Grinnage: "We're Improving"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The stats posted by David J. Grinnage don't jump out at you, but anyone who watched most of NC State's football games had to come away impressed with his play last year.

David J. Grinnage enrolled at NC State in 2012 following a standout prep career at Newark (DE) High School. He redshirted in 2012 and although he checks in at a massive 6-foot-5 and 267 pounds, don't assume he's going to be an in-line blocker at tight end.

"In high school I played wide receiver, and I was one of our main receivers so I've been catching the ball my whole career," said Grinnage. "That's always been one of my strong points.

"It helps me out a lot. I can line up split out wide or on the ball and do either. You really wouldn't know what's coming from that."

NC State head coach Dave Doeren wasn't really sure of what he had in Grinnage when he took over the program but turned some heads during fall camp with his praise of his young tight end.

"Grinnage is going to be a really good catching tight end for us," said Doeren last fall.

Grinnage finished his freshman season with 15 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown, including a couple of one-handed grabs versus Boston College and Syracuse.

Now he knows that he must continue to work on his blocking as he takes over as the Wolfpack's primary tight end.

"I've had to work on blocking more," said Grinnage. "But, I feel like with the help I've received from the coaches and other players I've improved as a blocker too."

"He's got a lot better," said Doeren. "He is one of those guys that's 6'5 and 270 and doesn't know it yet. At times he's a dominating blocker. His upside is tremendous and his work ethic is tremendous."

What does Grinnage think of his play this fall?

"I started off not really knowing where I would be," he stated. "I just worked my hardest to try and get to where I wanted to be and that's a starting position.

"I split time with Asa [Watson], a senior, and he's a great player. He deserves everything that he gets."

Grinnage added that a lot of his progress has been due to the help he's received from Watson.

"Asa has done so much for me. He's taught me how to study the game and coming out to practice and practicing my hardest. Even if I have a bad day, I have to do my best so I can help the team."

Now joining Grinnage at tight end is Benson Browne, a player who possesses similar physical tools.

"We push each other to work harder," said Grinnage. "We know we both can get better as we help each other."

NC State is coming off a 3-9 season and everyone knows that progress must be made in all areas. A positive for the Wolfpack is several young players, like Grinnage, received plenty of reps during the season.

"We don't want to build right away and forget about the upperclassmen, but yes, we had a lot of young players gain experience this year," said Grinnage. "That should help us moving forward."

The Wolfpack is currently going through spring practice looking to prepare for the 2014 season.

"We've been working hard and the transitioning from last year has carried over," Grinnage said. "We know our plays and what to do. Moving forward, we're improving on a lot of things.

"We know we have to work as hard as we can and do our best. If we don't we can have the same record or worse and we don't want that."

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