Early Preview: N.C. State

The start of the college football season is still over a month away but lets take an early look at Miami's 2012 opponents. Today, we look at North Carolina State.

2011 Season: 8-5 (did not play Miami)

The Quarterback: Mike Glennon. At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, Glennon is a former Under Armour All-American in high school. He played sparingly during his first two seasons in college before taking over the offense as a full-time starter as a junior in 2011. He really excelled, too, finishing the season with just over 3,000 yards, 31 touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions while completing over 62-percent of his passes. He got better as the season went along, too, throwing for 823 yards, 11 touchdowns, and just two interceptions over the final three games of the season -- all wins. He has ideal size, a live arm, and makes very good decisions with the football. He'll be among the top quarterbacks in the league in 2012 and one of the best pure passers Miami will face all season.

Best Offensive Player: Glennon. The next best is senior running back James Washington. At 6-feet and 180 pounds, he's a former Florida prep standout (Boone HS in Orlando). James ran for just over 300 yards over his first few seasons but, like Glennon, really excelled in his first season as the main guy. He finished the season with 897 yards rushing and seven scores. However, it's his ability as a pass-catcher, too, that makes him so valuable. He caught 42 passes for 315 yards, making him one of the better threats around the league at the running back position.

Top Defensive Player: David Amerson. At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, the rising junior free safety is the best defensive back in the league right now and one of the best in all of college football. He picked off 13 passes a season ago and won some postseason awards for his play. He has ideal size, tremendous range, and outstanding ball skills. He plays center field on NC State's defense as well as any safety in all of college football. Throwing the ball over the top will be next to impossible for Miami, or anyone else, against the Wolfpack this season. He's the real deal and a real game changer.

2012 Outlook: After losing its first three games against Division 1 opponents in 2011, the Wolfpack really turned their season around by winning six of their last eight, including their last three. They lost wide receiver T.J. Graham, who was a third round pick to the Buffalo Bills. He was, by far, the top wide receiver target for Glennon so it'll be interesting to see how big a loss he ends up being. Otherwise, the offense looks to be pretty good again. Their top two pass rushers return on defense. Two of their top three tacklers return. Amerson leads a strong secondary. The defense looks to be much improved from a season ago. NC State finished last season as one of the hottest teams in the conference and could make a run at a berth in the conference title game this fall, as they look to be one of the top teams in the conference heading into the fall.

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