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January 14, 2011

State of the position: Wide receivers

With the 2010 season behind NC State, it's only natural to take a look back at the year and analyze the roster. The Wolfpacker does just that, taking a position-by-position look at the squad, and figuring out what went right and wrong in 2010, and how the future shapes up. We continue with the wide receiver position.


Season Breakdown


Preseason spin
This position was set for NC State entering the 2010 season. Seniors Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams were a potent starting duo, and there was depth behind them in fifth-year senior Darrell Davis, junior T.J. Graham and redshirt juniors Steven Howard and Jay Smith.

As good as the wide outs performed in 2009, there was hope they would be even better in 2010. The thought was that promising redshirt freshman Morgan Alexander, junior college transfer Tobais Palmer and freshman Bryan Underwood would add some much needed quickness and after-the-catch playmaking skills to the offense.

Reality
Spencer and Williams did their thing. The three-year starting tandem were the top two-leading receivers. Spencer caught 60 passes for 912 yards and four touchdowns. Williams added 52 receptions for 713 yards and five more scores.

Davis, Graham, Howard and Smith provided the depth. Davis led the way with 26 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns while Graham added 25 receptions for 316 yards and four scores but struggled at times with drops.

Howard caught 12 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, and Smith hauled in 10 receptions for 84 yards and a score. State also got flashes of good play from redshirt freshman Quintin Payton, who caught four passes for 38 yards.

What State did not get was any plays from the smaller, quicker receivers. Palmer and Underwood redshirted while Alexander was dismissed from the team in the preseason.


Analyzing Recruiting Trend


The Supposed Foundation
By the foundation, we mean high school players that were signed in the Classes of 2006, 2007 and 2008 that have been in the program for at least three years. We did not include junior college recruits or major college transfers in this list.

Donald Bowens, Class of 2006
Darrell Davis, Class of 2006
Carlos Everett, Class of 2006
Jarvis Williams, Class of 2006
LaMarcus Bond, Class of 2007
Steven Howard, Class of 2007
Jay Smith, Class of 2007
Owen Spencer, Class of 2007
T.J. Graham, Class of 2008
Tobais Palmer, Class of 2008

Analysis: Wide receiver was one of the few positions were the previous staff at NC State under Chuck Amato left the current staff a solid foundation.. Spencer and Williams have lived up to if not surpassed expectations, and Davis, Howard and Smith have added solid contributions.

Bowens was almost a star before injuries hampered his career. He left NC State following the 2009 season, and he matriculated to North Alabama where he caught 38 passes for 465 yards and three touchdowns in 2010.

Neither Everett or Bond ever played a snap for NC State, and Palmer had to wait two years via the JUCO route before he could matriculate to Raleigh.

The Future?
The future are high school players that signed in 2009 and 2010 as well as non-binding verbal commitments from the 2011 class.

Morgan Alexander, Class of 2009
Quintin Payton, Class of 2009
Bryan Underwood, Class of 2010
Maurice Morgan, Class of 2011

Analysis: Alexander had NC State excited about his potential, but he never had a chance to show it after being dismissed from the team. Payton has the makings of being a solid possession receiver, while Underwood seems to be cut in the mold of Alexander and Palmer.

Wide receiver though will be a position that needs to be restocked over the next few recruiting cycles. NC State has a verbal commitment from the athletically gifted Morgan, and wide outs Hakeem Flowers from Wade Hampton High in Greenville, S.C., and Jonathan Hough from Anson County High in Wadesboro, N.C., have both scheduled official visits to NC State.


State Of The Position


Wide receiver will be a major question mark in 2011. A lot will depend on how consistent Graham can be and what kind of step forward Howard and Smith as fifth-year seniors getting their opportunities will take. The future has question marks as well, depending on how good Payton and Underwood turn out to be.


Previous State of the Positions
Quarterbacks
Running Backs



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