The Wolfpacker

September 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 48 of 95

SEPTEMBER 2018 ■ 49 BY MATT CARTER I nquoris Johnson is better known by his nickname Inky. He is a former corner- back at Tennessee who had visions of the NFL, but during his junior season against Air Force a tackle attempt led to a busted subclavian artery in his chest and torn shoulder ligaments. It was a life- threatening injury and also career-ending. The result was a paralyzed right arm. Johnson came from a tough upbringing in Atlanta and the NFL was his ticket to provide for his family. In an instant, that was gone. Twelve years later, he has a mas- ter's in sports psychology, has become an author and is a testimonial success story for football players everywhere. He spreads his story in motivational speeches across the country, and he was a perfect choice for NC State head coach Dave Doeren and Pete Roley, the Wolf- pack's associate director of football opera- tions, for what they call around the Murphy Center "Real World Wednesdays." Being a major college football player in today's environment that includes massive money in sports and wide-spread access to student-athletes via social media is challeng- ing. The examples are countless. Players are suspended for selling shoes given to them by the university. Some lose eligibility for forbidden dealings with agents. There is an increased awareness of domestic violence leading to severe consequences in some cases for those guilty of abuse. Tweets from the days of being "dumb and young" can be dug up to haunt athletes later. It is these types of top- ics and more that Doeren is hoping to educate his players on through the Real World Wednesdays. The day was chosen because it was a good fit in the schedule. "And it had a nice ring to it," Doeren explained. "There are a lot of pro- grams out there, includ- ing at the ones where I've coached at, where player development just isn't in the weight room — it's in life and life skills. With all the topics we are all aware of in society to get players in a lost op- portunity or in trouble, I look at it as an opportunity as a staff to give them every resource to understand how to make the best decision possible, so if they are ever in a bad situation they know how to handle it. "We talk about culture and our core values, we talk about those things all the time, but you're touching on all the things from an NCAA standpoint. An NFL [Players Asso- ciation] guy came in and talked to our guys, educating them on the dos and don'ts of agents, educating them on domestic violence, educating them on alcohol and drugs. We've had motivational speakers like Inky Johnson. "You're just looking for different ways to touch the guys and help them grow off the field." The topics are wide-ranging. Doeren and Roley lined up a banker to talk to players about properly managing money. Military members have addressed the team. Some can be light-hearted like on one occasion bringing in an instructor to teach players how to properly wear a bow tie, or this past summer when players were treated to a formal lesson on dinner table etiquette. "I've never sat down with three forks in front of me," fifth-year senior center Gar- rett Bradbury admitted. There are football lessons thrown in as well. Former Wisconsin safety Chris Maragos, a teammate and roommate of the Wolfpack's second-year nickels coach Aaron Henry in college, spoke to the team in June after spending last season on the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles squad. Maragos was an undrafted free agent in 2010 that signed a three-year, $6 million contract with the Eagles in 2016. Bradbury noted one Real World Wednes- day that stood out to him was when execu- tives from IBM came by to showcase how to handle job interviews. "A lot of us aren't as locked into that as normal students are," Bradbury added. "This is a job right here. This is our job for four or five years. We're all focused on this, giving everything we have to this." For fifth-year senior left tackle Tyler Jones, Wednesdays are a day to look forward to. "Usually it's stuff you need to learn for life after football," Jones said. "We've done financial lessons, banking, learned how to tie a bow tie. All of this stuff you never think you needed." For Jones and senior defensive end Darian Roseboro, both were particularly touched by the life lesson provided by Johnson. "That was probably the one that hit home the most — hearing his story and the mo- tivation he spoke with, you could tell he was genuine," Jones noted. "It wasn't like a scripted speech where he was going to come to NC State and say this and this. He talked to us from the heart." Roseboro, who said he uses the occasions to "suck up as much knowledge as I can," felt he could relate to Johnson. "He played football and he was one of the best to play football," Roseboro added. Speakers like Johnson are helping Doeren achieve the ultimate goal behind Real World Wednesdays — player development off the field. ■ LIFE LESSONS Real World Wednesdays At NC State Are Used To Develop Players Off The Field Topics and speakers for Real World Wednesday have ranged from members of the military (above) to a lesson on formal dinner etiquette. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - September 2018