RB Andre Brown (PHOTO BY: Peyton Williams)

2005 Statistics

Coach: Chuck Amato
46-28, 6 years
2005 Record: 7-5
at Georgia Tech WON 17-14
at Wake Forest LOST 19-27
at Florida State WON 20-15
at Boston College LOST 10-30
vs. South Florida WON 14-0

2005 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2006 Outlook

Head coach Chuck Amato has again built the main championship dimension – a stellar defense – for that is the area in which he specializes. His motto…FINISH…holds water here, and from where his most recent defensive stars are now (six ’05 departees made it to the NFL), you can see that his guys take him seriously and literally, both with their careers and from play to play. Amato has not really broken through to take any of his Packs into the top 10 echelons, and due to the mediocre state of the passing game (hasn’t recovered since Rivers left), it won’t happen this year, either.

Still, Amato’s squad is one of the most feared in the nation, for your team may beat them, but they will have to earn it, even in 2006 - even with all of the departures on D. But health concerns mean that beyond the secondary and RBs, the starters have to stay vital, or the team will take steps back. One other exception could be at QB, where Stone’s throws need to be on target early and often (29% completion rate in the first half of his ’05 efforts), or we feel he should have a short leash before Evans is inserted.

Many of the pieces could fall together with such a strong running game, which is good enough to dominate (the clock) and foster the other offensive dimension, especially with so many quality receivers also on board. Brown and Baker will out-duel each other weekly for optimal winning effect, so the D just has to gel, especially the LBs, and the W column will grow.

State has stacked some real creampuffs in their non-con slate (save Southern Mississippi), and with BC, FSU and Georgia Tech all coming to Raleigh (seven of their twelve are home games, and no VT or Miami), the schedule is rather favorable for State to challenge for the ACC Atlantic half. This is just a fun team to watch, a team with loads of talent that will get to that next level eventually under Chuck.

Projected 2006 record: 6-6
QB - 2.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 3
WR - 3 DB - 3.5
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Marcus Stone, 154-75-6, 1015 yds., 8 TD

Rushing: Andre Brown, 129 att., 667 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Lamart Barrett, 21 rec., 248 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: John Deraney, 15-20 FG, 28-28 PAT, 73 pts.

Punting: John Deraney, 72 punts, 40.1 avg.

Kicking: John Deraney, 15-20 FG, 28-28 PAT, 73 pts.

Tackles: Garland Heath, 64 tot., 34 solo

Sacks: Tank Tyler, 1.5 sacks

Interceptions: Garland Heath, 5 for 40 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Darrell Blackman, 20 ret., 29.1 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Darrell Blackman, 21 ret., 5.8 avg., 0 TD


DT DeMario Pressley (PHOTO BY: Gene Galin)
OFFENSE: Jay Davis-QB, Brian Clark-WR, Sterling Hicks-WR, Tramain Hall-WR, T.J. Williams-TE, John McKeon-OG, Dwayne Herndon-OG, Derek Morris-OT
DEFENSE: Manny Lawson-DE, Renaldo Moses-DE, Oliver Hoyte-MLB, Marcus Hudson-CB, J.J. Jones-DB, Mario Williams-DE (NFL), John McCargo-DT (NFL), Stephen Tulloch-WLB (NFL)

After a consistent showing in the latter half of 2005, junior Marcus Stone begins this campaign as the clear-cut starter. The athletic dual-threat Stone has size and manages the offense well, but he will have to improve on his first half throwing stats (only 29% completion rate) if the Pack is to get back to Philip Rivers-levels of production. Still, Stone posted a 5-1 mark as a starter and has 4.6 speed. His upside hasn’t been realized, so when this former Gatorade Player of the Year (Pa.) reaches his potential, N.C. State will surge. Daniel Evans changes things somewhat as he is a drop-back type, but his 4.7 speed says the sophomore would alter little in the play-calling when inserted. Evans prep résumé has him ranked second or third for most in-state passing marks, but the local product gives up over 40lbs. to Stone, making him easier to bring down when chased/sacked. If you see this quadruplet in on third-and-long or fourth downs, don’t be surprised as the legacy gets off a good punt (father Johnny was an all-American in the same capacities from 1974-77 and currently does color commentary on Wolfpack Radio Network). Third-stringer Mike Greco is super speedy (4.37), and may see the field in a slash (QB/WR/RB) capacity just to get the ball in his hands somehow. This unit can potentially do much harm.

Running Back
State is loaded with big bruisers who are just as capable of running around opposing tacklers as they are through them. Andre Brown seems to be the primary – he runs a 4.4 40 yard dash and averaged over five per carry in his first campaign last year. Brown set an in-state record for single season rushing (3,479 yards) to earn AP Player of the Year honors in 2003. Classmate Toney Baker proved he is just as worthy in their one-two punch. Baker, ranked even higher than Brown as an incoming RB by Rivals.com, set the state record and has the third-highest career rushing total in the nation with 10,231 yards (3,411 as a junior is second only to Brown’s mark). The Greenville-native is just as fast and big as Brown, and they will again be equally utilized, meaning fresh, strong legs will be powering out of the Wolfpack backfield for 60 minutes. RS frosh Jameel Eugene offers depth and a change of pace with his svelter look. RS sophomore Octavius Darby is an athletic converted-TE (now starting FB) who seems like a dangerous runner (after the catch) if given the chance. After finishing a mere 83rd in rushing offense, the added dimension of a wily running QB means look out for the Wolfpack ground attack in 2006.

Though the top three snarlers have departed, three experienced upperclassmen remain to keep N.C. State strong here. Lamart Barrett is the corps’ lone senior, and his consistent production means he can be a go-to guy for Stone right away. John Dunlap has the size to be the solid deep threat needed, for both of State’s field-stretchers from ‘05 graduated. Fellow-junior and converted-RB Darrell Blackman is the fastest of the mainstays, and with his stocky build, he should be very productive after the catch. Blackman and Dunlap are both slated for the Z-slot, so their competition for the starting role will push both to excellence. Geron James looks to reestablish his lanky presence after injuring his shoulder in the second game last year. After James, the drop-off of experienced guys is great. Still, six worthy prospects from this year’s incoming class are all awaiting their chances to contribute immediately, so it is just a matter of time until this area is again three-deep strong.

Tight End
Anthony Hill proved his conversion to a top college TE was worth the trouble as this hulkster now has proven soft hands to go with his dominating blocking. A DE in prep but recruited as an OLman, Hill started most of the ’05 campaign here and will continue to expand his production. Octavius Darby is slated as the second stringer, and he will wreak havoc over the deep middle with the mismatches he too will impose. These two need to stay healthy – there is little behind them to keep State dominant on the lines’ edge(s).

Offensive Line
Though somewhat revamped, there is enough experience here to make us consider the OL as a strength. Leroy Harris is their senior center who has the size and footwork to go with his recognition for calling the needed schemes. This former freshman all-American has started every game since 2003 (many at guard), and, as a perennial Rimington candidate, has even had new statistical categories invented due to his prowess (‘round trip’ is when he blocks a defender in a complete circle; the ‘RDU Express’ is when he pushes someone back at least seven yards). Senior LT Lames Newby is a returning starter and has the same quickness to secure Stone’s blindside (also has proven himself when needed inside). Classmate Jon Holt has yet to live up to his hype, but his final spring this year saw the new starting right tackle earn the line’s award for most improved. Junior Kalani Heppe is again the starter at left guard. A shoulder injury kept him from truly regaining his spot in ’05, but he looks back to his old form now. Four-star sophomore bigman Curtis Crouch proved he can secure the right guard slot after his five knockdowns versus FSU (started that game). State goes (maybe) two deep with quality, so health is a concern if the injury bug hits.

With a running game that features one of the nation’s best backfields, the Wolfpack aerial assault can use that distraction to improve on its modest showing from 2005. Brown and Baker have to be respected, and the commitment foes will be forced to make so they can keep these two from each gaining 100 yards per game means underneath coverages will suffer. Stone has to continue to improve so State can rank higher than 116th for its third-down conversion rate (25%) and so as to keep the box from being stacked. Stone, who came on to start half way through the last campaign but never led the offense to more than 24 points in a game (and that was against Middle Tennessee State), could easily be replaced in the same manner by pure drop-back guy Daniel Evans if he sputters. With the defense losing so many great starters, Stone won’t be bailed out as readily. The line is the X-factor, and they are good enough to keep the ground game rolling even with extra men crowding the box. And if the new-look receiving corps can establish with Stone a deep threat dimension, State can challenge for their conference half.


WR/RB Darrell Blackman (PHOTO BY: Peyton Williams)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Marcus Stone-Jr (6-4, 236) Daniel Evans-So (6-2, 191)
FB Octavius Darby-So (6-2, 256) John Kane-So (5-9, 239)
HB Andre Brown-So (6-0, 232) Toney Baker-So (5-10, 228)
WR John Dunlap-Jr (6-2, 210) Darrell Blackman-Jr (5-10, 209)
WR Lamart Barrett-Sr (6-1, 190) Geron James-Fr (6-1, 185)
TE Anthony Hill-Jr (6-6, 277) Octavius Darby-So (6-2, 256)
OT James Newby-Sr (6-5, 295) Julian Williams-Fr (6-5, 292)
OG Kalani Heppe-Jr (6-3, 300) Yomi Ojo-Jr (6-4, 320)
C Leroy Harris-Sr (6-3, 300) Luke Lathan-Jr (6-4, 292)
OG Curtis Crouch-So (6-5, 344) Meares Green-So (6-4, 295)
OT Jon Holt-Sr (6-6, 296) Jerrail McCuller-Fr (6-7, 342)
K John Deraney-Sr (6-4, 224) ..



Defensive Line
We usually don’t talk about departed players excessively, but in losing an unprecedented three first-round NFL draft choices here and the 52.5 TFLs they represent, you can plainly see the implications. But there is talent that just has to take a step back so it can come together to maximize its own high potential. It starts inside with DeMario Pressley, the nation’s No.1 tackle in the 2004 recruiting class. With 4.8 speed, he is destined to make his own legacy, even as he takes on two blockers (least of all freeing up his line mates). Senior strongman “Tank” Tyler is another proven commodity who will assure little running production is accomplished inside the tackles. These two have to stay healthy for State to have any shot at remaining dominant against foes’ ground games. Outside, end Littleton Wright is a JUCO-transfer who has the pedigree needed to step in for the departees. But he, along with RS frosh Willie Young, are not yet up to the speed of what real game reps will bring. Young is an excellent athlete who won’t take long to prove his own worth. Martel Brown slides from the inside to end to give needed depth, and along with John Amanchukwu, provide the only real depth. This year’s class is surprisingly light for DLmen, so expect the Pack to struggle to find 60 minutes of top performance here.

With the influx of quality RBs/FBs and State’s needs here, Reggie Davis has been converted into a LB. Clogging the weakside is a new position that will take time for the senior to master, but he has the speed to cover ground and the size to really stick ball-carriers. Speaking of repositioning, the strongside has two juniors, converted-DE James Martin and ex-DB LeRue Rumph, vying for the start. Martin is actually the faster of the two, but Rumph has more experience here and his three fumble recoveries last year led the squad. MLB Pat Lowery is the only one who has played here consistently, though this will be the senior’s first year starting. This former state champion wrestler has huge shoes to fill, but the prep résumé to be a true weapon in the middle. Still, Lowery, like the rest of this corps, will be spread thin helping the DL, so underneath coverages could suffer. And again, like many other of State’s units, injuries to these starters would not bode well, for the drop-off in their depth here is considerable.

Defensive Back
The DBs are definitively the strength of the ’06 defense. Safeties Garland Heath (rover) and Miguel Scott (free) anchor the secondary with starting experience and size. Junior Scott also competes for the school’s track team (7.02 second in the 60), and hits like a cannon. Senior Scott (225lbs) is just as fast and his nose for the ball (five INTs) is uncanny. Corner A.J. Davis is even faster (4.3) and has great recovery ability, and with his track record (24’10” best long jump; 6’9” high jump) for the Pack, it is no wonder when foes throw away from wherever this senior is. The new guy, though he has seen mucho time as a nickelback, is Jimmie Sutton, III. Sutton (7.03 in the 60) will become the new starter at the other corner, and should have a great year, for opponents pick their poison regardless of which corner they decide to throw against. Junior Philip Holloman doesn’t miss a beat when inserted (nickel), and the two sophomore Neals (J.C. and Levin, not related) are both fast converted WRs who bring their experience on the other side of the ball to bear. The Wolfpack has had a top 10 pass efficiency defense the past two years (1st in ’04, 8th last year), and expect nothing less than another superior showing as they shut foes down at the most important times. The only dimension that could change their impact is how much support they will have to give to stopping the run.

Many expecting State to take a huge step back here due to five NFL draft choices (and one rookie free agent) vacating will be surprised when Amato and DC Steve Dunlap field another amazing bunch. The secondary will only suffer statistical compromise(s) as they help out early in run support, but three of four starters (and their main proven nickel back moves into the new CB slot) return to lock down opposing WRs. It will not take long for the front seven to imitate their predecessors, with an already strong inside presence. It seems to be the fact that three of their LBs have been repositioned that causes us any concern. Only MLB Lowery is used to his place, but in replacing the team’s top tackler (Tulloch), much has to be proven by this corps to guarantee that the Pack is back on D. Amato is a defensive maven and a master motivator, so expect these 11 to still win games when the offense struggles.


DB Garland Heath (PHOTO BY: Peyton Williams)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Willie Young-Fr (6-5, 230) Martrel Brown-Jr (6-2, 290)
DT DeMario Pressley-Jr (6-4, 293) Teddy Larsen-Fr (6-2, 265)
Alan-Michael Cash-Fr (6-0, 291)
DT Tank Tyler-Sr (6-2, 305) John Bedics-So (6-4, 283)
DE Littleton Wright-Jr (6-6, 244) John Amanchukwu-Sr (6-4, 283)
SLB LeRue Rumph-Jr (6-2, 225) Ernest Jones-Jr (6-2, 217)
MLB Pat Lowery-Sr (6-1, 242) James Martin-Jr (6-1, 236)
WLB Reggie Davis-Sr (6-0, 246) Ray Michel-Fr (6-0, 224)
CB Jimmie Sutton-Jr (5-11, 181) Phillip Holloman-Jr (5-11, 194)
CB A.J. Davis-Sr (5-10, 191) Levin Neal-So (5-10, 191)
Jeremy Gray-So (6-2, 190)
ROV Garland Heath-Sr (6-2, 225) DaJuan Morgan-So (6-2, 207)
FS Miguel Scott-Jr (6-0, 203) J.C. Neal-So (6-0, 191)
P John Deraney-Sr (6-4, 224) ..




John Deraney is the chosen kicking weapon in both categories, and his huge leg has few weakpoints. Deraney averages over 40 per punt and about half of those are either fair-caught or inside the 20. Too, nearly half of his kickoffs are touchbacks (63+ average). He seems to struggle from outside the 40 in FGAs, and with their struggling offense of late, this could affect game results if this inconsistency continues. Most surprising, though, is how marginal the net results were in ’05, but we should see this defensive juggernaut gain ground here.

Return Game
Darrell Blackman is just as trusted as Deraney, holding down both return spots. Blackman did everything on KOs besides take one to the house, but his backup is listed as Andre Brown, so advantage Wolfpack no matter how you slice it.