Cracking The Rotation

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Some NC State fans might be surprised to see true freshman cornerback Tyrrell Burriss listed on the depth chart, but he expected to work his way into the rotation all along.

Some NC State fans might be surprised to see true freshman cornerback Tyrrell Burriss listed on the depth chart, but he expected to work his way into the rotation all along.

"It feels good," Burriss said of earning a spot on the depth chart. "I had a lot of work [to do] out here. I feel confident in what I do. I'm liking it.

"I was thinking of coming up here and trying to get at least a little playing time. People were telling me I'd redshirt, but I had it in my head that I didn't want to redshirt because it would make me fight harder. That was basically what I was trying to fight for. It turned out."

Burriss flew completely under the radar, committing to the Wolfpack over interest from programs such as Colorado State, Purdue, Middle Tennessee State, Ohio, and Rutgers on Signing Day after taking an official visit the last available weekend to do so.

He didn't have stars or a lot of offers, and he played at a school, Daytona Beach (FL) Mainland, that was loaded with talent.

"What led to [the lack of recruiting attention] was I had a couple of good players in front of me," Burriss admitted. "The one I was behind, Ricardo Allen, is up at Purdue right now, and Cortez Davis is at Clemson... I was behind him a little bit.

"That slowed me down, but I was always getting in and making plays."

So how did NC State find out about the underrated defender? According to Burriss, the Wolfpack watched him work out and received film from his high school coach, which led to the official visit and scholarship offer.

"They saw me and said I was pretty explosive," said Burriss. "My coach went to a convention and gave them my highlight tape. They liked it."

What impressed the Wolfpack coaches was the intensity that Burriss plays with and his tackling ability. He has good technique and is extremely physical for a younger cornerback. Burriss also benefits from having played in a scheme that is similar to what defensive coordinator Mike Archer has implemented at NC State.

"My strengths are tackling, coverage and being a ballhawk... catching interceptions," said Burriss. "My high school coach was from Charleston University and he taught us college stuff so I had a lot of experience with all of the coverages.

"We ran boundary and we ran field [in high school] so it's pretty much the same. Being comfortable coming from a similar defense has made me comfortable out here. It helps me adjust my speed."

The 5-foot-11, 177-pounder is currently backing up redshirt junior C.J. Wilson at the boundary corner position but feels he is capable of playing either boundary corner or field cornerback.

"I can play both sides, but I'm more of a hitter so they put me in the boundary. That's where the run is coming to."

According to Burriss, Wilson and another redshirt junior defensive back has helped him tremendously with his transition to the college level.

"Earl Wolff and C.J. Wilson have [helped]," he said. "From C.J. Wilson I've learned to be more confident in what I do, and from Earl Wolff it's to be a hitter... don't care about who it is, come up and do it."

It's all starting to sink in for Burriss. In just a couple of days he will be running out of the tunnel in Carter-Finley Stadium and playing in his first college football game.

"It's going to be real exciting. A new environment, a lot of fans, everything. It's going to be hyped, and I'm going to try to play to the best of my abilities.

"The more hype the more I want to play better. I don't want to go out there and get embarrassed."

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