WR/PR/KR Darrell Blackman (PHOTO BY: Peyton Williams)

2006 Statistics

Coach: Tom O'Brien
1st year
2006 Record: 3-9
at Southern Miss LOST 17-37
at Maryland LOST 20-26
at Virginia LOST 7-14
at Clemson LOST 14-20
at North Carolina LOST 9-23

2006 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2007 Outlook

It is always tough to prognosticate about a team that has overhauled its coaching staff, especially when those now in charge are keeping their new hand so closely guarded. But when Tom O’Brien is the new big cheese and there is this much talent with which he can work, we see the new Wolfpack improving amply on where they were under coach Chuckie. Some special things have initiated the turnaround here – one example saw hundreds of former players come to the spring game after O’Brien found out how estranged they had felt under the past few regimes. Current players’ comments on O’Brien and his ways have centered on a more laid back approach which still focuses on increasing discipline. They have embraced their new leader and realize how much farther they will likely go under him. Bringing right-hand man Dana Bible from Boston College with him to run the offense means the Golden Eagle’s template of the past ten years – well-executed, (mostly) “old school” formations that effectively produce for 60 minutes – will work here, especially once their up-and-coming QBs fully grasp the system. Hurler Daniel Evans, who had consistency problems last year, will get first nod due to tenure, but will likely be kept on tight reigns and will yield reps to the other two underclassmen as the best decision maker is what coaches are after there. The trio of backs, two capable TEs and All-American Darrell Blackman will all excel in the new system. Defensively, being under a guy like coordinator Mike Archer represents no step down from the stopping quality seen here during Amato’s tenure. The defensive recruits who lined up here to play under the old coach will reach the same heights with O’Brien and Archer running the show as long as they play as hard for them, too. The variables seen amongst N.C. State’s front seven will range from 3-4 to 4-3, depending on who’s in and the given circumstance, though, multiple hybrid DLmen-LBs and LBs-DBs abound and will give opponents fits. Their slate is pretty tough – they travel to Boston for the “O’Brien Bowl” in just their second game, and then to Tallahassee, Coral Gables and Winston-Salem to battle the league champs. Home tilts with Clemson and Louisville offer no relief, but since we think this will be a strong team by mid-season, there is a rather wide range for where this squad might finish their campaign. But if O’Briens’ successes follow him here like they have at his other coaching stops, 2007 will be seen as the beginning of another great run in the venerable 115 year tradition found here on any given fall Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium.

Projected 2007 record: 4-8
QB - 2.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 4 LB - 2.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Daniel Evans, 163-307-11, 1843 yds., 6 TD

Rushing: Toney Baker, 157 att., 688 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Anthony Hill, 45 rec., 478 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Toney Baker, 6 TD, 36 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: None

Tackles: DaJuan Morgan, 59 tot., 42 solo; Miguel Scott, 59 tot., 29 solo

Sacks: Martrel Brown, 7 sacks

Interceptions: DaJuan Morgan, 2 for 0 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Darrell Blackman, 19 ret., 28.9 avg., 1 TD

Punt Returns: Darrell Blackman, 24 ret., 8.6 avg., 1 TD


DB Miguel Scott (PHOTO BY: Peyton Williams)
OFFENSE: Lamart Barrett-WR, James Newby-OT, Leroy Harris-C, Jon Holt-OT, John Deraney-K/P
DEFENSE: Tank Tyler-DT, Raymond Brooks-DE, Pat Lowery-MLB, Reggie Davis-WLB, A.J. Davis-CB, Garland Heath-ROV

Last year’s struggling offensive strategy (which ranked the Wolfpack 97th for total effort) left with Amato. Besides the years with Phillip Rivers, moving the ball was usually a struggle under the former coach. Wipe the chalkboard clean for what coach O’Brien brings to the offense in Raleigh, for though the differences will be subtle, O’Brien’s experience on this side of the ball and his insistence of discipline within the details are what separates his approach from Amato’s. An ex-coordinator himself (UVA), O’Brien brought Dana Bible – his OC up in Boston – with him to oversee their usual two-back and/or two-TE sets that were so successful at BC and are now all the rage here. The quarterback needed to run their system has to be a heady, tough pocket passer who minimizes mistakes. Daniel Evans, last year’s main starter under center, returns healthy, but the quadruplet’s pension for throwing more INTs (11) than TDs (six) seemed to have carried over into spring and expectations for him have not been met. His struggles during 2006’s last four games reveal why the local product’s starting status is tentative, at best. Unofficially, there is no starter yet. “Whoever makes the best decisions will be the starting quarterback,” said O’Brien after spring. This means a three-way rotation will probably be used until the candidates sort themselves out through the results of real game reps. Highly touted Nebraska-transfer Harrison Beck is finally eligible after sitting out 2006, and his extended time on the scout team is now being realized as he has shown consistency within his solid grasp of the new system (which is very similar to the West Coast offense run in Lincoln). True frosh Justin Burke set the Kentucky prep passing record for single-season TDs (62) en route to being named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year and making the finals for the same status nationally. Burke is more intuitive on the run than Evans and Beck, and he had a strong spring like Beck. These three represent a huge step up from where this position was just last year. The running backs are the same, both in stature and their roles as the team’s top two rushers. With either junior, Andre Brown or Toney Baker, you get a handful to bring down. And though Baker got the nod more due to his softer hands, Brown is a risky, purer runner who has foes worried every play. Svelte soph Jamelle Eugene (top rusher in the spring game) has done so well this offseason that coaches joke about instituting the wishbone to get all three worthy backs fielded simultaneously. The interior of the line looks solid with both guards back and senior Luke Lathan finally getting the start at center. Back at full strength after knee surgery ended his 2005 campaign, New Burn-product Julian Williams affords great promise at left tackle (he allowed no sacks as a prep senior). Former two-way tackle Jeraill McCuller, like his classmate and counterpart Williams, shined bright in the new system this spring, and with three upperclassmen as backups, the line looks solid enough to pull off anything from O’Brien’s/Bible’s playbook. Hulking senior TE Anthony Hill fits right in, too, as does former-QB Marcus Stone for their two-TE looks. Hill is sure to have some TDs (none in ’06) after leading the team in both receptions and yards. But the guy we think will have the big senior season and possibly put himself into contention for numerous post-season accolades is Darrell Blackman. Built like a running back (because he was one), this guy is as dangerous with the ball in open space as anyone in the country. Fellow senior John Dunlap was second on the team in reception and led the Wolfpack in TD catches. As a freshman in ‘06, outside receiver Donald Bowens had the team’s longest reception (46 yds), and though the depth is unproven, the potential is there when NCST wants to field five receivers. The new offense developed very well this spring and seemed ready for September after just April’s showing, and that is saying a lot when you consider that they practice/scrimmage against their own killer defense.


TE Anthony Hill (PHOTO BY: Gene Galin)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Daniel Evans-Jr (6-2, 195) Harrison Beck-So (6-2, 215)
Justin Burke-Fr (6-2, 205)
FB Pat Bedics-Sr (6-0, 250) John Kane-So (5-10, 240)
HB Toney Baker-Jr (5-10, 225) Andre Brown-Jr (6-0, 235)
WR Darrell Blackman-Sr (5-11, 205) Jarvis Williams-Fr (6-4, 200)
WR John Dunlap-Sr (6-2, 215) Darrell Davis-Fr (6-5, 200)
WR Donald Bowens-So (6-3, 210) Koyal George-So (5-11, 180)
TE Anthony Hill-Sr (6-6, 270) Marcus Stone-Sr (6-4, 240)
Matt Kushner-So (6-4, 250)
OT Julian Williams-So (6-5, 310) Garrett Kline-Sr (6-6, 315)
OG Kalani Heppe-Sr (6-4, 300) Yomi Ojo-Sr (6-4, 310)
C Luke Lathan-Sr (6-4, 295) Andy Barbee-So (6-3, 295)
OG Curtis Crouch-Jr (6-5, 330) Gary Gregory-Fr (6-4, 305)
OT Jerrail McCuller-So (6-7, 325) Meares Green-Jr (6-4, 300)
K Josh Czajkowski-Fr (5-9, 178) ..



Goodbye Amato and Dunlap…hello Mike Archer. With big shoes to fill, the former LSU head coach inherits an uncharacteristic 85th-ranked Wolfpack run defense. The talent is there up front to make the usual big waves most N.C. State lines do, and it all starts/hinges with/on the nation’s former consensus top tackle prospect (2004 Rivals, SuperPrep, PrepStar) DeMario Pressley. This Greensboro-native has yet to live up to the hype, though, his solid showing gets the job done most of the time. New starter Ted Larsen may be just the thing Pressley needs – three of Larsen’s nine tackle last year were for loss, so he will demand double-teams, too, and both should have great years. Similarly, the inside has one senior and one proven sophomore. Martel Brown has grown from a 230-something linebacker into a 290+ power end whose quickness means he should be All-ACC by season’s close. Like Brown, Willie Young will be able to play either end or step back into underneath coverage as a varied 3-4 will be seen early and often in Raleigh. 6’6 Littleton Wright is a former top-rated JUCO-transfer, and this year’s incoming class is rich with bigman talents (four-star JUCO-standout Antoine Holmes) so depth seems good up front. The starting linebackers are three seniors, which is a dream scenario for Archer due to his specialty in this area…well, the entire back seven, to be less/more specific. Former DE James Martin has battled injuries his entire career (wrist surgery kept him out most of ’06, ACL all of ’04), but he seems to still have enough toughness left to slide over (from the strongside) for the vaunted start in the middle. LeRue Rumph, who is excellent in coverage, stepped in admirably in replacing Martin, the reason Martin can be moved over. Special teams maven Ernest Jones excelled (mostly) as a reserve, which didn’t keep him from his finish as the team’s seventh-rated tackler. Depth in the corps is young and still developing, so injuries to the starters would diminish the unit’s impact. The corners need to step up their stat lines; strong in open-field tackling, they allowed too many receivers to effectively get behind them. We think Jeremy Gray has the stuff to start on the outside, but tally him as the oft-seen nickel he has become until further notice. Safety DaJuan Morgan was everything but a starter (oops, he even did that vs. Virginia) as he, like Gray, finished with seven passes broken up to lend comfort to his new starting status. Miami-product Miguel Scott uses an intelligent approach to keep foes from getting past him – State only allowed 12 passing TDs last year, a respectable number that will likely go down under Archer. With Amato’s recruits and Archer’s/O’Brien’s discipline, this defense should improve from their “embarrassing” 36th-ranking for total effort (were top 15 from 2003-05) to again win games when needed.


DE Martrel Brown (PHOTO BY: Peyton Williams)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Willie Young-So (6-5, 230) Littleton Wright-Sr (6-6, 244)
DT Ted Larsen-So (6-2, 272) Alan-Michael Cash-So (6-1, 291)
DT DeMario Pressley-Sr (6-3, 295) ..
DE Martrel Brown-Sr (6-2, 290) ..
SLB LeRue Rumph-Sr (6-1, 223) ..
MLB James Martin-Sr (6-1, 236) Avery Vogt-So (6-1, 225)
WLB Ernest Jones-Sr (6-2, 225) Ray Michel-So (6-0, 224)
CB Levin Neal-Jr (5-11, 191) Jeremy Gray-Jr (6-2, 186)
CB Jimmie Sutton-Sr (5-11, 181) Phillip Holloman-Sr (5-11, 194)
S DaJuan Morgan-Jr (6-1, 200) Javon Walker-Fr (6-0, 188)
S Miguel Scott-Sr (6-0, 195) Jimmaul Simmons-Fr (6-2, 190)
P Jeff Ruiz-Jr (6-2, 185) ..




Punter Jeff Ruiz has experience at the collegiate level to ease the transition from the all-around foot of Deraney. Josh Czajkowski has the same strength as Deraney, but is an unproven freshman. The kicking game may have a few kinks early, but nothing that won’t pay off later as the two qualified newbies learn on the job. Blackman is one of the nation’s top return men – his two returns to the house, one of each kind, along with being the nation’s No.4 KR guy from ’06, are why he is an All-American for us at this task.