With star linebacker Germaine Pratt gone, NC State will try to reload with junior Louis Acceus. The New York native steps into the spotlight after a 2018 campaign that included 12 games played, and one start for an injured redshirt freshman Isaiah Moore. Acceus moves over to Pratt’s weak-side linebacker spot after spending last year at middle linebacker.
“I don’t look at it as pressure, I just feel like I have something to live up to,” Acceus said. “He set the bar this high, and I just want to exceed it, that expectation. Pratt did a lot last year, and I just want to do better than Pratt.”
While Acceus is looking at his first year as a starter, Moore is now the leader at linebacker. The middle linebacker was third-highest on the team last year with 69 tackles along with 2.5 sacks, and Moore is very comfortable in his role as a veteran.
“It’s a little different this year,” Moore said. “Last year I was competing for a spot, and this year I’ve got the job. I’m just trying to do what I can to be the best teammate that I can, the best leader I can, and just help this team in any way possible … I have the utmost faith in my teammates, and I have the utmost faith in me.”
Moore and Acceus haven’t played as a tandem before this year, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have chemistry. The two have a good relationship, sharpening each other like iron on iron.
“Me and Isaiah kind of learned off of each other,” Acceus said. “We came in together as linebackers, [and] whenever I make a mistake or put my head down, he’ll lift me up, and vice versa.”
It’s not just those two factoring in at linebacker. The position boasts great depth, with redshirt freshman Payton Wilson, redshirt junior Brock Miller, redshirt freshman C.J. Hart, Jr, and freshman Drake Thomas all pushing to get on the field. The logjam has led to speculation that new co-defensive coordinator Tony Gibson may bring his 3-3-5 to Raleigh.
“I think [the young backers] are doing a great job -- they’re quick learners, they have quick reflexes,” Moore said. “Through spring, through winter, through summer workouts, competition is nothing new to us but it’s all out of love. We all love each other; we all try to make each other better every day.”
The linebacker position will need to be one of the stronger units for NC State to compete at its highest potential. The group’s talent was on display during the team’s first scrimmage last Saturday, but other positions also made their mark, giving Acceus confidence.
“We have a lot of talent all over the board,” Acceus said. “We just have to make sure that every day we come out ready to work and improve our skill. We can be as good as we want to be. The sky’s the limit for us. I believe that we can have a good year, it’s just [a matter of] us believing in our skill sets.”