2018 NC State projections on the Hour Glass
By Peyton Aldridge
NC State finished the 2017 season at 9-4, good for 2nd place in the ACC Atlantic Division, the highest mark under Head Coach Dave Doeren and they look to improve on that record during this upcoming 2018 season. The 2 strengths of last year’s team was the QB play and the dominating defense. Star QB Ryan Finley does return this year after a stellar junior season but the Wolfpack lost a large portion of their defense to the NFL. Let’s take a look at our outlook for the 2018 season.
QB- Ryan Finley
WR- Kelvin Harmon
WR- Stephen Louis
LB- Germaine Pratt
RB- Nyheim Hines
OT- Will Richardson
DE- Bradley Chubb
DT- B.J. Hill
DT- Justin Jones
LB- Jerod Fernandez
While the defense took a pretty big hit in the draft, the offense stayed, for the most part, intact. QB Ryan Finley returns to lead yet another high-powered offense. Finley threw for 3514 yards last year with 17 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions. He also added 194 yards on the ground. Doeren will rely heavily on the passing game as the Wolfpack did loss 2 of its 3 top rushers, RB Nyheim Hines left early for the drafted and accounted for 1113 yards rushing, adding 12 touchdowns and all over threat Jaylen Samuels also went to the draft. Samuels accounted for 407 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns but was a big threat in the receiving game out of the backfield with 593 receiving yards and 4 receiving touchdowns. The Wolfpack do return a talented trio of receivers for Finley to chunk the ball to. Kelvin Harmon, Stephen Louis and Jokobi Meyers all return. Total they accounted for 2327 receiving yards with Harmon leading the way with 1017 of those yards. We may also see Jokobi Meyers at QB if needed because the backup QB for the Wolfpack from the last 3 years, Jalen McClendon, decided to transfer out to finish up his career leaving a hole should Finley go down.
Offensive Newcomer to Watch
RB Ricky Person- Person was a 4 star recruit out of Heritage HS in Wake Forest, NC. The Wolfpack will need help filling some roles at RB and this young man has all the tools to get the job done. Look for him to get some early playing time and to be a key contributor in this offense.
This was one of the best defenses in the ACC last year but they were hit hard by the draft. Just about the entire front 7 was wiped out headlined by star DE Bradley Chubb. Fellow defensive lineman B.J. Hill and Justin Jones were also taken in the draft. Although there are plenty of gaps to fill, there are also some talented guys left to fill them. I’d look for LB Germaine Pratt to become the leader for the defense. Pratt is a safety turned linebacker and has the speed and strength you look for. Pratt racked up 69 total tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss. He also had a big pick 6 flashing his speed across the field. One player that will be looking to fill the gaps on the defensive line is Darian Roseboro. Roseboro didn’t get any starts last season but was used in pass rushing situations. He has the versatility to play in the defensive tackle position but I look for him to spend most of his time at end. Maurice Trowell and Stephen Griffin will be the guys to watch in the secondary. Griffin is finally eligible this year after transferring from Tennessee. Trowell is moving from WR to DB this season and will be mostly a wildcard. This secondary will need to improve from allowing a completion rate of 53.8 last season which ranked 126th out of 130 teams.
Defensive Newcomer to Watch-
OLB Peyton Wilson- Wilson was NC States top overall recruit out Orange HS in Hillsborough NC. He will provide much needed depth and even get the chance to start within that depleted front 7. He is very strong and explosive and is known to have a very high motor.
I don’t think NC State will have too much of a drop off. I do believe the defense is going to need some work and will need to find a leader within that crew but the offense may be explosive enough to allow them continued success under Head Coach Dave Doeren. I think they will finish 3rd in the Atlantic Division this year behind Clemson and Florida State. If they can pull off an upset or 2 they can match the 9-4 record from last year but as it sits now, I predict they finish the year 8-4 but with a big season from Ryan Finley.
Peyton’s Pick: 8-4
2018 College Football Hour Glass Projection: 8-4
2017 College Football Hour Glass Projection was 5-7; actual finish of 8-4 (75 percent accuracy)
Hour Glass National Recruiting Ranking: 31st – First team outside our Realistic College Football Playoff Bust Line on our talent index.
National Coaching Rank for Dave Doeren on HG Scale: 42nd (Doeren at -1) – Average coaching value for 2018 set at 3.75.
Returning NC State quarterback play rated 31st in the country out of 130 teams. Average quarterback stamp nationally for 2018 is 8.3. NC State has a stamp of 14.2.