"The team has definitely taken a step forward in leadership," said Veltkamp. "We lost some good ones from last year in guys like Art Norman and T.Y. McGill, but I think we have some good guys coming up that people haven't seen play as much or are freshmen about to emerge."
Who are some of the current leaders for the Wolfpack?
"Jacoby does a good job on the offense," Veltkamp said. "Up front I think Joe Thuney is going to be a big-time leader. Tony Adams, even though he's only a second-year player, is going to be very influential. A guy like Quinton Schooley, even though he doesn't say much he's such a tough guy. He's always there and going hard. That makes such a big difference... setting the tone for how you go about your business and how you work.
"On the defensive side there's a lot more emotional, energy guys. Some of them have played before. Mike Rose is going to be a good leader for us. Inside there are some quieter guys, but they bring an edge, bring emotion. They don't have to give a speech, but they are definitely bring an edge... guys like Monty Nelson and B.J. Hill."
"There are going to be newcomers like Bradley Chubb," he added. "He just gets people excited to work and excited to play. It's just fun to watch guys like that."
According to Veltkamp, several of those leaders are making strides in the weight room, starting with the offensive linemen.
"Joe Thuney's weight is up about 6-to-8 pounds," he said. "He's going to play in the mid-290s... for a fifth-year senior to have all his tests still improving, that's really, really impressive. He continues to improve, and I think he's going to have a great season.
"We've asked Tony Adams and Quinton Schooley to trim down a little bit, and both of those guys are moving around better than last year. Both are big, powerful kids, but I think you will see us be a much more athletic offensive line, at those two positions, than you saw last year."
When asked about skill position players, Veltkamp raved about talented sophomore Jaylen Samuels, who played a lot as a true freshman, and mid-year enrollee Reggie Gallaspy.
"Reggie Gallaspy is a young guy that has impressed," he stated. "It doesn't matter what weight you throw on the bar, he's going to move it. He's made great strides with his speed and agility.
"Jaylen Samuels has been very impressive. He's slimmed down some body fat and increased muscle mass. He's one of the most powerful guys on our football team."
Like Thuney, senior safety Hakim Jones has made improvements entering his final season. Jones led the team in tackles (80) as a junior.
"We've seen some great changes from older kids," Velkamp added. "Hakim Jones has had by far his best summer. He's showing more burst and his speed is up, but definitely his change of direction. His ability to sustain speed over reps has been outstanding. He's much improved."