Looking for a breakout player in the ACC?
It has to be NC State sophomore tight end/fullback Jaylen Samuels, as he has been terrific for the Wolfpack through the first six games of the season. He ranks 11th in the ACC in receptions (27), is tied for fourth in receiving touchdowns (4), and is third in total touchdowns (9).
Samuels is averaging 7.2 yards per carry and 12.2 yards per catch, and he leads the Wolfpack in receptions and receiving yards.
In the last outing he lined up at tailback for the first time this season, an effort by the Wolfpack coaches to get him even more touches.
"It was fun," said Samuels. "I was practicing all week with the running backs, working on getting touches and ball security. It was fun to get back in the backfield and get a couple of carries... try to make some plays."
During the loss he sustained a toe injury that limited his practice time during the bye week. However, Samuels is back practicing and is expected to play against Wake Forest.
"I'm doing pretty good," he said. "I'm trying to fight through it. I'm doing a lot of treatment for my toe. It's kind of bothering me a little bit, but I can push through it."
What was the focus for Samuels and the Wolfpack during the bye?
"We just wanted to look back at ourselves more than scout Wake," he said. "We wanted to work on certain plays and certain routes... things we needed to fix and get better at."
NC State's offensive attack has sputtered in the two losses. The Wolfpack scored just 13 points per game and has lacked explosiveness.
"Coming into this game we want to do something different," Samuels stated. "We want to spread it out a little bit because teams know we run the football very good. With us doing different things it's hard on defenses to know what we're going to do.
"The plays are going to come. We just have to execute. We just have to run whatever coach Canada tells us to run to the best of our abillities and things will work."
NC State hasn't won at Wake Forest since 2001. However, Samuels doesn't care about that statistic or what has happened in the past.
"All that matters is going out on Saturday and playing," he said. "I don't look at history or things like that. As long as we go out and play we can get the win."