Stone emerged as NC State's starter after performing admirably in a reserve role in a tough road loss to Wake Forest, and all he did was go 5-1 and lead the Wolfpack to a solid bowl victory over South Florida.
A heralded recruit out of high school, Stone played sparingly as a freshman and missed some of the regular season due to injury. As a sophomore, he completed 75-of-154 passes (48.7%) while throwing eight touchdowns and six interceptions. Stone didn't excel in any particular area, but he was outstanding in managing the game, minimizing mistakes, and made crucial plays late in games to give the Wolfpack a chance to succeed.
Inserting Stone into the starting lineup proved to be a brilliant move by NC State head coach Chuck Amato, as he energized the offense and keyed the Wolfpack's late-season sturge. For two seasons he has had to battle Jay Davis for the starting position and now he is the clear-cut starter.
How will Stone respond this spring? Blessed with terrific athleticism, great size, and an above-average arm, if Stone can use this spring to improve on his decision-making and accuracy with Wolfpack offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, NC State's offense should certainly improve next season.
Trestman must also find a backup quarterback this offseason, and expect Daniel Evans and Mike Greco to compete for the position. Neither has taken a meaningful snap at NC State, and Greco spent this past season as the Wolfpack's scout team quarterback.
Evans has been at NC State for two seasons, and has added nearly 25 pounds to his slight frame. He has a very strong arm and was a prolific passer in high school. The son of former Wolfpack All-American Johnny Evans, he will have a chance to showcase what he can do this spring, as he should receive a lot of reps with the second-team squad.
Like Evans, Greco brings a lot to the table. Athletically, he's everything you want in a quarterback. Labeled the fastest quarterback in last year's high school recruiting class, Greco has been timed as low as 4.35 in the 40-yard dash, and that's after checking in at 6-foot-3, 210-pounds. He is elusive and has the strong arm, just like Evans and Stone. Greco just needs to continue learning the Wolfpack's offensive system and this will be his first spring at NC State, giving him a chance to improve each day out.
Pack Pride Edge: With Stone firmly entrenched as the starter, the race here is for the backup position. Incoming freshman Justin Burke will be in the mix once he arrives this summer, but for now it looks like Evans may hold the edge given his familiarity with the Wolfpack's offense. However, Greco reportedly turned heads last fall with his athleticism and arm strength in leading the scout team against the first-team defense so it will be an interesting battle to watch.