The Wolfpacker

July 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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2012 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY JACEY ZEMBAL tion-leading 13 interceptions, which set NC State and ACC records, put him on the map for numerous All-America teams and has helped him become a household name among NFL personnel executives. Amerson broke one of NC State's old- N est records, shattering the mark of eight interceptions in a season that was set in 1937 and 1938. Remarkably, he is cur- rently third in NC State history in inter- ceptions, based on just last season. C State junior cornerback David Amerson had a magical season last year. The 6-3, 194-pound Amerson exploded for a na- American. He also has been put on some regional magazine covers for the various college football preview magazines this summer. Amerson doesn't want to skip any steps and have it come back later to affect him. However, it's nice walking through the grocery store and seeing his picture on the cover of magazines. "That's a dream come true, and some- Cornerback David Amerson Looks To Follow Up His Breakout Campaign Amerson made sure to finish his soph- National Phenomenon thing every athlete since you are small, has dreamed about happening," Amerson said. "Just to see it happen is kind of a reward of the hard work over the years. "I wouldn't say it's a weird feeling, but I'm not trying to overthink too many omore campaign in style. He had two interceptions in the Belk Bowl, one of which he returned 65 yards for a touch- down, while the other helped preserve the 31-24 victory over Louisville. Amerson intercepted two passes in four different games, and finished the season with 59 tackles and five passes broken up. "My confidence really started to build up and I believed in myself," said Amer- son, who is 20. "I was thinking that I was what everyone expected me to be. That's when I played at a high level." His second pick against the Cardi- nals might be his favorite from last year. He stole the ball from teammate Don- tae Johnson to seal the win and help the Wolfpack finish the season 8-5. "That's something I really take pride in, to get the ball and make plays for my team," Amerson said. "That was probably one of my most memorable plays." NC State defensive backs coach Mike Reed pointed out Louisville coach Char- lie Strong learned something that ACC offensive coordinators already know. "It's funny, last year, I hate to speak on the past, but going into the game against Louisville, Coach Strong told me, 'We're going to try him.' After the game I saw him, and he said, 'I shouldn't have did that.' That was a funny moment." Amerson picked up national honors throughout the offseason. Walter Camp and tabbed him as a first- team All-American, while, Sports Illustrated, Associated Press,, and Phil Steele all named him a second-team All- 78 ■ THE WOLFPACKER things. I'm taking one day at a time and one task at a time." Having the chance to go to Disney World and be on national television for the Jim Thorpe Award might have been the biggest highlight of all. "Going to Orlando was probably one of the best experiences of my life," Amerson said. "I got to know some of the big-name guys or guys from other schools that are on TV a lot. That was a good experience. "I got to meet all the guys like Trent Rich- ardson [of Alabama] and Andrew Luck [of Stanford], Morris Claiborne [of LSU] and Mark Barron [of Alabama]. Everyone was pretty cool and pretty down to earth." The aforementioned players made up four of the first seven picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. Amerson, Claiborne and Barron were the finalists for the Thorpe Award, which Claiborne won. Amerson has been mentioned promi- nently as one of the top cornerback prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft, even though he'll have another year of eligibil- ity to use following the upcoming season. ESPN's Todd McShay of Scouts Inc. has Amerson slated as the No. 11 overall pick, and ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has Amerson eighth on his 2013 NFL Draft big board. Amerson is quick to find out in this world of fast-paced social media when an NFL Draft guru touts him as a high draft pick next April. "I hear about stuff like that all the time," Amerson said. "I just try and not let stuff like that get to my head. As quick as you gain things, you can also "If they are, then it will obviously im- pact because we know that and don't have to worry about it," O'Brien said. "They [Louisville] threw at him in the bowl game, so that was after a lot of looks at him." Amerson might not control what his opponents will do, but he doesn't view himself as a finished product. Amerson said he's working hard on making sure his eyes aren't peeking into the backfield too much while watching the quarterback. He hopes to improve on some of the subtleties of the position that help lead to big plays. "I can improve my technique as far as staying low in my back pedal," Amerson said. "I can work on my footwork out of my breaks. I also need to get out of blocks better. Sometimes I allow people to block me when a running back comes around the corner, and I should be there quicker." O'Brien has been encouraged that Am- erson has put last year's exploits in the rear-view mirror. "Certainly, he had a great year last year, but when we had our awards and senior dinner, he ended up being the most valuable player voted by his teammates," O'Brien said. "I made them all talk, and he said last year really means nothing. It is all about what he does now and work- ing to get better each and every practice and every game." ■ As a sophomore last season, Amerson grabbed a nation-leading 13 interceptions en route to earning first-team All-America hon- ors from Walter Camp and PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN lose them, especially playing corner. I can't live off last year and I have to con- tinue to get better." Could he possibly top his sophomore season? "Individually, I just want to be better than last year, whatever that means," said Amerson, a former four-star prospect out of Greensboro (N.C.) Dud- ley High. "I want to be consistent every time the ball comes my way or I have a chance to make a tackle." Amerson and NC State head coach Tom O'Brien are occasionally asked about teams trying to avoid throwing to Amerson's side of the field.

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