The Wolfpacker

July 2013 Football Preview

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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O'Brien's Class The 2008 Recruits Had The Distinction Of Being Exclusively Tom O'Brien's T By Matt Carter om O'Brien arrived at NC State in December 2006 in time to help complete the 2007 recruiting class, which would prove much better than its low rankings initially indicated. A two-star quarterback named Russell Wilson highlighted that group. A year later, O'Brien had his first full recruiting class, led by four-star signal-caller Mike Glennon, arguably the most highly touted quarterback prospect to ever sign with NC State. O'Brien had arrived with a reputation for finding and developing talent more than signing big-name prospects, but the 2008 class was an exception to that approach. In addition to Glennon, NC State won spirited recruiting battles to sign four-star players such as running back Brandon Barnes, offensive lineman Sam Jones, defensive tackle Kyle Linney, linebacker Terrell Manning and offensive lineman R.J. Mattes. The players signed in 2008 would prove not only to be O'Brien's first full class, but also the only prospects who were recruited by and played exclusively for the Wolfpack coach, who was let go after the 2012 season. Here is a look back at the 2008 recruiting class, breaking down the best players and best performances and delivering the final report card on the group. Top 10 Individual Performances Of The Class Of 2008 1. Mike Glennon vs. Clemson, 2012: NC State lost a shootout at Clemson, 62-48, but as the score suggests, the Wolfpack's offense, led by Glennon, did its part. Glennon completed 29 of 53 passes for 493 yards and five touchdowns with one interception. Only Shane Montgomery, when he threw for 535 yards against Duke in 1989, had more passing yards in a single game at NCSU. Glennon also matched the school record for most touchdowns tossed in a contest. 2. Mike Glennon vs. Maryland, 2011: Glennon actually threw for five touchdowns in a game three times. The first was in a recordsetting comeback in the 2011 regular-season finale against Maryland. Glennon completed 36 of 55 passes for 306 yards with one pick. The completions were tied for the fifth most in a game at State, and the Pack's rally from being down 41-14 in the third quarter to win 56-41 was the largest come-from-behind ACC win in conference history. 3. T.J. Graham vs. Cincinnati, 2011: This effort came in a loss, but Graham caught seven passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns and returned seven kickoffs for a total of 160 yards. The receiving total at the time was the 10th-best single game ever in school history, and the kickoff return yards tied for sixth best in a game at State.The 336 all-purpose yards was briefly a school record until Tobais Palmer broke it a year later at Clemson. 4. Mike Glennon vs. North Carolina, 2012: The game will be most remembered for UNC running back Gio Bernard breaking NCSU's hearts with his punt return in the final minute to win the game, 43-35. Before that, Glennon was breaking the backs of UNC's defense. He completed 29 of 52 passes for 467 yards and five scores with two picks. Had he not been victimized by 10 drops from receivers, he could have threatened the school record for passing yards in a game. 5. Earl Wolff vs. Clemson, 2012: Wolff was one of the few players who could have been credited with playing defense that afternoon in Clemson in the Wolfpack's 62-48 loss. On the field for an astounding 103 plays,Wolff made 19 tackles, 15 of which were solo, picked off a pass and delivered a crushing hit to Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd that ended his game late in the fourth quarter. 6. Terrell Manning vs. North Carolina, 2011: Manning had a career-high 11 tackles, including the sack that knocked UNC quarterback Bryn Renner out of the game. His pass breakup near the red zone on fourth down in the fourth quarter secured NC State's 13-0 win and the first shutout of UNC since 1960. 7. Terrell Manning vs. North Carolina, 2010: Manning always seemed to bring his best for the rivalry showdown. He had eight tackles in this 29-25 win, including three hits for a loss. His sack of UNC quarterback T.J.Yates in the end zone for a safety with 27 seconds left in the game provided the final margin and sealed the victory. 8. Mario Carter vs. Clemson, 2012: The highlight of Carter's career came when he caught seven passes for 105 yards and a touchdown at Clemson during the shootout. Carter set a school record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a game. 9. T.J. Graham vs. Louisville, 2011: Graham's final career game for NC State was a memorable one. He caught seven passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the Belk Bowl win. Only NFL wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Koren Robinson had more receiving yards in a bowl game for NC State than Graham did against Louisville. 10. C.J. Wilson vs. UNC, 2012: Had it not been for Wilson, NC State may not have even been in position for a chance of a sixth straight win over UNC. Wilson saved two touchdowns. The first by tipping and then intercepting a pass in the end zone, and then he ripped the ball out of UNC receiver Quinshad Davis' hands as he was streaking toward a score to force a second turnover.The interception was the fourth of Wilson's career and the only one he did not return for a defensive touchdown. In 2012, quarterback Mike Glennon threw for 493 yards against Clemson and for 467 yards versus UNC, two of the six-biggest passing days in NC State history. photo by ken martin 112  ■  the wolfpacker 112-114,116,118.Class of 2008.indd 112 7/1/13 10:11 AM

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