ROSTER TALK: Defense

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren touched on each of his positions prior to this morning's first spring practice. Here are his thoughts on the defensive side of the ball.

NC State head coach Dave Doeren touched on each of his positions prior to this morning's first spring practice. Here are his thoughts on the defensive side of the ball.

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Doeren On The Defensive Ends...
Mike Rose, Art Norman, and Drew Davis all return at defensive end with some playing time experience.

Joe Wright will get a lot of reps this spring because of our depth, and we moved Pharoah McKever from receiver to defensive end. He played a lot of defense on the scout team last year so it's not an entirely new thing for him.

I'm excited to see those guys, Joe Wright and Pharoah... tall, 6'6 bodies that need to get in there and play a lot of football. I love having a longer-type guy at end... once we get those guys the experience and strength.

Doeren On The Defensive Tackles...
We don't have a lot of bodies there right now.

We'll have three coming in the door when we start camp, but the ones that are returning have a lot of experience. T.Y. McGill, Thomas Teal, and Monty Nelson all played a lot of ball for us last year and have improved in the offseason in the weight room.

Kenton Gibbs, who I spoke a lot about last year, was probably one of the most impressive freshmen in camp before he hurt his Achilles. We'll be careful with him in spring ball. He's been cleared and has been doing all the lifting and running, but that's an injury for a defensive tackle. You'll see him in individual but probably won't see him a lot in scrimmage situations.

B.J. Hill is a freshman that's here on campus already. He's already gained 12 pounds. He played running back and defensive end in high school but will be a defensive tackle for us. You'll see him this spring.

Doeren On The Linebackers...
M.J. [Salahuddin] and [Brandon] Pittman are the most experienced guys that are back. Rodman Noel played a lot of special teams for us a year ago.

Jerod Fernandez is somebody I'm excited to watch, and Ernie Robinson this spring. They had great offseasons for us.

Ty Linton, you guys know his story already and we're still waiting on Ty's ACC transfer..., but he's on campus and working. You'll see him in practice and doing all those things in the weight room.

Artemis Robinson is a guy we're really excited to see this spring. He's going through some hip recovery right now so we're not sure when we'll have him back on the practice filed.

Doeren On The Safeties...
We have applied for a sixth-year on Jarvis Byrd, and we're still waiting on results of that. You'll see Jarvis out there. He's still recovering from his third ACL. Jarvis is a great leader for us. We hope that we can get that back.

Hakim Jones has had a tremendous offseason. Hakim verticaled 38 inches the other day and really worked in the offseason on his flexibility.

Josh Jones is a guy that we're excited about.

Tim Buckley had a good offseason, as did Dravious Wright and Malcolm Means.

We also have some [other] guys at the safety position that have had some good offseasons.

Doeren On The Cornerbacks...
At corner, we signed three and obviously they are not on campus yet. We are a little light there. In the spring that is a position where we need to get better at.

Juston Burris and Jack Tocho return with a lot of playing time.

Niles Clark, who we were really excited about last fall, had the hamstring and didn't do a whole lot during the season. He comes back and had a good offseason, and Sean Paul, who played on special teams only last year.

Those four guys are the ones you will see the most. Nick Lacy is a guy that is a real hard worker that you'll see out there at times too.

Doeren On The Specialists...
All of our specialists are back.

We need to identify a returner in the spring. That's a big area of need obviously. Dakwa Nichols and Malcolm Means were both tremendous high school returners. Hopefully we'll get a good evaluation of our kickoff return group.

Bra'lon Cherry did a lot of that for us before he got injured so hopefully him being healthy will help us with the punt return unit.


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