Reggie Gallaspy enrolled at NC State in January unsure of his role in 2015, but with the season opener just days away he could be poised to start the season as a major contributor for the Wolfpack.
NC State head coach Dave Doeren confirmed on Thursday that senior tailback Shadrach Thornton would miss the first two games due to a violation of team rules, and he also informed the media that freshman Johnny Frasier is likely to redshirt.
Given that news, it's all but guaranteed that Gallaspy will play, and a big reason is because he was able to enroll in January and go through spring practice.
"Those guys just have a better opportunity to showcase their skillset in fall camp because they aren't thinking like the other guys are," Doeren said of early enrollees. "They've already gone through spring ball and summer one... so they can really showcase their ability. Not that they have more ability, but it's going to look like they do because they can play faster and aren't thinking as much.
"Reggie had that advantage, and he's playing like it. He's done a good job."
Gallaspy arrived at NC State after a historic senior season for Southern (NC) Guilford High School. He totaled 3,318 rushing yards, the eighth-best single-season total in North Carolina High School history. His 54 total touchdowns is the third-most ever in the state, trailing only T.A. McLendon (71) and Kevin Parks (59), and his 3.86 touchdowns per game mark only trailed McLendon's 4.73 in 2002.
A heralded runner, how does he feel about his upcoming freshman campaign?
"I'm very excited," said Gallaspy. "I prepared well during the spring. I came in early to get a headstart. It's been good during summer practice and camp's been good.
"We have a lot of great backs. We've been really grinding in the training room... getting our bodies ready. We've been getting a lot of mental reps... we still have room to pick up things, but we'll be fine."
Junior Matt Dayes is expected to open as the starter, but Dayes is also a receiving threat for the Wolfpack. Gallaspy could be given Thornton's duties in the offense early on. While Thornton is expected to still have a major role when he returns, Gallaspy could earn more playing time this season if he performs well with his early opportunity.
"I'm ready to play a ballgame."
Gallaspy led the Wolfpack in rushing (130 yards) in the 2015 Kay Yow Spring Game. Below are some highlights of him in action.