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September 29, 2011When both junior Brian Slay and sophomore A.J. Ferguson went down with injuries at Cincinnati, a thin defensive tackle position got even thinner.
Already out were fifth-year senior J.R. Sweezy and redshirt freshman Thomas Teal. State was down to two healthy defensive tackles at that point. That's when they turned to walk-on Jacob Kahut, and he was just as surprised as probably anyone.
"I haven't practiced with the defense since April," Kahut noted. "They were just screaming for me and I had no idea why. I thought I did something wrong."
Kahut did nothing wrong of course. They told him that because Slay was hurt Kahut was going to be needed as a second-string defensive tackle for the rest of the game.
He was not a complete stranger to the position. Kahut practiced as a defensive end last fall and then rotated between defensive tackle and defensive end in the spring.
But he had been working with the offensive line this fall, spending a lot of time with the second line at guard. So when he ran onto the field Thursday night at Cincinnati, Kahut needed some guidance.
His first piece of advice came from the man he lined up next to quite a bit, fifth-year senior defensive tackle Markus Kuhn.
"I didn't know what was going on, but Markus just said go out there and hit somebody," Kahut recalled.
Kahut also got welcome guidance from fifth-year senior linebacker Audie Cole.
"They've put in a few different calls since spring, so I didn't know what was going on," Kahut said. "Audie just pointed me in which direction to go, so that was helpful. He was a great leader out there and he was telling me what to do.
"When you get out there, there are a ton people there watching but it really just felt like practice on steroids. It was a lot of fun. I couldn't really tell if I was nervous. I couldn't really remember it, I was so hyped up. It was a lot of fun."
The 6-foot-4, 257-pound Kahut got 13 snaps on defense, making one tackle, and also saw action on seven plays offensively.
"I did that in high school, so it felt like high school all over again," Kahut noted.
Kahut was a team MVP for Wake Forest-Rolesville High in Wake Forest, N.C., in 2008. He signed a partial scholarship to play at Campbell, where he worked both first and second string defensive line.
"I enjoyed my time there, but the school just wasn't for me," Kahut admitted. "I transferred to NC State. I didn't know if I was going to play football or not."
Fortunately for NC State, Kahut did walk-on and earn a spot. Fortunately for Kahut, he is getting a chance to live the dream.
"This is a dream come true for me," Kahut said. "I've always dreamed of playing Division I football. I've never played Division I at this level before, and I'm just having a lot of fun."
N.C. State NEWS