An in-depth, detailed look at the NC State Wolfpack

Scouting Syracuse football's next opponent, the NC State Wolfpack

After a strong effort against top ranked Clemson, Syracuse travels to Raleigh to face a talented NC State squad. Here is a look at the Wolfpack. 


NC State's offense is best labeled “multiple” under offensive coordinator Matt Canada. The Wolfpack uses a variety of formations and personnel groupings and operate at different tempos.

Without starting running back Matt Dayes, they have become more of a pass first offense. Ideally, they would like to be balanced, mixing in the run and pass. But with a talented, veteran quarterback and without a clear lead back, they have turned to their passing attack as their primary weapon.

The Wolfpack have a lot of interchangeable parts at receiver, tight end and in the backfield. They move personnel all over the formation to confuse and create mismatches.

Projected Starters

QB Jacoby Brissett
RB Dakwa Nichols
FB Jaylen Samuels
WR Jumichael Ramos
WR Johnathan Alston
TE David Grinnage
LT Joe Thuney
LG Alex Barr
C Quinton Schooley
RG Tony Adams
RT Tyler Jones

Key Players

QB Jacoby BrissettBrissett is one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC. He is big, strong and has a big arm. Brissett is an accurate passer who makes good decisions. He can make plays with his legs as well as his arm. His mobility will really test the Syracuse defense. His intelligence and ability to look off coverage will test a young Orange secondary that has struggled this season.

TE David GrinnageGrinnage is a big, physical tight end who has a knack for finding the open areas over the middle of the field. He is a safety valve at times for Brissett, catches nearly everything thrown his way, and is a strong blocker as well. Grinnage will line up as a traditional tight end with his hand down or flexed out in the slot.

FB/TE Jaylen SamuelsSamuels is a versatile weapon for NC State. He is their leading receiver in terms of catches, yards and touchdowns. He also takes carries out of the backfield. He is NC State's most consistent offensive weapon outside of Brissett. Samuels will be featured in this game in a variety of roles. As a fullback, halfback and tight end. 


With the loss of Matt Dayes for the season with an injury, the Wolfpack rushing attack has taken a step back. Dakwa Nichols and Nyheim Hines have taken over some of the load, but have had mixed results. Entering the matchup with Syracuse, that is the biggest question on this unit. 


The NC State Wolfpack offense is versatile, talented and features a fantastic quarterback. They will test the Orange through the air and with the mobility of their signal caller.


NC State runs an aggressive, attacking 4-2-5 scheme. They rely primarily on their defensive line to generate pressure, but will bring the blitz at times. They are ranked 16th in the country in total defense in large part because of the speed they possess. The secondary features a lot of experience and are aggressive when playing the ball. They aren't afraid to go for the turnover. 

Projected Starters

DE Mike Rose
DT Kentavius Street
DT BJ Hill
DE Bradley Chubb
WLB Airius Moore
MLB Jerod Fernandez
CB Justin Burris
FS Hakim Jones
SS Shawn Boone
NB Dravious Wright
CB Mike Stevens

Key Players

WLB Airius MooreMoore is a fast, playmaking linebacker who loves to play in the opponent's backfield. He is a strong tackler, a dynamic athlete and skilled blitzer. He could rack up a lot of tackles against the Orange on Saturday. He leads NC State in that category on the season.

DE Bradley ChubbChubb is a talented defensive end who loves to rush the passer. He has a variety of pass rushing moves, uses his hands well and is quick around the edge. He will really test the Orange offensive tackles.  

Hakim Jones: Jones is a ball hawking, hard hitting safety who can play in coverage or in the box. He leads the team in interceptions, helps in run support and will blitz from time to time as well. 


There are not a lot of weaknesses on this team. They defend the pass and the run very well. They cover well, rush the passer and force turnovers. On occasion, they have trouble getting off the field on third down. 


Just like the last three opponents that Syracuse has faced, NC State has a fast, physical, talented and stingy defense. They will test the Orange, especially in the trenches. Their defensive line is very, very good. The Orange offensive line will have to play well in this one.


Projected Starters 

K Kyle Bambard
KOS Jackson Maples
LS Tyler Griffiths
PR Bra'Lon Cherry
KR Nyheim Hines

Key Players

Kyle BambardBambard is an inconsistent kicker, making less than 50% of his kicks at 5-11 on the year.  

KR Nyheim HinesHines will test a Syracuse kick return coverage team that has been excellent this season. He is over 26 yards per return, and has a 100-yard return for a score on his resume. 

PR Bra'lon CherryCherry is one of the top punt returners in college football. He averages over 13 yards per return, has a touchdown on the season and is a threat every time he touches the ball. 

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