The Wolfpacker

July-August 2020 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 43 of 51

44 ■ THE WOLFPACKER New Look BY MATT CARTER A new coach and new names on the depth chart highlight the nickel position for NC State in 2020. Aaron Henry left in the offseason to become the defensive backs coach at Vanderbilt. Replac- ing him was Wolfpack alum Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay, who has been working his way up the coaching ladder since playing linebacker for NC State from 2001-04. He spent three years working in the recruiting office and as a graduate assistant at NC State, then worked at small colleges — Slippery Rock, Elon, Saint Augustine's and Campbell — as a defensive assistant before taking an analyst role at Ole Miss in 2018. Last year, he was the defensive coordinator/ linebackers coach at North Carolina Central. He inherits a nickel position that returns one established performer in junior Tyler Baker-Williams. Despite starting only three games in 2019, Baker-Williams actually played more snaps (499) than regular starter Stephen Griffin (390). Baker-Williams finished with 39 tackles (1.5 for loss) and three passes broken up. However, behind Baker-Williams are great unknowns. Jalen Frazier redshirted last season after sign- ing with NC State over offers from, among others, Michigan and North Carolina. NC State also inked speedy Joshua Pierre-Louis in December. Pierre-Louis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at NC State's summer camp and he also had a 104.88 rating at The Opening regional, a measure of athleticism based on speed, agility, strength and leaping tests. Anything above 100.00 is considered exceptional. BY THE NUMBERS 32 Tackles last season by Stephen Griffin, who was a senior in 2019 and split time with Tyler Baker-Williams at nickel. Grif- fin also had four passes broken up and added a sack. 48 Yards on a fumble return for a touch- down by nickels coach Freddie Aughtry- Lindsay while he was playing linebacker for NC State against Connecticut in 2003. 56 Yards for Aughtry-Lindsay's pick-six in the final seconds of the 31-24 win over UConn, capping a performance that gave him National Player of the Week honors. ■ PRESEASON ANALYSIS ★★★★ Among country's best; ★★★ Among ACC's best; ★★ Solid or has potential; ★ Too unproven STARTER ★★½ There are not a lot of question marks about junior Tyler Baker-Williams. After moving around during his freshman season, including a brief stint at running back, he settled in nicely last fall at nickel, which was the position that he was recruited to play coming out of Southeast Raleigh High. DEPTH ★ Given that none of the nickels outside of Baker-Williams have exhibited that they can play at the ACC level yet, it's a very unproven depth chart. EXPERIENCE ★ The reality is that outside of Baker-Williams there is no experience. The rest of the depth chart is comprised of redshirt freshman Jalen Frazier, incoming freshman Joshua Pierre-Louis and redshirt junior walk-on Cayman Czesak, who was a special teams standout last year. OVERALL ★½ Baker-Williams is a nice starting point for the Pack, but it can ill afford an injury to him unless coaches see something out of the freshmen during preseason camp. Otherwise, moving someone from another spot in the secondary might be a realistic option. NICKELS PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE ATHLETICS PROJECTED DEPTH CHART STARTER No. Name Year Ht. Wt. Hometown 13 Tyler Baker-Williams Jr. 6-1 205 Raleigh RESERVES 20 Jalen Frazier R-Fr. 5-9 181 Denver, N.C. — Joshua Pierre-Louis Fr. 5-10 165 Riviera Beach, Fla. WAITING IN THE WINGS 15 Cayman Czesak* R-Jr. 6-2 206 Wilmington, N.C. * Walk-on Baker-Williams arrived at NC State's summer camp in June 2017 hoping to get on the Pack's radar. He left with an offer. Three years later, he is a key contributor to the defense after emerging as a bright spot during a difficult 2019 season. He graded out at 73.1 last season according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), fifth highest on the defense regardless of how many snaps were played. PFF also gave Baker-Williams the highest score of any NC State player for pass coverage at 78.1. An over - all individual game grade of 64.0 is considered about average, and Baker-Williams graded out above 70.0 three times during ACC action — Florida State (78.8), Syracuse (70.9) and Clemson (78.4). SPOTLIGHT PLAYER JUNIOR TYLER BAKER-WILLIAMS

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