Some may have been surprised when the depth chart was released on Monday and redshirt sophomore Dakwa Nichols was listed as the No. 2 tailback. Nichols mainly played special teams last fall but was named Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year.
Part of the reason he hasn't had a role offensively is because he hasn't been able to stay on the field.
"[Nichols] has been injured a lot," said Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren. "None of them are major, but I challenged him in the offseason. He's had a ton of hamstring, groin, quads... that have kept him from sustaining any kind of opportunity to play on offense. As soon as he started to look good he'd be out.
"Knock on wood, he's done a great job. Our strength staff and our trainer deserve some credit as well. He went through every practice and took every rep he's supposed to take. Now he's been out there enough where everyday you can see who he really is."
Matt Dayes is locked in as the starter and it appears true freshman Johnny Frasier will redshirt. With Shadrach Thonrton suspended for the first two games, Nichols and true freshman Reggie Gallaspy will back up Dayes.
"Reggie and him are competing a lot because they know they are in a position to be the next guy in," said Doeren. "The biggest thing when you are trying to show you belong is you have to be out there everyday, and he was able to do that."
What does Doeren think of Nichols' ability?
"He's tough, he's competitive, and he has good skills," he stated. "He's had the luxury of watching Shad and Matt... really learning from two guys playing at a high level."