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January 9, 2013

Six Pack of All-Stars for NC State



NC State will be well-represented when the college football all-star circuit begins this offseason in preparation of the 2013 NFL Draft, which will be held April 25-27.

Fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Glennon, who is ranked as the top draft eligible signal caller by ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., will take part in the prestigious Senior Bowl. The annual contest of the top athletes available in the draft will be played at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. NFL Network will televise the contest, while current NFL coaching staffs will lead the squads.

"I am excited about the opportunity to play in the most prestigious college all-star game," he said in a press release. "Getting an invite to the game was a goal of mine, and I look forward to the week down in Mobile being coached by NFL coaches."

The two-year starter opened 26 games during his career and completed 60 percent of his passes (646-1,069) for 7,411 yards, 63 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. He was the first player in school history to throw for 30 or more touchdowns in two campaigns, and Clemson's Tajh Boyd, who also completed the feat this year, is the only other athlete in ACC annals to do so.

As a senior, Glennon ranked led the conference and ranked ninth nationally with an average of 310.08 passing yards per game. He also tied for 12th nationally with 31 touchdown throws, which is tied for the second-best single-season total ever for a State passer, while his average of 15.23 points responsible for per game was second-best in the ACC and tied for 21st nationally. His 4,031 passing yards as a senior were the second-best total in program history, while his four-year totals rank among the Pack's top five all-time in every major passing category.

"Glennon didn't have big numbers, but he played with a supporting cast on offense less than stellar," Kiper, who ranked the field general as the No. 22 overall player in the draft, said on Mike and Mike in the Morning. "There were probably more dropped passes - his receivers not helping him out - than any other quarterback in the college football ranks or the NFL this year. When you look at Mike Glennon and you think about where he'll be in late April, he could ascend maybe into the top 10, top 15 overall.

"He was coached by the same guys that had Matt Ryan at Boston College. All of these things are going to factor in. I think when all is said and done, Mike Glennon is the first quarterback off the board."

The Wolfpack's starting safety duo, fifth-year Earl Wolff and fourth-year Brandan Bishop, were both selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game, held on Jan. 19 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The 4 p.m. game will be televised on NFL Network, as well. Leeman Bennett and Jerry Glanville will serve as the game's head coaches; Glanville will coach both former Wolfpackers on the East team.

Wolff wrapped up his career with All-ACC first-team honors after he became the first defensive back in school history to reach the 400-tackle plateau. The strong safety finished with exactly 400 tackles in his 51 games played, to go along with eight tackles for loss, seven interceptions, eight forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles. As a senior, he notched 145 tackles, including 2.5 for loss, and a pair of picks. The NCAA's official statistics had him down for just 119 stops, but that total still tied as the fifth-best in the land for a defensive back.

Meanwhile, Bishop earned All-ACC mentions for the third time in his career as a senior, and ended his career tied for fourth in school history with 12 interceptions. The veteran started a team-best 46 times during his four years on campus, and totaled 315 tackles, including eight for loss, to go along with eight pass breakups, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. As a senior, he notched 111 stops, including four behind the line of scrimmage, and he caused two fumbles with three picks.

Another pair of teammates, offensive lineman R.J. Mattes and defensive lineman Brian Slay, accepted invitations to the 2013 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which will be contested on Jan. 19, as well. Both players moved around on their respective lines during their careers, but were lineup mainstays throughout their days in Raleigh.

The 6 p.m. contest will be televised live on ESPN2 from The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and ESPNU will air live broadcasts of the practices on Jan. 17. Former NFL mentors Herman Edwards and Dick Vermeil will lead the teams.

Mattes was a second-team All-ACC honoree at guard this past season, while he started at the fourth position of his career - left guard, which made him the only player in the country to do so on the offensive side of the ball. He also opened games at left tackle as a fifth-year senior, due to injury, and he was in the starting lineup for 43 of his 45 career appearances.

The fourth-year Slay earned All-ACC honors as a junior, despite logging time at both end and tackle, and continued to play both inside and outside this fall. He played all four spots along the defensive line in the upset of then-No. 3 Florida State, and ended his career with a 2.5 tackles for loss in the Music City Bowl, despite dealing with an injury. The veteran of 46 games started 25 times and tallied 83 tackles, including 12.5 for loss, six sacks, 32 quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries, including one that he returned 52 yards for a score in 2011.

The final senior selected to play in an all-star tilt was fifth-year linebacker Sterling Lucas, who will take part in the South Carolina All-Star Bowl. The game will be played on March 23 at North Greenville University at 3 p.m.

The senior captain was started every game this year for the first time in his career, despite missing all of last year with a knee injury that led doctors to say he might never play football again. Lucas responded with 87 tackles, including five for loss, two sacks and a recovered fumble from the middle of the defense.


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