WR John Dunlap broke a huge south Florida barrier when he committed to NC State over hometown Miami back in 2004. As a freshman, he showed flashes of brilliance but suffered a major setback with a serious knee injury during the offseason. Dunlap updated us on his health and several other subjects in a recent Q&A session.
Can you talk about exactly what happened when you injured your knee last year?
"It was after the season and the whole team was in there playing. I went to take the ball to the hole and, I wasn't even going hard but, I stepped the wrong way and heard something pop. I tore my ACL and meniscus. When I went to the doctor, they told me that I should be back for the first day of camp."
How has your rehab gone?
"I still have some things that I have to keep working on but I think overall, my knee rehab went real good. I've done everything I can to get it back and I've worked real hard so, so far so good. I mean, it's a process but it's going pretty good."
Do you worry much about re-injuring the knee when you're out on the field?
"I think that goes through every offensive player's mind as far as getting hit and getting hurt. It does come into your mind about getting hurt but the only way you can get that out of your head is repetition. The more reps you get, the more comfortable you'll feel."
Have any decisions been made as far as whether you'll redshirt in 2005?
"I don't quite know. I think I feel pretty good. But, by September 4th, if I feel great, I'll give it a shot. If I don't, I'll sit out that game and try again next week. It just depends on how I feel."
Where would you say you are now physically if you could put a percentage on it?
You were recruited as a WR but there was persistent talk about how good you could possibly be at LB. How comfortable have you become at wideout and why do you prefer that position over LB?
"I love wide receiver, and I love the chance to make the big play. A lot of people look at my size and they think I can't play wide receiver but last year I think I showed the coaches and the fans that I have the potential to play wideout. There's still a lot I need to work on and work hard for, but I love wide receiver."
What were your thoughts after having your "second" TD called back against Clemson last year?
"After the first one I was figuring that everyone makes mistakes. On the second one I just figured that God had it that it just wasn't my turn to score yet (laughing). It just wasn't my turn so I accepted it and moved on and all that does it just make me work harder for my first touchdown."
Is there any wide receiver that was on the team last year or this that you've tried to pattern your game after?
"Brian Clark. He's an outstanding worker, and he has everything that a wide receiver needs. He's a hard worker. He can jump. He has speed. He runs routes great so I look at him like, during the spring when I was hurt, that I could see those little moves that he gives and I try to emulate that into my own game. I'm a guy that I like to listen so I look at other guys and see what they have and try to take something from them."
Doc Holliday was your recruiting coach and position coach. What were your thoughts when he left?
"When Doc left I understood that this is like a business. Things happen and people go places for different reasons. That's part of life and life is about change. When Doc left I was a little upset because he recruited me but coach Dixon is a great coach. He knows his stuff. He's on you everyday in practice. He doesn't let you get away with anything. His punishments are brutal. I don't think you want to get in trouble with him."
What are the main differences in the coaching styles of the two?
"Doc was more laid back. But coach Dixon, he has so much energy. You run a route wrong and he's willing to get out there and run the same route so he can show you how to do it right because he was a wideout. But that's the difference between someone telling you how to do it and someone going out and showing you how to do it."