One of the more promising rookies expected to hit the field this fall for the Wolfpack is redshirt freshman defensive tackle Carlos Gray, and it's been a long journey to reach this point for Gray.
The Pinson, Ala., native actually signed with a different Tobacco Road school in 2010, that being North Carolina. He did not qualify academically however and ended up at Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy that fall.
"It was UNC, but I had some problems, went to military school and found NC State," Gray recalled. "It felt like home, and [I] chose NC State."
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Asked if he ever considered re-signing with UNC after that, Gray gave a quick and blunt answer: "No."
Then the 6-foot-4, 321-pounder redshirted last year, meaning that a player who could have been a true junior entering this season at UNC is just starting his collegiate career at NC State instead.
"Very eager," Gray described as his feelings. "I've been out for a pretty long time now. That's a long time to sit out. It's time to show them what I can do.
"I'm doing pretty good. I just need to learn the playbook a little more, that's about it."
Gray admits that sitting out last season was not easy.
"It was very tough, but I learned to bond with most of my teammates just sitting back and watching them play," he said.
Although the defensive tackle depth chart is both competitive and deep, Gray believes he should be able to make an impact quickly.
"I have very high expectations," he said, "but first just be ready for the first game."