The Wolfpacker

March-April 2020 issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 29 of 51

Signee Spotlight: QUARTERBACK BEN FINLEY The comparisons are inevitable — that's what happens when the younger brother of one of the school's most prolific passers signs with NC State. Yet head coach Dave Doeren is quick to note that NC State class of 2020 quarterback Ben Finley was signed on his own merits, not because he is the sibling of former Pack star Ryan Finley, who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals. "Ben is his own guy," Doeren noted. "He's got to blaze his own trail. He chose to come to NC State for his reasons." Like you'd expect, there are similarities between the Finley broth- ers, their father, Pat, noted. "Neither one likes to lose at anything," he stated. "It doesn't matter if it's golf, pickleball, tennis, board games, video games, horse in bas- ketball, throwing contests — pretty much anything and everything." The two also are not ones to chill on the couch. Pat noted that they have to constantly keep themselves busy, and usually in something that is non-sports related. But there are differences. "I would say they differ in that Ben enjoys aspects of social media more and loves to find funny videos and funny sayings," Pat said. "Ben also is much more apt to turn his homework in early. Ryan probably enjoys travel a bit more than Ben." Perhaps most importantly, Pat Finley sees a lot of similarities in how the two approach football. Given Ryan's level of success at NC State, that is exciting news for Wolfpack fans. Ben Finley's decision to follow his brother was 100 percent his own, Pat claimed. As newcomers to the recruiting process with Ryan, Pat and his wife, Robin, were more prepared the second time around and were able to get Ben Finley more exposure. Ben Finley had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Iowa State and Nevada when he made an early pledge to NC State. "It was a Saturday morning in Louisville before the '18 game," Pat recalled. "I don't think any of us will forget that day or the postgame when Ben committed. It was special to have Ryan and Coach Doeren and Coach [Eli] Drinkwitz [then the offensive co- ordinator] all there. "Ben is proud of his brother, and he is his biggest fan. And so Ben traveled to as many games as he could with us and his sister, Sydney. Ben's high school season started earlier than it does in North Carolina, so it ended earlier. Because of that, he was able to make many of Ryan's games. So he was around the program often — including several Friday nights at the team hotel and, of course, all the UNC games. "In fact, we spent three Thanksgivings in a row out in Raleigh, and it started to feel like a second home to him." One advantage that the Finleys picked up from going to Ryan's games was an understand- ing of the life of a student- athlete. Pat Finley noted he saw a lot of "myths dispelled." "As an example, before having kids involved in D-1 football, I just as- sumed they all went out after the games and stayed up late," he noted. "But in reality, they are just looking for some downtime with their families after a long week — and a big highlight of the week can just be dinner after a game. Part of that is because that week of work starts right up again Sunday." Having the chance to go through it all again at NC State with Ben Finley is excit- ing. "It's been amazing," Pat Finley said. "It's hard to believe we get a second act. It'll be so much fun to keep cheering for the Pack and traveling around the ACC. Robin and I have been so fortunate and have three amazing children." — Matt Carter PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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