Here are five Wolfpack players who just might catch your eye in the 2017 Kay Yow Spring Game.
Junior Athlete Nyheim Hines
NC State is looking to find the replacement for Matt Dayes and one player expected to get a look in the fall is junior Nyheim Hines.
Hines, a four-star recruit out of high school, has primarily played wide receiver his first two seasons but should get a crack at taking a piece of the workload left behind by Dayes.
"With Matt's absence, that's 270 touches Matt Dayes had," Dave Doeren stated recently. "Nyheim Hines, Jaylen Samuels, Reggie Gallaspy, and when we get Dakwa Nichols back, and then obviously the receiving core... there's a lot of kids who need to take those touches away."
"We lost a lot of talent with those people, but we can't find another Matt Dayes," said Hines. "He's one of a kind. All we can do is just try to take the role on of Matt as a group. With Johnny being gone, that's unfortunate too because he was really talented as well. So, for the fans listening, we're working hard and we're just trying to replace the talent as a group.
Hines has spent time this spring lining up in the backfield and reportedly he's had a strong spring. However, he's focused on just working each day and impacting wherever he can.
"I like being put in space," said Hines. "Whenever I can touch the ball with the opportunity, I'll take it, and it doesn't matter if it's punt return, kick return, receiver, running back. I just want to help this team win.
"I definitely wouldn't want to be a specialist at one position. That's why I came. You guys have been following me for a while and I've always said that I want to be a guy who can do everything because you don't know where this path will take you and if it doesn't work out, maybe I can just do special teams or just something. I just want to be on the field and playing."
No. 7 is definitely ready to run through the tunnel again on Saturday.
"I'm excited," he said. "It's great to finally get out there and show Wolfpack Nation, the greatest fans and supporters in the world, what we've been working on for the past two months, so I can't wait."
Sophomore Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers
Jakobi Meyers spent his first two years at NC State primarily working with the quarterbacks, and he had high hopes as a signal-caller, as he was given the No. 16 jersey.
However, as a redshirt freshman he carved out a role in 2016 as a slot receiver in the Wolfpack's offense. Last fall he totaled 13 catches for 158 yards while flashing his upside and giving the Wolfpack a gimmick threat at the position as well.
Following the bowl game the staff decided to shift Meyers to wide receiver full-time, and now he's wearing No. 11 and looking to make his mark catching the football instead of throwing it.
"The guy has such a good skill set there," Doeren said of Meyers. "He was thrown into the fire with no technique in the fall."
At 6-foot-2 and 188 pounds, Meyers can make defenders miss in space and showed really good hands in limited action.
"It's been good to see him go through individual every day, and progress," added Doeren.
What does the Wolfpack head coach think of his young receiver's skillset?
"He's a natural route runner," said Doeren. "He understands how to turn steps and he can make tough catches."
Wide receiver is a position NC State is stocked with playmakers, and Meyers gives Eli Drinkwitz and his quarterbacks another viable threat at the position.
Sophomore Wide Receiver Kelvin Harmon
One of the bright spots offensively for NC State in 2016 was true freshman wide receiver Kelvin Harmon.
He enrolled looking to simply earn playing time and he proved to be one of the Wolfpack's most reliable weapons. He finished the year with five touchdown catches, and his 462 yards was the third-best total ever by a Pack rookie while his 17.1 yards per catch was second-best among Pack freshmen. For his efforts, Harmon earned the team’s Philip Rivers Award for Freshman of the Year, and he was named to the Athlon Sports All-ACC Freshman squad.
"I had a really good year," said Harmon. "I feel like if I just keep working, just keep perfecting my craft with Coach McDonald, and the sky's the limit."
Harmon can really make strides as this was the first spring for the Pack's talented young receiver. He made it a point to continue building chemistry with the quarterbacks while also improving his game.
"We've just had to come out here and practice and just build the confidence with our quarterback and our coaches," said Harmon. "I've mainly been trying to getting faster off the ball... breaking down my release better just give me more separation."
In the spring game you just might get to see No. 3 make one of the highlight-reel catches he made look routine as a true freshman. When asked which was his favorite, he referenced the touchdown grab in the corner of the endzone against Boston College.
"I don't know how I caught that," he said, laughing. "I still don't know how I caught that one."
Junior Linebacker Germaine Pratt
Harmon won't be the only No. 3 Pack fans will get to see in action on Saturday. Welcome back redshirt junior Germaine Pratt, who is now wearing No. 3 after wearing No. 31 his first two seasons at NC State.
Pratt redshirted in 2016 after battling shoulder injuries that limited him in fall camp while also undergoing a position change, shifting from safety to linebacker. He totaled 32 tackles, three forced fumbles, and 1.5 tackles for a loss in 13 games as a reserve in 2015.
"He had his shoulder operated on at the end of the spring, and we're doing everything we can do to get him ready. He can redshirt obviously, and we have that opportunity," Doeren said of Pratt back in the fall. "We'll take it day by day. [Redshirting] would be an opportunity for Germaine, obviously moving positions too if that's the direction we want to go. He can spend a lot of time getting his body to where he wants to.
Checking in at 6-foot-3 and 237 pounds, Pratt is built to play linebacker, especially when you factor in the instincts to play in space and his hard-hitting style. Doeren raved about Pratt when asked about the position change.
"Obviously his size, but his football IQ is incredible," Doeren said of Pratt. "He wants to be a coach when he's done playing, and he has that kind of love for the game. He studies film, offense, defense, and special teams, and a linebacker has to be that kind of person. They are really involved in the scheme.
"He can see things before they happen sometimes... using what he does on film study. I'm really excited about him when he's back."
Well, he's now officially back and ready to carve out a role in 2017.
NC State has two senior linebacker starters returning, but there's been a major buzz about Pratt all spring. He's extremely aggressive and fun to watch... look for him to make his fair share of plays today.
Junior Safety Dexter Wright
Who will replace Josh Jones? The answer might be junior Dexter Wright. After redshirting and playing sparingly his first two seasons, he now has a chance to become a playmaker for the Wolfpack.
Athletically, he has everything you're looking for. Wright was timed as low as 4.38 in the 40-yard dash coming out of high school, a scary time for a safety who checks in at 6-foot-3 and 232 pounds.
"Dex, if you just walk into a room and you see him, you'll say that he's a freak," said safeties coach Aaron Henry. "He is a talented guy... he has plenty of ability."
What Wright needs is reps. He is settled in alongside starter Shawn Boone, and young safeties like Tim Glass and Isaiah Stallings are pushing him for playing time. He now has a big opportunity in front of him.
"With him, he has to continue to build that sense of urgency," said Henry.
Last year Henry was able to watch and learn from Jones, who parlayed his junior year into being a potential first-round NFL draft pick. Physically, Wright is a lot like Jones, but will he be able to translate that over consistently on to the football field?
That's the question No. 14 has to answer, and Saturday's game in Carter-Finley Stadium will give him a chance to prove he's ready for the opportunity.