"Most importantly, I want to do what coach Williams expects of me," Jimmie Sutton told Pack Pride. "I just want to go out there and make plays. I want to be a leader, even though I'm not a senior, and be vocal. I want to just go out there and make things happen."
Sutton has had a chance to learn from several talented players, as NC State has placed numerous defensive backs into the NFL under Chuck Amato.
"It's like a dream come true, sitting back watching those older guys," Sutton said. "Lamont Reid, Marcus Hudson, Andre Maddox, Dovonte Edwards, A.J. Davis... guys like that. Now it's my turn to show the guys underneath me the same ropes those guys showed me. I want to take responsibilty. It's a big thing."
The fact that NC State has had success with sending defensive backs to the next level is motivation for the current players in Raleigh.
"Definitely, it's motivating for us," he said. "Everyday I walk to the cafeteria I see pictures of Lamont Reid, Andre Maddox... guys I've played with that made it. It's more motivation everyday because we don't want to be that dude that didn't make it. It's really motivating to see what all those guys have done, and we still communicate with them everyday."
With Sutton and senior A.J. Davis starting at cornerback, the Wolfpack returns quality experience at the position. However, even they can't take it easy because the younger players are working hard to try and unseat the two upperclassmen. One of them, redshirt sophomore Jeremy Gray, appears to be making a move up the depth chart. Gray is one of the tallest cornerbacks in the ACC, checking in at 6-foot-3.
"[On Wednesday], Jeremy Gray stepped up, and he ran with the ones," said Sutton. "DeAndre Morgan stepped up big today and made plays. We're out there making noise for him to show him that we're all there for him.
"Levin Neal, Phillip Holloman, they are all making plays. Everybody knows their role so when the time comes they know what they need to do. I feel they all will be ready when it is there time to make a play."
Even an above-average secondary needs a strong defensive line to truly succeed, and questions surround the Wolfpack's returning defensive line. Losing three players to the NFL Draft will bring about questions, but Sutton feels the talent is there for the Wolfpack's defense to remain among the ACC's best.
"They are looking real good," he said of the defensive line. "I just told John Amanchuckwu the other day to just get back there because we are going to hold the coverage down and do what we've got to do.
"I expect a lot out of those guys, and they expect a lot out of us."
NC State has finished in the top 15 nationally in total defense three out of the past four seasons. With offensive talents such as Philip Rivers, Jerricho Cotchery and Koren Robinson now in the NFL, is NC State developing a reputation as a defensive power?
"At times I do feel like that, but you can never forget about guys like Jerricho Cotchery, Philip Rivers," Sutton stated. "Andre Brown, Toney Baker, new guys that are coming up... Marcus Stone. You can never forget about guys like that.
"At times people may think of defense with us, but it is still the offense that goes out there and sells tickets."