Vermiglio: ACC Title is the Goal

With four starters graduating NC State enters spring practice looking to solidify the offensive line. Luckily for the Wolfpack they have a senior three-year starter returning in left tackle Jake Vermiglio.

With four starters graduating NC State enters spring practice looking to solidify the offensive line. Luckily for the Wolfpack they have a senior three-year starter returning in left tackle Jake Vermiglio .

Hailing from Milford (NY) Prep via Michigan, the 6-foot-5, 315-pounder burst on the scene in 2007 as a true freshman when he made three starts for the Wolfpack. He started at left tackle in the wins over East Carolina, Virginia, and Miami, excelling in all three, and rotated with Julian Williams over the final three games of the year.

His best performance came against two of the league's best defensive linemen. He was named Rookie of the Week after playing 77 offensive snaps against Virginia.

Going up against ACC Defensive Player of the Year Chris Long for much of the day, he earned a grade of 85, limiting Long to five tackles and one sack and allowing quarterback Daniel Evans to have one of the best days of his career. With Vermiglio on the line, NC State accumulated 347 yards passing and 431 yards overall as the Wolfpack pulled off the upset win.

He followed that effort up by squaring off against Miami's Calais Campbell, a two-time All-ACC honoree. Vermiglio kept the 6-foot-8, 280-pounder in check all game, limiting him to one tackle as NC State upset Miami 16-13 in Coral Gables.

A honorable mention freshman All-American by The Sporting News, Vermiglio started the last seven games as a sophomore in 2008, and allowed just three sacks all season. After taking snaps at left tackle and left guard he permanently moved to left tackle and made nine more starts for the Wolfpack last fall. With 19 starts under his belt, Vermiglio is clearly the Pack's most experienced lineman.

"Being the most experience returning lineman is good for me," he said. "But I feel like a lot of our guys have some experience. We're heading in the right direction with a lot of those young guys."

While State's other linemen might be young, they have videal traits you look for in line prospects. Andrew Wallace, R.J. Mattes, Sam Jones, and Denzelle Good were all heavily-recruited, and sophomore Zach Allen has received playing time at both guard positions. Starting center Camden Wentz backed up Ted Larsen in 2009, and overall the group has a ton of potential with physical upside.

"They have a lot of athleticism," said Vermiglio. "I think all of those guys can play. Especially with Drew, Sam, and Zach... those guys are all getting better every day."

One of the linemen who has definitely caught Vermiglio's attention is redshirt sophomore Andrew Wallace. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder started two games in 2009 at left tackle, and mainly backed up Vermiglio all season. He is arguably the Pack's top athlete along the offensive line and should receive more playing time this fall.

"Andrew's really fast and has good technique," said Vermiglio. "He's athletic. I think he's going to be a great player here."

A major reason NC State fans might not be too concerned with the Pack's offensive line given the personnel losses is coach Don Horton still resides in Raleigh. Considered to be one of the top offensive line coaches in the country, Horton has done a solid job of churning out effective lines that improved during the course of the season at NC State.

The Wolfpack might be young up front, but Horton will have as much natural talent and athleticism to work with than he's had the previous three years.

"Coach Horton is the best," said Vermiglio. "He knows his stuff. He's probably the best coach I've ever had. There's really no doubt about it."

With a strong stable of receivers, tailbacks, and quarterbacks, NC State should have a potent offense if the line can develop. Vermiglio believes the Wolfpack has a chance to make a run at an ACC title in 2010. Team goals are his personal goals.

"I just want to win the ACC championship," he said. "I want us to win as many games as possible. That's what matters to me."

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