The Wolfpacker

July 2013 Football Preview

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Football 2013 T By Matt Carter he NC State secondary is not in overhaul mode, but it is in transition. That's especially true at safety, where after four years as starters neither Brandan Bishop nor Earl Wolff will be trotting onto the field. Safeties coach Clayton White began to see some separation during the spring with converted corner Jarvis Byrd, a fifth-year senior, and Hakim Jones, a redshirt sophomore, taking the starting jobs for the spring game. "Right now I think the two guys … kind of solidified themselves, but you really can't have a bad day back there," White said. "It's definitely the most wide open for the freshmen to come in and play and for reserves to get a chance." Byrd started three games as a true freshman at corner in 2009, but two torn ACLs have limited him to four games and just nine defensive snaps since then. The for- 4 39 ■ By The Numbers Career interceptions by all returning defensive backs — Juston Burris has made three picks and Hakim Jones has snagged one. Career interceptions by the three departing starters and reserve C.J. Wilson — David Amerson grabbed 18 picks, Brandan Bishop snared 12, Earl Wolff made five and Wilson had four. Snaps on defense in 2012 taken by players lining up at safety this fall at NC State. 66 Quick Facts Position Coach: Richard McNutt (cornerbacks, 1st season) and Clayton White (safeties, 1st season) Returning Starters: Dontae Johnson (16 career starts) Starters Lost: David Amerson (35), Brandan Bishop (46) and Earl Wolff (43) FYI: Lindy's tabbed senior corner Dontae Johnson preseason second-team All-ACC … Athlon ranked NC State's defensive backs as the 10th-best unit in the league, while Phil Steele's listed them 12th … Redshirt sophomore Juston Burris' three interceptions were two off the school record for most picks by a freshman, set by Jesse Campbell in 1988 … Redshirt sophomore safety Hakim Jones is the younger brother of former NCSU linebacker Ernest Jones, who was the second-leading tackler for the 2007 season and finished his career with 207 hits … Redshirt freshman corner Niles Clark and sophomore receiver Charlie Hegedus were teammates and classmates at Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter High … Redshirt freshman corner Marchez Coates is the only player from the state of Maryland on the roster … Incoming freshman Malcolm Means won the South Carolina Class A state high jump title with a leap of 6-4 … Class of 2013 signees Sean Paul and Dravious Wright might not be the only alums of Vero Beach (Fla.) High's defensive backfield to suit up for the Pack — class of 2014 athlete Will Dawkins currently claims an offer from NCSU. In Transition New Faces Mix In With The Veterans To Reshape The Secondary mer four-star recruit is healthy once again, redshirt sophomore whom White called and his move to safety has reaped early "one of our key players on this football positive returns. team." "He's a tough player," The depth chart at corner is White noted. "He has leaderYear-By-Year a little more established at the ship qualities. He brings the senior Dontae JohnInterception top with redshirt sophomore coverage aspect to the safety son and position, and he's also one of Juston Burris. Cornerbacks Totals our best tacklers. He is gocoach Richard McNutt called Return Year Int.Yards ing to be a guy that needs to Johnson, a potential NFL 201216 192 step up for us. We moved him Draft prospect next spring, the 201127 381 there for a reason. He's one of leader of the secondary. John20109 164 our four best defensive backs son recorded 80 tackles and 20098 65 and we need to get him on the four passes broken up last year 200818 197 field." while starting all 13 games. 200710 58 White added that he thinks Burris is coming off a prom20067 121 Jones is a candidate to break ising rookie season during 200513 199 out this season. Last year, which he notched 43 tackles, 20049 138 Jones posted 10 tackles, an inthree interceptions and eight 200311 315 terception and a pass broken passes broken up. up in 13 games. "He understands his strengths and weakA pair of former walk-ons and Raleigh nesses, and he plays accordingly, so he puts natives could provide depth. Redshirt sophhimself in position to make plays a lot," omore Tim Buckley walked on at Penn McNutt noted. State, earned a scholarship and then transThe bigger question at corner is depth. A ferred to NCSU where he played mainly pair of redshirt freshmen in Niles Clark and special teams last year. Josh Stanley is a Marchez Coates are the leading contenders. Getting To Know: Hakim Jones Redshirt sophomore Hakim Jones was the first safety off the bench last year, and he flashed his long-term potential. Jones played 57 snaps in 13 games while backing up Earl Wolff and Brandan Bishop. The 6-2, 198-pounder from Henderson (N.C.) Southern Vance finished with 10 tackles and snared his first career interception against South Alabama.The former three-star prospect will get his chance to shine this season with Wolff and Bishop on to pursue professional opportunities. "They were like my brothers and I learned everything from them," Jones said. "They showed me how to read everything and how to read film and plays. They told me everything that went on, including what to look for first and then second." Jones' favorite memory was getting three tackles in NC State's 10-7 road victory over Connecticut Sept. 8. "I was in for Earl and then Bishop went down, so Earl came back in for Bishop," Jones said. "I was talking to both of them during the game and switching sides. I got two different aspects." Jones exited spring practices as the first-string strong safety, with Penn State transfer Tim Buckley right behind him. Converted cornerback Jarvis Byrd, a fifth-year senior, made the move to free safety to solidify that spot. Jones hopes to be in the starting lineup when NC State hosts Louisiana Tech in the season opener Aug. 31 at Carter-Finley Stadium. "I just want to be a better leader on the field," Jones said. "[Starting] is what motivated me every practice [in the spring]." Jones is the younger brother of former NC State outside linebacker Ernest Jones, who also went through a coaching change during his college career. Ernest was recruited by Chuck Amato and finished under Tom O'Brien. Hakim Jones was recruited by O'Brien and looks forward to learning from new head coach Dave Doeren and safeties coach Clayton White, who was on the UConn staff last year in the game Jones referenced. "I talked to him right after the coaching change," Jones said. "He said to keep doing everything I was doing outside of football. "Coach White and our old coach [Mike Reed, now at Clemson] really relate a lot," Jones said. "It's been a pretty smooth transition. They both know how to relate to the players." — Jacey Zembal 84  ■  the wolfpacker 84-86.DBs.indd 84 7/1/13 10:04 AM

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