The Wolfpacker

July 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 69 of 155

2012 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY MATT CARTER I n his sixth season coaching the defen- sive linemen at NC State, Keith Willis Sr. finally has a roster deep and talented enough to rotate four or five players at both end and tackle with little drop-off. That is, if they stay healthy. An unusual rash of injuries along the de- fensive line last season forced some young players into action before they were probably ready. |||||||||||| DEFENSIVE LINEMEN "Because of some crazy way through inju- ries, it gave guys an opportunity to get some experience under their belt," Willis noted, "and then going into the spring it allowed them because of the previous fall to improve on some of the things that they were learning on the run then." A good example is sophomore defensive tackle T.Y. McGill. The 6-1, 298-pounder was expected to see some action as a true freshman last year after a strong preseason camp, but not as much as the 41 snaps he played at Cincinnati. McGill finished the year with 19 tackles, including one for loss, but he also gained the necessary experience to build on heading into this fall. Based on the spring, Willis already saw McGill taking advantage of that. "He's grown up significantly," Willis noted. "I really feel the kid senses that. He can be not just a guy playing in this league. He can be a well-known name playing in the ACC. He puts his time in, and he takes advantage of every opportunity he has off the football field to make himself better." McGill is part of a young stable of defen- sive tackles that will ease the loss of departed 92 Darryl Cato-Bishop DE 6-4 278 R-Jr. Roxbury, Mass. (Lawrence Academy) 96 Sylvester Crawford DE 6-4 240 R-Jr. Charlotte, N.C. (Northside Christian Academy) 68 Carl Escriva 65 A.J. Ferguson 76 Deylan Buntyn 98 McKay Frandsen DE 6-3 255 Sr. American Fork, Utah (Snow College) 70 Carlos Gray DE 6-4 240 Sr. Macedon, N.Y. (Cirillo) DT 6-3 281 Jr. 9 Kenderius Whitehead DE 6-4 220 Fr. 61 Joe Wright 66 Isaac Swindell 69 Thomas Teal 97 Forrest West 68 ■ THE WOLFPACKER — Desmond Owino DE 6-5 235 Fr. 90 Mike Rose 55 Brian Slay 91 K'Hadree Hooker DT 6-2 285 Fr. Deep Run, N.C. (South Lenoir) 58 Jacob Kahut 99 Tyler Knox 94 Dave Mann 75 T.Y. McGill 95 Art Norman DT 6-4 321 R-Fr. Pinson, Ala. (Oak Ridge) DT 6-4 266 Sr. Wake Forest, N.C. (Campbell) DE 6-4 280 R-Jr. High Point, N.C. (SW Guilford) DT 6-2 315 R-So. Bennettsville, S.C. (Marlboro Co.) DE 6-1 270 R-Jr. Canton, Conn. (U. of Colorado) Lithonia, Ga. (Martin Luther King) DE 6-4 232 R-Fr. Simpsonville, S.C. (Hillcrest) DE 6-3 274 Sr. Ashburn, Va. (Stone Bridge) DE 6-7 235 Fr. Greenville, N.C. (Rose) DE 6-1 242 R-So. Stone Mountain, Ga. (Chamblee) Nairobi, Kenya (Sanderson) Jesup, Ga. (Wayne County) DE 6-4 255 Fr. Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Myrtle Beach) DT 6-3 249 R-Fr. Fairburn, Ga. (Lithonia) DT 6-1 298 So. Southport, N.C. (Fork Union Military) starters Markus Kuhn and J.R. Sweezy, both of whom were drafted in the seventh round by the NFL in April. Sweezy, though, missed large chunks of last season with a foot injury. "That probably is the position because of J.R. Sweezy and Markus Kuhn leaving that everybody is saying we are going to be weak at," Willis admitted. "I beg to differ. I know we probably athletically improved a notch over the guys, not taking away from those guys because they are who they are, and they have the opportunity to play in the NFL, but these guys are a little more athletic and they are taking advantage of the opportunities in the offseason in the weight room." Joining McGill at defensive tackle will six games with a broken foot. Willis is a strong believer in Teal's upside. "Thomas is, out of all the defensive tack- les, probably the most athletically gifted," Willis stated. "He has to decide how great he wants to be. Does he just want to be a guy with all this athletic talent, or does he want to be great with this athletic talent? He has a tendency to let fatigue get in the way of that." Buntyn went through spring practice at Front Four Poised To Be A Force In 2012 Deep And Talented be junior A.J. Ferguson (6-3, 281 pounds), junior college transfer Deylan Buntyn (6-4, 330), redshirt sophomore Thomas Teal (6-2, 315), redshirt freshmen Carlos Gray (6-4, 321) and Dave Mann (6-3, 249), and incom- ing freshman K'Hadree Hooker (6-2, 285). Ferguson recorded seven tackles and a sack last year while playing as a reserve in seven games. Teal also has playing experi- ence, finishing with 11 hits, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack, a quarterback pressure and a forced fumble in six contests, including a start in the win over Clemson. Teal missed ||||||| 2012 DEFENSIVE LINEMEN No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Last School) DT 6-4 330 Jr. Havelock, N.C. (New Mexico Military Institute) Willis said. "[They] are going to have to bring him along and get him to understand that this is not little league. He's just a big, happy-go- lucky kid right now trying to find his way, but I think if he ever discovers what it takes to do well, he could be pretty tough." Willis added that Buntyn is probably the strongest defensive lineman on the team, but Gray — a player that Willis called "a man- child" — has pushed him. "[Gray's] a gifted guy," Willis said. "The sky is the limit with him out of all the tack- les. He's a professional body playing col- lege football. His hold back is going to be, can he understand what we are trying to do defensively? Can he understand what he's supposed to do and do it without thinking? [If so], nobody can block him." The returning interior linemen will be pushed by the promising Hooker, a former standout at South Lenoir High in Deep Run, N.C. Willis believes Hooker will be able to play as a true freshman if needed. "[Hooker is a] good athlete," Willis re- marked. "K'Hadree is a very talented, under- sized defensive tackle with an unbelievable motor. K'Hadree is coming in to take some- one's role. It would not surprise me to see him come in here and earn a role." The job of the interior linemen will be to create a push in the middle, stuffing the running game and freeing up linebackers to As a redshirt freshman last season, defensive end Art Norman led the Pack with seven sacks and 30 quarterback hurries. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN NC State after playing two seasons at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M. Willis admitted that Buntyn may be a project at this point. "He has the talent, and for him to get better the other guys are going to bring him along,"

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