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2014 NC State Recruiting Class Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 6, 2014


2014 North Carolina State Wolfpack ... Head Coach: Dave Doeren


NC State Wolfpack

2013 Record: 3-9
8/31 Louisiana Tech W 40-14
9/7 Richmond W 23-21
9/14 OPEN DATE
9/19 Clemson L 26-14
9/28 Central Michigan W 48-14
10/5 at Wake Forest L 28-13
10/12 Syracuse L 24-10
10/19 OPEN DATE
10/26 at Florida State L 49-17
11/2 North Carolina L 27-19
11/9 at Duke L 38-20
11/16 at Boston Coll L 38-21
11/23 East Carolina L 42-28
11/30 Maryland L 41-21


NC State | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Fewer mistakes and more downfield connections from the quarterbacks. Dave Doeren’s system wasn’t up to par last year because, well, the passers were unable to operate it properly. The Pack produced more interceptions than touchdown passes, the downfall of an attack that ranked No. 10 in ACC scoring. Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett figures to help at quarterback, but State also needs more consistency from the receivers and the blockers tasked with keeping the pocket clean.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Dave Doeren came up with a fantastic class led by end Kentavius Street and tackle Justin Jones leading a top-shelf ACC-caliber group of linemen. The secondary is promising with CB Troy Vincent the best of the lot, and Coult Culler is a decent inside linebacker prospect. QB Jalan McClendon is a very big, very talented star of the near future. The receiving corps is solid with several decent prospects coming in, but there are a slew of strong tight end options to choose from. Center Tony Adams is the leader of a terrific haul of offensive linemen.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 47. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill players. Dave Doeren got a few nice defensive backs in corners Dravious Wright, Josh Jones and Sean Paul, and it would be nice if Artemis Robinson turned into a factor at linebacker. The offense got the most help with two promising running backs in Dakwa Nichols and Josh Mercer along with receivers Pharoah McKever and Jalen McDaniel. Chris Burton has the upside to be a go-to target at tight end.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 41. That Class Was Heavy On ... The Wolfpack is going hard after the defensive line for the second time in four years. The line is fine for now, but Tom O’Brien needs players to develop for down the road with the wave of strong prospects from the 2009 class are done. The offensive side will get more help for the interior with the guards getting the most attention. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 72. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebackers. There aren’t a ton of great ones in a generally mediocre class, but the hope is for strength in numbers with Mike Rose and Brandon Pittman two safety-sized defenders with the potential to be excellent with a little bit of time. The defensive line got help with Ty McGill for the inside and Dave Mann on the end, and quarterback Brian Taylor and WR Hakeem Flowers will be asked to be the star pitch-catch combo by 2013, but overall the star power isn’t there.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 43. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive lineman. This might not be the sexiest class, but it has teeth. WR Tony Creecy is a speedster who should make a big impact, and JUCO transfer Tobais Palmer will be a part of the running back mix right away. The key is the offensive line with Robert Crisp a massive and very talented offensive tackle who'll end up being the anchor up front. Crisp is 6-8, as is fellow tackle Andy Jomantas, while Tyson Chandler is a 6-6, 340-pound mauler. Defensively, Fre'Shad Hunter will be the star on the inside up front once he adds some weight.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 36. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive linemen. Tom O’Brien and his assistants absolutely loaded up on defensive linemen with this class, going as far north as Massachusetts and as far south as Georgia to find space-eaters. Willie Young, Alan-Michael Cash, and Shea McKeen have only one year of eligibility remaining, so this group will be expected to eventually form the backbone of the defensive front for the next four or five seasons.

Maryland 41, at NC State 21
Basically … Maryland roared out to a 34-7 lead on 34 straight points with C.J. Brown finding Nigel King on a 53-yard touchdown pass and running for scores from 49,, two and three yards out. NC State got two Brandon Mitchell touchdown passes and a short scoring run, but Brown added a 27-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to stay well ahead.
- Maryland QB C.J. Brown completed 13-of-25 passes for 259 yards and two scores, and he ran 15 times for 138 yards and three scores.
- NC State QB Brandon Mitchell completed 21-of-31 passes for 200 yards and two scores, and ran 30 times for 72 yards and a score.
- Maryland WR Amba Etta-Tawo caught four passes for 101 yards
- NC State WR Shadrach Thornton ran 18 times for 96 yards

East Carolina 42, at NC State 28
Basically … Shane Carden threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more, hitting Justin Hardy for a three-yard touchdown and finding Lance Ray for a 25-yard touchdown for a 42-14 lead late in the fourth. NC State managed just a four-yard Tony Creecy touchdown catch in the first 54 minutes, and scored 14 garbage time points in the final 51 seconds and got three Brandon Mitchell touchdown passes in the last few minutes, connecting with Jurmichael Ramos on touchdown passes from two and 18 yards out.
- East Carolina QB Shane Carden completed 23-of-30 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns, and ran six times for six yards and two touchdowns.
- NC State WR Rashard Smith caught seven passes for 104 yards and a score.
- NC State QB Brandon Mitchell completed 28-of-44 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns.
- East Carolina RB Vintavious Cooper ran 22 times for 148 yards.

at Boston College 38, NC State 21
Basically … Andre Williams ran for a career-high 339 yards with touchdown runs from 17 and 34 yards out, but Boston College had to hang on late. NC State got three touchdown passes from three different players with receiver Rashard Smith catching a nine-yard touchdown pass and finding Quintin Payton for a 49-yard touchdown. A 52-yard touchdown catch from Jumichael Ramos pulled the Wolfpack to within ten late, but BC recovered the onside kick and Williams put it away.
- Williams ran 42 times for 339 yards and two touchdowns.
- NC State QB Pete Thomas completed 22-of-33 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown.
- BC outgained NC State 420 yards to 35 on the ground.
- NC State punter Wil Bauman averaged 49.6 yards on his eight kicks putting four inside the 20.

at Duke 38, NC State 20
Basically … Down late, the Blue Devils scored the final 21 points in 25 seconds with DeVon Edwards picking off a pass for a score just ten seconds after Brandon Connette ran for a score. Edwards struck again 17 seconds later with a 45-yard pick six Duke scored the first ten points of the game helped by a four-yard Anthony Boone touchdown run, but NC State came back to take the lead with 13 straight points on two Niklas Sade field goals and a 73-yard Rashard Smith punt return for a touchdown. After the second Sade field goal, Duke responded with an Edwards kickoff return for a touchdown. The big plays kept on coming in a wild final seven minutes with NC State getting an 80-yard Quintin Payton touchdown grab for a 20-17 lead before the final Duke explosion.
- Duke S DeVon Edwards made ten tackles with two interceptions for touchdowns and a broken up pass, and he returned three kickoffs for 148 yards and a score.
- The two teams combined for eight turnovers with each giving it away four times.
- NC State LB Brandon Pittman made 14 tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss.
- Duke QB Brandon Connette completed 7-of-13 passes for 59 yards and led the team with 40 yards with a score on eight carries.

North Carolina 27 at NC State 19, Nov. 2
Basically … North Carolina rookie RB T.J. Logan scored the only touchdown of the second half, providing the margin needed to escape rival NC State. The Pack opened the scoring with a touchdown run from QB Brandon Mitchell, but it could only manage four Niklas Sade field goals the rest of the way. The Tar Heels took the lead for good late in the second quarter on a 59-yard trick play touchdown pass from WR Ryan Switzer to WR Quinshad Davis.
- Mitchell led all rushers with 105 yards and that six-yard touchdown on 21 carries.
- Three different Carolina players, Switzer and quarterbacks Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams combined to go 24-of-38 for 275 yards, two touchdowns and a pick.
- Tar Heel TE Eric Ebron caught a game-high nine balls for 70 yards.
- Wolpack quarterbacks Mitchell and Pete Thomas went 14-of-29 for 176 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

at Florida State 49, NC State 17
Basically … Florida State rolled up 35 first quarter points and a 42-0 halftime lead on three Jameis Winston touchdown passes and Devontra Freeman scoring runs from 11 and four yards out in an easy route. The Seminoles eased up, and NC State came up with 17 straight points in the second half with Shadrach Thornton running for scores from 72 yards away and one yard out. Levonte Whitfield closed it out for FSU with a 31-yard scoring dash.
- A banged up NC State ran into a buzzsaw. Brandon Mitchell had an awful start, and he only completed 17-of-33 passes for 128 yards and two picks, while Shadrach Thornton was fantastic with 173 rushing yards with two touchdowns on 23 carries – even if most of the yards came in the second half. The defense didn’t have a prayer against a red hot FSU attack.
- The Wolfpack are on three-game losing streak, but now it’s time to go on a run with North Carolina up next and Duke to follow. There aren’t any true layups, but State should be able to win three of the final five against UNC, Duke, Boston College, East Carolina and Maryland to go bowling.

Syracuse 24, at NC State 10
Basically … Syracuse got past a banged up NC State with an 18-yard touchdown run from Prince-Tyson Gulley and an eight-yard score from Terrel Hunt in the final 6:13 for 14 unanswered points and the win. The Orange started out the scoring with a one-yard Jerome Smith scoring run, but the Wolfpack tied it at seven with a 21-yard touchdown catch from David J. Grinnage in the second quarter. State only managed a 27-yard Niklas Sade field goal in the second half.
- It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but the Orange got by with the running game to carry the way to the win. The O should’ve controlled the clock a bit better, but with Jerome Smith running for 140 yards and Prince-Tyson Gulley tearing off 132 yards on nine carries, it was more about the big play.
- Brandon Mitchell wasn’t ready to go at quarterback for NC State, even though he warmed up, but his injured foot kept him out. Pete Thomas completed 17-of-35 passes for 151 yards and score with a pick, but he got injured. There wasn’t any running game to pick up the slack. SU averaged 9.1 yards per carry to NC State’s 2.9 yards.
- After getting blown away by Clemson, Syracuse might not have been razor sharp, but it got a road win before having to go back on the road to face Georgia Tech. It’s going to be a fight to get three more wins to go bowling, especially with Florida State and a road game at Maryland to deal with, but if the running game works like it did against NC State, it should get the three wins.
- NC State is really hurting and it needs time to heal. With two weeks off, the Pack should look different and fresher, but it has to go to Florida State. There’s still time to go bowling with several winnable games left, but there can’t be any more big injuries and Mitchell has to be ready.

at Wake Forest 28, NC State 13
Basically … Tanner Price ran for a one-yard score and threw three touchdown passes including two scoring throws to Michael Campanaro from ten and 27 yards away. NC State had a 10-7 lead in the second quarter on an 11-yard Quintin Payton catch with 39 seconds left in the half, but the Demon Deacons answered with Campanaro’s first touchdown catch of the game with six seconds remaining.
- All of a sudden, a Wake Forest offense that didn’t do anything against Clemson and sputtered against ULM and Boston College was able to move the ball just enough to get by. Tanner Price was the offense, completing 24-of-39 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns and a pick, and leading the way with 82 rushing yards and a score. Michael Campanaro caught 12 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
- The Demon Deacons did a nice job of generating pressure with four sacks and plenty of plays in the backfield. The effort showed as NC State misfired on several key plays and couldn’t generate enough offense in the second half.
- The Wolfpack offense needs to find more explosion. The running game isn’t getting enough from the backs – the line isn’t generating enough of a push – the longest play from an RB just seven yards. There wasn’t enough room to move against the aggressive Demon Deacon defense.
- It’ll be interesting to see what NC State does with its quarterback situation. The loss wasn’t exactly Pete Thomas’ fault, but he didn’t spark the offense, completing 27-of-43 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown with two picks.

at NC State 48, Central Michigan 14
Basically … The Wolfpack took a 38-0 lead in a laugher, getting points from everywhere. The defense started things off with a 37-yard pick six from D.J. Green, the running game came up with home runs from Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes for scores on three straight second quarter drives, and Rashard Smith added a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown. CMU finally got on the board with two fourth quarter touchdowns on a 13-yard Titus Davis catch and a 38-yard Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore run, but NC State answered with an 80-yard Bryan Underwood touchdown catch.
- After the loss to Clemson, NC State didn’t come out down in any way. It might have taken a little bit for the offense to get going, but the running game destroyed the CMU front line early on. The Wolfpack finished with 239 yards on the ground.
- CMU tried to get the rushing attack on track early on, but it wasn’t even close to working. Saylor Lavalli was held to 16 yards on 14 carries, and there wasn’t any consistent help from Cooper Rush and the passing game.
- The NC State secondary swarmed, and while the defense let up off the gas late, it didn’t allow much of anything early on and jumped all over the short-to-midrange plays. Everyone got in on the act.
- The Chippewas did a decent job getting into the backfield, making two sacks and doing some decent things early on against the run, but it all broke down in the second quarter. The offense didn’t provide any support.

Clemson 26 … at NC State 14
Basically … Clemson finally turned on the offense after a sluggish start, settling for two long Chandler Catanzaro field goals early and getting three Tajh Boyd touchdown passes, with two to Martavis Bryant from 30 and 15 yards away, to pull away from the Wolfpack. NC State had a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter on a 21-yard dash from Shadrach Thornton, but didn’t get back on the board until a Pete Thomas four-yard dive late in the fourth.
- It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but for Clemson, style points don’t really matter. As long as it keeps its focus, keeps on winning, and keeps showing enough pop to get by, it’s in the national title hunt. Tajh Boyd’s Heisman chances might be kaput after a mediocre 24-of-37, 244-yard, three score day, but he got the win.
- NC State moved the ball well, but two turnovers and nine penalties were just enough to disrupt any offensive groove. Pete Thomas spread the ball around well and ran for 30 yards and a score, but unlike Tajh Boyd, he couldn’t get the key play at the right time to change the momentum. The Colorado State transfer will win several games for the Wolfpack, though.
- Clemson linebackers Spencer Shuey and Stephone Anthony combined for 25 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss, but the night belonged to Vic Beasley, who showed off his phenomenal quickness and first step with three sacks and five tackles with two broken up passes. When he had a little bit of space, it was over.
- NC State senior linebacker Robert Caldwell was camped out in the Clemson backfield with four tackles for loss and 13 tackles. He didn’t generate a sack, but he was disruptive. For the most part, the Wolfpack did a nice job of keeping the high-octane Tiger playmakers under wraps.

at NC State 23, Richmond 21, Sept. 7
Basically … The Wolfpack used a 48-yard Niklas Sade field goal with 33 seconds left to avoid becoming the latest FBS school to fall to an FCS opponent. NC State trailed for much of the game, but scored the game's final 13 points, shutting out the Spiders in the second-half. Pack rookie Bryant Shirreffs accounted for both of his team's touchdowns, one on a run and one of a throw.
- Since jumping all over Louisiana Tech in the first-half of the opener, the Pack offense has looked stale under the guidance of backup QB Pete Thomas. The Colorado State transfer completed 24-of-31 throws, but had no touchdowns and two picks.
- Rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been an instant impact performer for the NC State receiving corps. He had a team-high eight catches for 87 yards, making good use of his 6-3, 201-pound frame.

at NC State 40, Louisiana Tech 14, Aug. 31
Basically … The NC State offense was unstoppable rolling for 542 yards and moving the ball at will. The Pack scored the first 24 points helped by two of Matt Dayes’ three rushing touchdowns on the day. Louisiana Tech tried to come back, and got to within 13 on a 12-yard Kenneth Dixon scoring dash, but State scored 13 unanswered points to close things out.
- Not everything worked according to plan for NC State. Starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell injured his foot, but Pete Thomas stepped in and threw for 212 yards with a pick.
- The Louisiana Tech defense didn’t come up with any new wrinkles or ideas after a disastrous 2012. The run defense got shoved around and the secondary was picked apart on key play after key play.
- Kenneth Dixon was the one big bright spot for the Bulldogs with 118 rushing yards and a score on 22 carries. However, Tech lost four fumbles and saw a few promising drives stall dead.
- NC State hung on to the ball for close to 41 minutes and had it for almost 34 of the final 45 minutes.

Spring Analysis

Why To Get Excited … new head coach Dave Doeren inherits a defense that figures to be rather feisty and quick to the ball in the front seven. Only one full-timer has graduated, good news for a last line of defense that’s getting a facelift. DE Darryl Cato-Bishop and LB Rickey Dowdy will be the ringleaders of a group that figures to do an excellent job of pressuring the pocket.

Why To Be Grouchy … new staff plus new quarterback equals a rocky transition for most universities. The Pack upgraded by trading in an older model—Tom O’Brien—for hotshot Doeren. However, QB Mike Glennon is gone, leaving last year’s backup, Manny Stocker, to duke it out with Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas. State also needs more quality athletes to execute the staff’s spread attack.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … protecting the ball. The Wolfpack finished a game above .500, including an upset of Florida State, despite ranking 113th nationally in giveaways. The 2012 edition was maddeningly inconsistent, throwing too many picks and coughing the ball up often. Even if the offense lacks explosiveness, it’ll make progress simply by getting a better grip on the ball.

Team Concerns For 2013: Dave Doeren has some work to do on an offense that didn't get much out of the running game. Step One will be improving an offensive line that loses two starters and didn't do much of anything in pass protection. Quarterback Mike Glennon is gone to the NFL, but the passing game wasn't efficient enough even when he was under center. The team has to improve in turnover margin and need a stronger season from Wil Baumann and the punting game.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Skill players. Dave Doeren got a few nice defensive backs in corners Dravious Wright, Josh Jones and Sean Paul, and it would be nice if Artemis Robinson turned into a factor at linebacker. The offense got the most help with two promising running backs in Dakwa Nichols and Josh Mercer along with receivers Pharoah McKever and Jalen McDaniel. Chris Burton has the upside to be a go-to target at tight end.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 41. That Class Was Heavy On ... The Wolfpack is going hard after the defensive line for the second time in four years. The line is fine for now, but Tom O’Brien needs players to develop for down the road with the wave of strong prospects from the 2009 class are done. The offensive side will get more help for the interior with the guards getting the most attention. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 72. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebackers. There aren’t a ton of great ones in a generally mediocre class, but the hope is for strength in numbers with Mike Rose and Brandon Pittman two safety-sized defenders with the potential to be excellent with a little bit of time. The defensive line got help with Ty McGill for the inside and Dave Mann on the end, and quarterback Brian Taylor and WR Hakeem Flowers will be asked to be the star pitch-catch combo by 2013, but overall the star power isn’t there.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 43. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive lineman. This might not be the sexiest class, but it has teeth. WR Tony Creecy is a speedster who should make a big impact, and JUCO transfer Tobais Palmer will be a part of the running back mix right away. The key is the offensive line with Robert Crisp a massive and very talented offensive tackle who'll end up being the anchor up front. Crisp is 6-8, as is fellow tackle Andy Jomantas, while Tyson Chandler is a 6-6, 340-pound mauler. Defensively, Fre'Shad Hunter will be the star on the inside up front once he adds some weight.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 36. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive linemen. Tom O’Brien and his assistants absolutely loaded up on defensive linemen with this class, going as far north as Massachusetts and as far south as Georgia to find space-eaters. Willie Young, Alan-Michael Cash, and Shea McKeen have only one year of eligibility remaining, so this group will be expected to eventually form the backbone of the defensive front for the next four or five seasons.

 

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