2012 Program Preview - North Carolina State

NC State cornerback David Amerson goes into the 2012 season as one of the top CB prospects (if not the top) in the country. Is there any way he can intercept another 13 passes this year?

North Carolina State is one of the more interesting programs nationally right now.

Since taking over in 2007, Tom O'Brien, and to a degree Russell Wilson, helped bring the program out of the depths of sub-.500 seasons and back to respectability. Just two years ago, the Wolfpack flirted around the edges of the bottom of the polls finishing 25th in both major polls. With Wilson having transferred to Wisconsin, the door was opened for Mike Glennon to ascend to the top of the depth chart at QB.

It wasn't perfect, but for the former #3 QB prospect in the country (and giraffe neck transplant recipient) certainly wasn't terrible. More importantly, it sets the team up for a strong 2012 run.

After the jump, the prospects worth noting as well as some games and matchups to pencil into your calendar.

References

Backing the Pack (SBN NC State community), SB Nation team page, official team site, Dane Brugler's preview for CBS Sports

Notable offensive prospects

Name POS Yr. Early projected Rd (notes)
Mike Glennon QB
RS Sr.
4
R.J. Mattes
OT
RS Sr.
7
Rob Crisp
OT
Jr.
6

* Pete Thomas Transfer stuff

Notable defensive prospects

Name POS Yr. Early projected Rd (notes)
Brandan Bishop
FS
Sr.
6
Camden Wentz
CB
Sr.
UD
C.J. Wilson CB
RS Sr.
UD
Brian Slay
DT
Sr.
UD
David Amerson
CB
Jr.
1
D.J. Green
OLB
Jr.
7
Art Norman
DE/3-4 OLB
RS Soph.
5


Summary

Amerson is going to get the majority of draft love, at least initially, while Glennon will draw the focus of the collegentsia (I think I just made that up, but I might be stealing it via my subconscious).The problem on offense is that NC State just doesn't have much natural talent at the skill positions. Since 2010, the last two classes just haven't been very strong. That being the case, the window might be really small for O'Brien to grab some success.

Key games

Tennessee (home) - Week 1 (Fri., Aug. 31 - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Sure, the Vols have fallen off since Phil Fulmer passed the mic (I can say that about coaches, right?) to Lane Kiffin who did the ol' "hot potato, hot potato!" for a year before Derek Dooley rode into Knoxville wearing those pants.

For an ACC-SEC matchup, this is very interesting and competitive. There's the recruiting aspect (Tennessee has a commitment from a top-20 QB from North Carolina...), the conference overlap (Georgia/Georgia Tech, S. Carolina/Clemson, Miami & Florida St./Florida) as well as the competitiveness for a season opener. ESPN2 must have something good on the last day of August to push this to ESPNU.

North Carolina (away) - Week 9 (Sat., Oct. 27 - TBD)

As I said yesterday in the UNC preview -- yup.

Key matchups

CB David Amerson v. Tennessee WR Justin Hunter, Week 1 - Fri., Aug. 31
CB David Amerson v. Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, Week 12 - Sat., Nov. 17

I'll put both here since I'm honestly not sure who's the better prospect. Watkins was wonderful in his freshman year, but lest we forget the lessons of Alshon Jeffery, trajectories aren't always upwardly linear. Hunter was off to a nationally-relevant start before a disgusting knee injury in the Florida game ended his season. Given that he's already got his likeness plastered on billboards in Tennessee, I'd guess the knee's ok.

As for Amerson, as I said above he'll get plenty of focus from scouts and draftniks alike. These two matchups are likely the most competitive he'll be involved in all season, minus the possible ACC Championship and/or bowl game.

QB Mike Glennon v. North Carolina CBs Tre Boston & Tim Scott, Week 9 - Sat., Oct. 27

If there's a game beyond the Florida State contest in which Glennon can really elevate his draft stock (again, and I only say this so some jerk doesn't point out that I didn't say it, -- ignoring a potential ACC Championship and/or bowl game) it's likely the UNC game. Against the Tar Heels' CB pairing, Glennon will face a difficult duo to work around. If the Pack is to come away from this game with a win, Glennon has to outduel this duo.

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