"When I first came in coach Nielsen and coach Doeren sat me down and told me that with my recruiting status a lot of people would have high expectations," Kentavius Street told Pack Pride. "But, they wanted me to come in, know my role, and do my job. That's what I did."
Street came in and earned a spot in the defensive end rotation as a true freshman, playing in 12 games while totaling 23 tackles and a tackle for a loss. What did he think of his freshman year?
"I played a lot slower than I am now," said Street. "My knowledge level wasn't as high. I wasn't as confident. With a year in the game I'm a lot more comfortable with the coaching staff and the scheme. Everything is just coming a lot faster now."
He's also now adjusting to a new role. The 6-foot-2, 278-pounder returned from winter workouts to find out that he would now be lining up inside at defensive tackle. Street, who played defensive end at Greensville (NC) Rose High School, doesn't seem too surprised by the position change.
"When we first got back from winter training, from the bowl, we made that change because of my height and everything," he said. "I think it's a better change. [Laughing] Most of high school my head coach told me I'd probably play [three-technique] because I'm a lot shorter than most d-ends so it was kind of expected."
It is a change that could positively impact the Wolfpack. NC State lost T.Y. McGill and Thomas Teal to graduation and current defensive tackles Monty Nelson and Justin Jones are out all spring with injuries. Street, who opened spring practice with the starters, has physical tools to create mismatches in the trenches.
That appealed to Dave Doeren.
"We talked to [Street] about learning both positions," said Doeren. "We do have three guys we will have back in the season who are out this spring at defensive tackle so it's an opportunity for him to get more reps. Playing some of these spread teams, we can get him inside and have some pass-rushing opportunities against guards and centers."
Street seems excited about the opportunity.
"With T.Y. and Thomas leaving form last year there's a big hole at three-technique," he said. "Coach thought I'd be the perfect fit, and I came in and stepped up for it.
"I'm a lot quicker than most at three-technique. I try to use that speed to my advantage. It's a lot harder to reach me. [I have to stay] disciplined and keep my pad level low... just making sure I'm firing off every time. At end you can kind of get away with it but at three-technique if you fire off soft or anything you'll get driven off the ball."
It helps Street that he's able to work with defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen.
"It's amazing," he said of working with Nielsen. "He's a different guy everyday. H's a really hard worker and a perfectionist. He gets us better every rep."
NC State only has one returning senior, Mike Rose, along the defensive line and he is out this spring with an injury. Because of that youth, guys like Street have to step into leadership roles, and he has been giving advice to mid-year enrollee Darian Roseboro. Like Street, Roseboro comes in with high expectations after being considered by many to be the top defensive player in the state.
What was Street's advice for Roseboro?
"I just told him to keep a level head and continue to work," he said. "Everything won't come as easy as it did in high school. He's raw right now, technique-wise, but he's a really good athlete. The sky is the limit for him and he'll continue to work.
"He's starting to fit in the scheme a lot better than I did and he understands things better than I did. He's a really good player."