Person Chased By D

Freshman running back Ricky Person Jr. breaks through a hole for a big gain. Person had 68 yards on 16 carries. The Wolfpack won in an emotional 34-28 overtime win on Saturday Nov. 24 in Kenan Memorial Stadium.

Despite losing starters at quarterback, running back, two wide receivers, left tackle, left guard, and center, the Wolfpack may field the deepest roster head coach, Dave Doeren, has ever had in his seventh year at NC State.

“I think our take now is that we reload at NC State,” graduate student defensive end James Smith-Williams told reporters at the ACC Kickoff on Wednesday. “I don’t think there is ever a rebuilding year. We’ve been getting guys from recruiting classes that are great, guys that you guys haven’t seen yet but I’ve practiced with, so I know what they can do… From top to bottom, everyone just keeps growing and keeps building.”

The key to reloading rests in recruiting, and Doeren has delivered recently. NC State’s last two classes ranked in the top 30 according to the 247Sports 2019 football team rankings, and the players from those classes should be ready to bear fruit this season. 

On the offensive end, NC State’s quarterback room boasts three capable options to replace Ryan Finley, led by redshirt sophomore Matt McKay. The Pack loses starting running back Reggie Gallaspy and replace him with a blue-chip prospect in freshman Zonovan Knight. 

“I'm excited about Ricky Person,” Doeren told reporters at the ACC Kickoff on Wednesday. “I'm really excited about our young backs Zonovan Knight, Jordan Houston, Delbert Mimms; we've got four talented running backs. They need to get into camp and show they can hang onto the football, protect our quarterback, do all the things that coach [Des] Kitchings demands from them.”

At wide receiver, the Wolfpack goes six deep. The lingering question is who will step up and be the go-to receiver? Between junior Emeka Emezie and redshirt junior C.J. Riley, someone needs to separate himself as the man.

For the defense, the line continues to be one of the stronger units on the team as three blue-chip prospects join the team. Linebacker has become the deepest unit on the team, going seven-deep when you include USC transfer VI Jones. In the secondary, the Wolfpack loses only one starter, and despite multiple disappointing years, the unit has a couple blue-chip second year providing valuable depth. 

With all the depth this team has, NC State fans should be excited for the new contributors on the team this year.