The Wolfpacker

July 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 49 of 155

2012 FOOTBALL PREVIEW Transition Year A New Group Of Receivers Is Ready To Catch Passes From Star Quarterback Mike Glennon 31 touchdowns, and he'll pursue that goal throwing to a new group of wide receivers. T |||||||||||| WIDE RECEIVERS The Pack returns three veteran pass catchers, but will go through a second straight year of having players adjust to new roles, as well as a new coach. In late June, NC State hired former Stanford and NFL standout Troy Walters, who previ- ously coached the position at Texas A&M. The return of three veteran running backs and a hungry group of tight ends and fullbacks — who are also learning new roles — will assist in the passing game. Fifth-year senior wide receiver Tobais Palmer leads the returnees, having made 37 catches for 496 yards and five touchdowns in 2011 — his first year with the Wolfpack. The 5-11, 175-pound Palmer started seven of the 12 games he played in and finished with touchdowns in the last three contests. Redshirt sophomore Bryan Underwood is another speedy playmaker at 5-11 and 174 pounds, and he had 16 receptions for 226 yards and two scores in 2011. Redshirt junior Quintin Payton is the biggest of the returning receivers at 6-4 and 210 pounds, and caught seven passes for 107 yards. The three veterans are joined by redshirt freshmen Hakeem Flowers and Maurice Morgan, and converted cornerback Rashard ||||||| 2012 WIDE RECEIVERS No. Name BY JACEY ZEMBAL his fall, NC State fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Glennon will try to match, and perhaps even exceed, last year's 3,054 passing yards and Smith, a redshirt junior who caught one pass for six yards in limited wide receiver action during his first year back from knee surgery. NC State will also have two true fresh- men wide receivers in Charlie Hegedus and Xavier Griffin, and the Pack under head coach Tom O'Brien has never hesitated in playing a newcomer at the position. "We like this group," NCSU offensive coordinator Dana Bible said. "We think this is a very talented, extremely fast group of receivers. We might be a little short in the experience department, and we'll work hard and we'll overcome that. We'll be ready to go. "This is a group that can really stretch the field and has the potential to be very explosive." Palmer caught a season-high seven passes for 96 yards and a score in the loss against Wake Forest last year, and added five grabs for 94 yards in the win over North Carolina. The versatile Palmer has played running back and cornerback at various points in his football career, but has settled in at wide receiver after transferring in from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. "We have high expectations for Tobais this year," Bible said. "We liked his de- velopment last year, and he's got himself into position where he's a playmaker. He is somebody that you have to deal with. He has a high level of expectation for him- self in this coming season. His command of what we do on our offense has really increased, and that will express itself in 13 Hakeem Flowers WR 6-3 182 R-Fr. Simpsonville, S.C. (Hampton) 85 Xavier Griffin WR 6-3 185 84 Charlie Hegedus WR 6-2 195 39 Mychal Jones WR 5-9 170 34 Marcellus Ballard WR 5-10 160 R-Fr. Wilson, N.C. (Hunt) 47 Dominic Deshaies WR 5-9 186 27 Justin Dupree WR 5-8 179 Sr. 88 Quintin Payton WR 6-4 210 R-Jr. Anderson, S.C. (T.L. Hanna) 37 Rodney Pettus WR 6-1 180 80 Bryan Underwood WR 5-11 174 R-So. University Heights, Ohio (Cleveland Heights) 2 Rashard Smith WR 5-11 176 R-Jr. Jr. 48 ■ THE WOLFPACKER Charlotte, N.C. (Mallard Creek) Dublin, Ga. (Dublin) 19 Maurice Morgan WR 6-2 225 R-Fr. La Grange, N.C. (North Lenoir) 4 Tobais Palmer WR 5-11 175 5th-Sr. Pittsboro, N.C. (Georgia Military College) Fr. Newark, Del. (Newark) Fr. Jr. Marietta, Ga. (Lassiter) Raleigh (Wakefield) Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Last School) Jr. Pinetops, N.C. (SW Edgecombe) Raleigh (Athens Drive) production this year. "He will play much more instinctively this season because he won't have to think through all aspects of the offense. Right now, he is much more comfortable." Palmer redshirted in 2010 and then joined T.J. Graham and Jay Smith in three- wideout sets last year. "I think he's a guy that maybe people don't know much about him outside of NC State, but he'll be known after this season," Glennon said. "He knows it's his senior year, and I think he's going to play really well." The speedy Underwood took advantage of his first extended playing time when Palmer suffered a concussion during pre- game warm-ups in the win at Virginia. Gra- ham was also suspended for the first half, and numbers were thin at receiver. Under- wood responded with three catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns — including a 79-yarder, which is the longest ever by an NC State freshman. "Bryan broke out a little bit last year," Glennon said. "He wants to be really good, and he's willing to work at it. I think that's what stands out to me right now. He really wants to improve on his game." Bible is encouraged by Underwood's developing maturity and commitment to becoming a better player. "He's a player that found out for himself last year that he can play at this level and make an impact," explained Bible. "He has really bought into doing things the right way, and the hard work, the approach and the preparation that's needed to be success- ful at this level. "He and Tobais are alike in some ways in that they are both very, very fast and quick," Payton, who has caught 11 passes for 145 yards in 23 games at NC State, will be counted upon this fall. "I think Quintin really stepped up in the spring," Glennon said. "He became one of the leaders of the receiver groups. He was one of the young guys. I think he really stepped up to the occasion knowing that Fifth-year senior wide receiver Tobais Palmer started seven of the 12 games he played in 2011, and hauled in 37 receptions for 496 yards and five scores. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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