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February 21, 2013

Four Wolfpackers set to compete at NFL Combine



The NFL Scouting Combine officially started on Wednesday with players arriving, but the first day of actual testing is not until Friday, when offensive linemen, tight ends and specialists take the field in Indianapolis. That first group of players is being measured, and will do some other activities, such as media interviews, on Thursday.

NC State will have four representatives at the event, which will feature more than 300 players and wrap up on Feb. 26. Quarterback Mike Glennon and cornerback David Amerson, who had one year of eligibility left, are the headliners for former Wolfpack players, while safety Earl Wolff and offensive guard Zach Allen were also invited to participate.

NC State will also hold its annual Pro Day, where all former players eligible for the draft will work out, on March 20, and the NFL Draft is set for April 25-27.

Glennon is universally regarded as one of the top available players under center, but there is a wide range of opinions on where he will be drafted and where he fits among the top five signal callers in the event. The two-year starter became the first player in program history to throw for 30 or more touchdowns in two different campaigns, and finished his career with 63 scoring throws, which trails only Philip Rivers (95 in 51 career starts) and Russell Wilson (76 in 36 career starts) in NC State annals. As a senior, he led the ACC with an average of 310 passing yards per game and his 4,031 total passing yards is the second-best mark ever for a Wolfpack quarterback.

Despite just 26 career starts, Glennon ranks second in school history with a completion percentage of 60.4 percent, third with 646 completions and fourth with an efficiency rating of 132.31, 7,411 passing yards, 1,069 attempts and 7,131 yards of total offense. He is listed as the No. 3 available quarterback by ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr.

"I thought he could be [taken] in the mid-first round range," Kiper said in a conference call last week. "He didn't play great against Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl, he didn't have a lights-out Senior Bowl week, but he's got talent, he's got ability. He also has probably the weakest supporting cast of any quarterback that we're evaluating here, in terms of dropped balls against him by his receivers - he had more than any other quarterback. Glennon, to me, is a guy that can still emerge as a late one, early two."

Amerson burst onto NFL teams' radars as a sophomore, when he snared an ACC record 13 interceptions en route to winning the Jack Tatum Award, which is annually presented to the nation's top defensive back.

The Greensboro native could not match his All-American performance as a true junior, but he still tied for the ACC lead with five interceptions and leaves NC State with the career record of 18 picks, which is tied for the third-most in ACC history. The 6-foot-3, 194-pounder could also get looks at safety in the league, according to Kiper.

"In terms of the cornerbacks who could be safety-types and would have some versatility, you go down the line of the guys who are in that mix now, and we have to wait and see, first of all, what do they run," Kiper asked. "David Amerson from NC State, what does he run? He's a cornerback, had a big year a couple of seasons ago with a ton of interceptions, but struggled a little this year in coverage. We'll have to see what happens with him, how he tests out, in terms of his 40 time and where he's projected after that. He would certainly be a guy that's at the top of that list because of what he brings to the table physically."

Wolff, a fifth-year strong safety from Raeford, N.C., was the lone Pack selection to the 2012-13 All-ACC first-team, and he paced the squad with 145 stops in his final campaign, the most tackles for a State defender since 2005. He finished his career as the first defensive back in program history to eclipse 400 tackles, and was just the fifth ever to do so. Wolff also tallied eight tackles for loss, 12 pass breakups, seven interceptions and eight forced fumbles during 51 games and 43 starts.

The 6-3, 328 pound Allen had his fifth season cut short by a foot injury suffered in the Miami game, but still earned an invite to the Combine, thanks to a resume that included 42 games played and 31 straight starts, beginning with the season opener in 2010. He allowed just six sacks in 2,399 snaps, and was not docked for a quarterback takedown in the five games he started as a senior.

Allen and the offensive linemen will go through on-field workouts on Saturday, while Glennon and the quarterbacks will be featured on Sunday. Amerson, Wolff and the rest of the defensive backs will have their turn on Tuesday. Live coverage will begin each day at 9 a.m. ET on NFL Network and NFL.com.

Other players with a chance to reach the NFL, and who will probably take part in the school's Pro Day, include safety Brandan Bishop, versatile offensive lineman R.J. Mattes, wide receiver Tobais Palmer, defensive lineman Brian Slay, offensive lineman Andrew Wallace and center Camden Wentz.


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