Spring Spotlight: Fullback

RALEIGH, NC -- With a talented group of running backs, NC State appears to have abandoned the spread offense used in Chuck Amato's early years, and a true fullback should be a key weapon for offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.

  • Spotlight: Quarterback
  • Spotlight: Running Back

    #20 Reggie Davis: 6'0 246 - Senior
    #89 Octavius Darby: 6'2 256 - Redshirt Sophomore
    #37 John Kane: 5'9 239 - Sophomore
    #4 Pat Bedics: 6'0 249 - Redshirt Junior

    With a talented group of running backs, NC State appears to have abandoned the spread offense used in Chuck Amato's early years, and a true fullback should be a key weapon for offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.

    Entering the spring, converted fullback Reggie Davis is listed as the starter at the position. Davis spent his first three seasons at tailback, but with Andre Brown and Toney Baker certain to receive maximum reps next season, NC State head coach Chuck Amato shifted Davis to fullback where he can get on the field and give the Wolfpack another talented playmaker.

    "It is senseless to have a backlog of players at one position and have five of them standing on the sidelines," Amato said. "As a staff, we want to get as many of those guys on the field at the same time as possible - your playmakers have to be on the field to make plays. They have all been unselfish about making changes, so we are trying different things this spring with the group."

    "[Reggie Davis] is on the field," Amato added. "There's a chance to get on the field. He's a big, tough, sure-handed player that we can do a lot of things with.

    "That's one of the biggest things I've seen with these young men. Everybody wants to be the hero, but they've shown a lot of unselfishness."

    When he inked with the Wolfpack in 2003, some believed Davis would end up at fullback all along, but at times he proved he was more than capable of playing tailback at NC State.

    As a freshman, Davis burned his redshirt nine games into the season, starting two games including a 24-carry, 82-yard performance against Duke when he scored his first career touchdown.

    He finished the 2004 season as the Wolfpack's second-leading rusher, gaining 227 yards on 46 carries. The highlight of the season for him came against Clemson, when he scored both of NC State's touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving.

    With Brown and Baker in the fold in 2005, Davis saw his production diminish, as he gained just 77 yards on 27 carries. He's a talented player, there is no doubt about that, and he has the chance to make plays at fullback in Trestman's West Coast offense.

    The main goals for the fullback position in the West Coast offense is to be able to block and catch. In this offense the fullback also has to able to pick up blitzing linebackers and open running holes for the tailback. The most important value for the position is to be able to catch. The fullback will likely have more receptions than carries, and Davis has proven his worth as a receiver out of the backfield.

    Octavius Darby

    Anthony Hill spent much of his time at the position in 2005, rotating between fullback and as a H-back lining up offset in the backfield or coming in motion. With the departure of T.J. Williams, Hill moves to his natural position, tight end, and that opens the door for Davis or Octavius Darby to become a valuable contributor in the Wolfpack's offensive attack.

    Like Hill, Darby is also a natural tight end, but Hill should be one of the best in the country next year and Darby is too talented to keep on the sidelines. A highly-regarded tight end prospect out of Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna Prep, Darby was tabbed a SuperPrep All-American and rated the No. 7 tight end in the nation by the same publication. He also was named the No. 2 player in Broward County according to The Miami Herald and was a two-time All-Broward County selection.

    Darby redshirted in 2004, and last year he served as Hill's backup at fullback/h-back. Darby didn't register a catch but was a solid run blocker in limited action. He is currently listed behind Davis on the depth chart, but he may not stay there for long. Darby checks in at 6-foot-2, 256 pounds and has gained 30 pounds since enrolling at NC State. He has great hands and has the ability to stretch the field with his speed.

    Both Davis and Darby give the Wolfpack intriguing options at the position, and they will be backed up by John Kane and Pat Bedics. Kane is a sophomore walk-on, and last season Bedics transferred to NC State from Penn State. During his redshirt year he rotated between fullback and linebacker, and he will likely do the same this spring.

    Pack Pride Edge: This should be an interesting battle. Clearly, Davis was moved to fullback so he would get a chance to play... and play a lot. However, Darby is probably the better blocker and should receive the reps in rushing situations. Both players will factor into the offense next year at fullback, but at the moment it looks like Davis has the edge. If he struggles with his blocking, Darby could emerge as the starter.

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