Working In The Slot

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Bunn (NC) native Johnathan Alston was one of NC State's top recruits in the 2013 recruiting class, as he picked the Wolfpack over offers from Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina among others.

Bunn (NC) native Johnathan Alston was one of NC State's top recruits in the 2013 recruiting class, as he picked the Wolfpack over offers from Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina among others.

Recruited by most schools to play linebacker or receiver, Alston enrolled at NC State and instantly earned a role on offense. He saw action in seven games, primarily at wide receiver and kick returner, before a dislocated elbow ended his freshman season.

This year he returned and shifted inside to slot receiver, where he is splitting time with freshman Bo Hines.

"We're two good weapons," said Alston. "We rotate in, and when we're out there we try to make plays."

Alston is a thick, physical kid who has the size and strength needed to break tackles but also the elusiveness to make people miss... something needed when playing in the slot.

"I've always been quick enough to play in there," he said. "The biggest thing was working on my technique."

Through three games, Alston has totaled seven catches for 69 yards.

"He’s really done a great job," Wolfpack wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson said of Alston. "With him being out there, he was really improved in our group. He’s able to be a little more physical than a normal slot receiver, but I like big guys.

"I like big receivers that can be physical. He has a mixture of both – the quickness you want in a small-shifty guy, and then he has the strength you want in a big, physical guy."

Alston credits much of his success, and the rest of the offense, the improved play of the offensive line.

"Those guys have been getting after it," he stated. "We're blocking a lot better. It's helping with our running game, and it helps the passing game too because they are giving Jacoby [Brissett] time."

NC State is now 3-0 and plays Presbyterian this weekend before starting ACC play. According to Alston, the chemistry of this year's team gives them plenty of optimism for the rest of the season.

"Everything has been going good," he said. "We're playing team ball and doing what we can to get the wins.

"It's a lot different. We're closer. We've built close bonds over the spring and summer so it's a lot different. We're definitely closer."


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