That changed in 2011. The Wolfpack coaches moved him to field cornerback prior to the year, and with him playing the wide side of the field there would potentially be more chances for interceptions and game-changing plays. He cashed in on those opportunities.
Amerson shattered the existing single-season school record for interceptions that had been set in 1937 and 1938 (eight), while totaling a NCAA-high 13, which is also an ACC record. A Walter Camp and ESPN first-team All-American, Amerson won second-team honors from Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press, Yahoo, CBSSports.com, Rivals, and Phil Steele.
He won the Jack Tatum Award, given to the nation's top defensive back, and was named the College Football Performance Awards Defensive Back of the Year.
What makes Amerson so special?
"Obviously, he has great ability," said NC State defensive coordinator Mike Archer. "He is the NFL prototype at cornerback. He's over 6-foot-2 and he has long arms and great athleticism, and he also has a short memory.
"He knows that he is going to get beat, and he has the ability to recover. He has great hips... all the intangibles."
Blessed with natural ability and the physical tools you look for in a defensive back, Archer also praised his work ethic and passion for the game.
"David knows that he has things to work on," said Archer. "He got beat early a few times last year, and he didn't let it linger... he worked to get better and correct his mistakes."
Now comes the pressure to replicate his success and achieve the hype that has been building around Amerson with the season approaching. What Archer wants his star defender to realize is that he likely won't match his historic sophomore season.
"We've already talked about it," said Archer, laughing. "He understands he's probably not going to get 13 interceptions this year because people aren't going to throw at him. He can't get frustrated, and he can't try to do too much. He has to play within the framework of the defense and it will come to him, and I know David will do that."
Archer recalled a talk he had with Amerson prior to the Pack's bowl game against Louisville where he informed him that his chances would probably be limited.
"When we went to the bowl I told David that Charlie Strong probably wouldn't throw at him a lot," said Archer. "But, if they do, take advantage of it. During the course of the game I believe they threw four passes at him and he picked off two of them.
"I told him that is what he has to do going forward... take advantage of those few situations."
According to Archer, Amerson had a great spring and looks poised to have another strong year. Will he have 13 interceptions again and be a consensus All-American? Maybe, maybe not, but his prior success will positively impact State's defense going forward.
"Now David has to deal with the notoriety and the pressure that people are going to put on him because he is very talented," said Archer. He did a lot of great things last year, but he has to be himself. Will he get 13 again? I seriously doubt it.
"They aren't going to throw to that side of the field too much, but that helps us because we know we can send help to the other corner. Now, whoever that other guy is, he better buckle up his chinstrap because they are going to come after him.
"They aren't going to throw at David Amerson."