The departure of defensive ends Mario Williams and Manny Lawson has created plenty of questions at the position they once occupied so well at NC State, but there is no shortage of young talent at the position.
Aside from returning players, defensive end and Class of 2006 signee Audi Augustin will be working hard to get a look from the coaching staff this fall. While it is not often that true freshmen see the field at a position that requires such physical maturity and strength, it is not unheard of.
"I just want to try to get on the field and do whatever I can to help the team," said Augustin. "When the coaching staff recruited me they always made it clear that they would need some help at defensive end spot, and I didn't take that to mean three or four years down the road. I'm going to work as hard as I can to play early."
The 6-2, 235-pound product of Northeast High School in Oakland Park, FL runs the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds. He received offers from national powerhouses such as Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and others before inking with the Wolfpack.
Augustin earned a reputation as one of the top pass-rushers in the Sunshine State and was known for his great speed and quickness. He regularly chased down ball-carriers after appearing to be out of the play. However, for Augustin to get on the field early he will need to demonstrate that he has the ability to shed offensive tackles – particularly the caliber he will face in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
He, like so many others from the Class of 2006, will arrive in Raleigh around the first week in July in order to be present for the second session of summer school. Augustin expects Mike Greco to be his roommate once he moves into his dorm. What are his goals for the season?
"My personal goals are to work as hard as I can and help this program keep moving in the right direction," he said. "As far as the team goes, I want to see a close-knit group of guys that lays it out on the line for each other. We all want to win a national championship here and that's what it's going to take."
And his prediction for the Pack's fall campaign?
"Of course you know I'm going to say we're going undefeated," laughed Augustin. "Why would I say anything else? I'm not going to predict us to lose any games. I hope no one else expects to either."