The Wolfpacker

March-April 2024

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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BY ETHAN MCDOWELL The NC State football team wrapped up its win- ter transfer window with 12 commitments, replacing 19 portal departures from the 2023 season. The Wolfpack's transfer class ranked No. 7 nationally and No. 3 in the ACC, according to On3. Here's a position-by-po- sition report card breaking down the Pack's additions and subtractions: QUARTERBACK Addition: Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina) Departure: MJ Morris Grade: A NC State needed to find a starting quarterback in the portal after Morris, con- sidered the future of the position group, decided to redshirt and later transferred. The Pack moved fast, spoke with top targets such as Will Howard (Kansas State) and Blake Shapen (Baylor), but zeroed in on North Carolina native McCall. UCF made a push in his recruitment, but NC State did a great job holding the momen- tum and securing a commitment. RUNNING BACK Additions: Jordan Waters (Duke), Hollywood Smothers (Oklahoma) Departures: Delbert Mimms III, Michael Allen, Jordan Houston Grade: A+ Mimms was the Pack's primary short-yardage back, Allen had 52 carries in 10 games, and Houston started the first few games of the season before choosing to redshirt. NC State replaced all that production with Waters alone. The third-team All-ACC pick is the No. 5 running back in the portal with proven production. He was a best-case-scenario addition. Smothers adds some elite potential and could be the future of the position group. WIDE RECEIVER Additions: Noah Rogers (Ohio State), Wesley Grimes (Wake Forest) Departures: Joshua Crabtree, Terrell Timmons Jr., Anthony Smith, Chris Scott Grade: A+ Rogers was a five-star prospect and the No. 1 recruit in North Carolina in the 2023 class. He returned home to NC State after one year with the Buckeyes and provides truly elite potential to the Wolfpack wide receivers room. Grimes was also a top-50 recruit out of high school and has proven production at the ACC level. They both have multiple years of eligibly remaining and could start Week 1 this fall. TIGHT END Additions: Justin Joly (Connecticut) Departures: Cedd Seabrough, Fred Seabrough, Christopher Toudle Grade: A+ The Seabrough twins and Toudle did not record a reception during the 2023 season. Joly was the No. 1 tight end in the portal, ranking No. 37 nationally. He perfectly fits what offensive coordinator Robert Anae has previously looked for at the flex-Y position, and the Pack secured his commitment over a long list of Power Four offers. OFFENSIVE LINE Additions: Zeke Correll (Notre Dame), Val Erickson (Missouri) Departures: Lyndon Cooper, Jaleel Davis Grade: A- A starting center was one of the top priorities for this transfer portal window, and the Pack quickly secured a commitment from one of the best available inte- rior offensive linemen. Correll started three seasons for Notre Dame and should replace the production void filled by Dylan McMahon's departure for the NFL. Er- ickson has three years of eligibility remaining and provides depth at tackle. With four starters returning, the staff only had one major need to address and did so. DEFENSIVE LINE Additions: None Departure: C.J. Clark Grade: C- NC State hosted a couple of defensive linemen during the transfer window but did not land any commitments. Clark was the program's most important departure. Senior Davin Vann's return means there will be some continuity in the starting lineup, but expect the Pack to continue looking for help in the spring transfer window. LINEBACKER Additions: None Departures: Daejuan Thompson, Torren Wright Grade: C Linebacker was not a priority for the Wolfpack this cycle. NC State needs to replace starters Payton Wilson and Jaylon Scott, but the coaches clearly feel com- fortable with their current options in that room. SAFETY Addition: Donovan Kaufman (Auburn) Departure: Jakeen Harris Grade: B Kaufman could fill a number of roles in NC State's secondary, from cornerback to nickel back to safety. He was known as a sure tackler and a ball hawk at Au- burn, and NC State will be able to use those skills. With Harris heading to UNC, the Pack lost some significant experience at safety, but Kaufman's role in his final college season will be determined in the months to come. NICKEL BACK Addition: Tamarcus Cooley (Maryland) Departures: Darius Edmundson, Cecil Powell Grade: B Cooley spent most of his senior year of high school committed to NC State before flipping to Maryland right before signing day. He was a three-star prospect out of Rolesville (N.C.) High but was one of the more underrated prospects in the state. At nickel, he will add speed and physicality. Cooley should compete for the starting job following Robert Kennedy's graduation and, at a minimum, provide quality depth. CORNERBACK Additions: Devon Marshall (Villanova), Corey Coley (Maryland) Departure: Nate Evans Grade: A- At one point, it looked like NC State would need to replace both of its starting cornerbacks. Shyheim Battle declared for the NFL Draft, but Aydan White ended up withdrawing from the transfer portal and returning to Raleigh for his senior season. Now, Marshall and Coley, who both have plenty of experience, will com- pete for the second starting spot alongside sophomore Brandon Cisse. Grading The Wolfpack's Transfer Portal Moves MARCH/APRIL 2024 ■ 45 Justin Joly joins the Pack's tight end corps after leading UConn last season with 56 catches for 578 yards. COURTESY JUSTIN JOLY

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