The Wolfpacker

July 2016

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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58 ■ THE WOLFPACKER FOOTBALL PREVIEW 2016 BY JACEY ZEMBAL S econd-year wide receivers coach George McDonald has a mix of experience and newcomers this fall, but he would like to see a go-to guy emerge in the group. NC State returns enough experience that senior Johnathan Alston — who had 18 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown in 13 games (four starts) last year — was able to make the switch to cornerback this spring. Seniors Jumichael Ramos and Bra'Lon Cherry have played in 34 and 35 games, respec- tively, at NC State. The 6-2, 200-pound Ramos bounced back from a disappointing one-catch sophomore season to lead NCSU wide receivers with 34 catches for 457 yards and three touch- downs last year. "It's just a function of taking the next step, which is to double the catches and make some of the tougher catches that he wasn't able to come up with," McDonald said. "He needs to hold on to some catches where he had the catch until he hit the ground. You always want to build on your foundation." The 5-11, 191-pound Cherry emerged as a standout punt returner last year, and he was fifth on the team with 22 catches for 288 yards. "He is a physical guy that can make a lot of tough catches," Mc- Donald said "He has the ability to get the ball in space and make people miss, and get the tough extra yards." Another newcomer of sorts has also buoyed hopes for the unit. Redshirt sophomore Stephen Louis missed last year due to injuries to both his shoulders, but the 6-2, 215-pounder could be exactly what the Wolfpack need. He had seven catches for 72 yards and a score in 2014, and caught five passes for 64 yards in the Kay Yow Spring Game in April. "Stephen is a very competitive person," McDonald said. "I think who he is, helps us. He brings a level of ownership in the position and a level of competitiveness, and that is who he is." Redshirt sophomore Maurice Trowell, sopho- more Nyheim Hines and redshirt junior Gavin Locklear also played extensively last year. Trowell started seven of 13 games and Hines, who will split time at running back, earned four starts (three at wide receiver). Hines caught 20 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown, and he rushed 48 times for 243 yards and one score. He finished with a team- high 1,419 all-purpose yards thanks to an ACC- best 920 yards on kickoff returns. Hines started the Belk Bowl at running back after attrition at the position. Hines then joined the NCSU track squad and earned All-America honors after helping the 400-meter relay finish seventh at the NCAA Championships. Trowell and Hines both flashed their big-play speed in the 35- 17 win at Wake Forest Oct. 24. Trowell opened the first-quarter scoring spree with a 59-yard touchdown catch, and Hines added a 58-yard scoring grab to extend the lead to 21-0. "[Trowell] knows the game plan and how to execute week in and week out," McDonald said. "Hopefully, he'll take that next step and WIDE RECEIVERS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS NC State Features A Deep And Fast Group Of Pass Catchers Senior Jumichael Ramos led all Wolfpack wide receivers with 34 receptions for 457 yards and three scores in 2015. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN NC State's Top Receptions Leader The Past 10 Seasons Year Name Catches Yards 2015 Jaylen Samuels 65 597 2014 Bo Hines 45 616 2013 Rashard Smith 49 530 2012 Tobais Palmer 54 781 2011 T.J. Graham 46 757 2010 Owen Spencer 60 912 2009 Jarvis Williams 45 547 2008 Owen Spencer 31 691 2007 John Dunlap 45 375 2006 Anthony Hill 45 478

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