Carolina from both the Gamecocks and Clemson- a rarity these days in college football recruiting. Tyler Knox had offers from nearly everywhere, including Clemson, South Carolina, Miami (FL), Pittsburgh, Southern California, and Oklahoma State.

State now has 15 commits for the 2012 class, and is still looking to add more. The class is especially strong on the defensive line, an area the Pack could have used some help on this season with all of the injuries. For a complete list of NC State’s football commits for the class of 2012 click here.

That’s all the news on the recruiting front in Raleigh for now, look for more big news to break over the coming weeks. For all of the up to date breaking news follow me on twitter @TheJJGreenstein.

Pack doubles up Virginia

Posted by J.J. Greenstein on October 26, 2011 under Other ACC Coverage | Comments are off for this article

In typical Tom O’Brien at N.C. State fashion, the Pack (4-3, 1-2 ACC) came out looking much improved in their game against Virginia (4-3, 1-2 ACC) following the bye week.

Once again, State limped into the bye week. The defense decimated by injuries, an offense still looking to improve on the little things, and an overall lack of passion from both sides.

But Saturday was a different story, as State went in to Charlottesville, a place they hadn’t won at since 1994, and doubled up the Cavaliers 28-14 behind three touchdown passes from Mike Glennon and two interceptions from the nation’s leader, David Amerson.

The second of Amerson’s two interceptions was returned 12 yards for a touchdown with just over six minutes left in the game, sealing the win for the Wolfpack. That pick was his eighth of the year and not only did it tie him for the N.C. State single season record, but put him three interceptions ahead of the next best total in the country this season.

Glennon finished 20 of 36 for 231 yards, tossing three touchdowns and two interceptions. It was just his second multi-interception game of his career, both coming on the road. An underrated stat from the game was that the Pack did not allow a sack in the game, showing the solid effort put together by the Pack’s offensive line.

While Glennon may not have had his best game through the air, he was missing a couple of weapons he’s become accustomed to having with him. Senior T.J. Graham, the Pack’s leading receiver and the ACC’s leader in all-purpose yards, was suspended for the first half for “not living up to the expectations of a State football player.” To make things more difficult for the passing game, receiver Tobias Palmer suffered a concussion during warm-ups after running into fellow receiver Jay Smith.

Down two receivers and All-ACC tight end George Bryan, who did not have a catch in the game, having just an atrocious season hanging onto the ball, the Pack desperately needed someone to step up.

In came redshirt freshman Bryan Underwood, a speedster with little experience and only five catches in his career. He’d only have three catches in the game, but two of them were huge as he pulled in a 33 yard touchdown pass against single-coverage in the first half and tight-roped the sideline beautifully in third quarter for a 79 yard touchdown strike on third and long. He would finish the game with three catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

The running game that had produced back-to-back 100 yard efforts from James Washington was held in check by a Virginia defense that has been stingy against the run this season. Washington would finish with 82 yards on 25 carries, and freshman Tony Creecy added 28 yards on nine carries.

On defense, Amerson’s two interceptions were followed by a pick from safety Brandan Bishop to close out the game. Linebacker Terrell Manning had nine tackles and Markus Kuhn had the Pack’s only sack of the day.

State held Virginia to just 249 yards, an impressive feat. That, along with forcing four turnovers was the reason the Pack won this football game.

Player of the game: Sophomore corner David Amerson. Amerson’s two interceptions helped the Pack hold down Virginia’s offense. The second one he took back 12 yards for the sealing touchdown. He now leads the nation in interceptions by three over the next closest player.

What went right? Forcing turnovers. State picked off Virginia three times (Amerson, 2, Bishop, 1) and Earl Wolff recovered a fumble. State’s defense was much improved following the bye week.

What went wrong? Special teams. The Pack played a pretty solid game, but special teams could have made it an easier afternoon. Freshman kicker Niklas Sade was 4-4 on extra points but had his only field goal attempt blocked. Freshman punter Wil Baumann punted nine (yes, nine) times for just a 34 yard average. That must improve to help the Pack win the field position battle.

What’s next? State’s toughest test to date, at Florida State (4-3, 2-2 ACC). The two teams have split the last ten meetings at five a piece, eight of which were decided by ten points or less. The winner keeps themselves alive in the Atlantic Division race.

Glennon paces Pack past South Alabama

Posted by J.J. Greenstein on September 19, 2011 under Other ACC Coverage | Comments are off for this article

Mike Glennon had his best game as a starter as the Pack downed South Alabama 35-13 to move to 2-1 on the season.

Glennon finished 17-20 for 274 yards and four touchdowns, as once again senior T.J. Graham was his favorite target. Graham had five catches for 128 yards and a touchdown, making him the first NC State receiver since Jerricho Cotchery to have back-to-back 100 yard receiving games.

Eight others caught a pass from Glennon, including two touchdowns for fullback Taylor Gentry, his only two catches of the game. Running back Curtis Underwood also had a touchdown, an 18 yarder late in the third quarter.

While the passing game was doing its job, the running game was fairly ineffective for the straight week. State ran for only 95 yards as a team, a number decreased by sacks. James Washington led the team with 54 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown, Underwood added 50 yards on ten carries, and redshirt freshman Tony Creecy ran for 15 yards on three carries in the final minutes.

But three fumbles, the only turnovers of the game for NC State, stalled promising drives and left the Wolfpack defense to defend the short field at times.

The defense was once again average at best, using the bend but don’t break strategy to keep South Alabama to just 13 points. While they gave up 286 total yards, they forced three turnovers, including interceptions by safety Brandon Bishop and cornerback David Amerson.

The area of concern has to be the Pack’s run defense. They allowed Kendall Houston to run for 117 yards on 18 carries. Even without starting defensive end Jeff Rieskamp and defensive tackles J.R. Sweezy and Thomas Teal, giving up a 100 yard rushing day to a FCS back is unacceptable. The Pack was unable to get penetration against the Jaguars’ run blocking all game, and it will only get worse when the Pack play Cincinnati and Georgia Tech in the next two weeks.

The one positive from the defense was that it learned how to stop the reverse. After being fooled on three reverse trick plays last week at Wake Forest, the Pack faced just one in this game. It ended in a huge loss for South Alabama as the Wolfpack defense was patient and was able to make the play.

The defense will get back defensive end Jeff Rieskamp this Thursday against Cincinnati, who has been out for the past two games with a shoulder injury. But they will not have linebacker Terrell Manning, who left Saturday’s game with a leg injury.

Losing Manning will be a big blow to a defense that can’t seem to catch a break this season. They will be put to the test this Thursday night as Dwayne Maddox will fill in for Manning on the weak side.

If Glennon can play well as he did against South Alabama, State will have a good shot to beat Cincinnati. That is a big “if” but I think he can keep it up. He needs help from his tight ends, and I’d expect George Bryan’s production to pick up this week and lead the Pack.

Player of the game: Quarterback Mike Glennon was very accurate and made all of the correct reads, leading to a 17-20 and 274 yard performance. He had a career high four touchdowns in the game and was able to scramble out of trouble when needed.

What went right? The passing game. Nine different players caught a pass for the Wolfpack, eight of them finished with double-figure receiving yards as they totaled 297 yards through the air. Five receivers, two running backs, one tight end, and one fullback made up the receiving group for quarterbacks Mike Glennon and Tyler Brosius.

What went wrong? Ball protection and run defense. The Pack fumbled away the ball three times, killing drives that seemed promising. The run defense gave up 117 yards to Kendall Houston and 18 yards and a touchdown on the ground to Demetre Baker.

What’s next? A short turnaround for the Pack as they play at Cincinnati (2-1) on Thursday night. For the second straight year this match-up is featured on ESPN, but this time with far less anticipation. Neither team has been impressive when playing against FBS teams, so it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.