When Tom O'Brien announced that redshirt sophomore receiver Bryan Underwood underwent knee surgery and would be out indefinitely at NC State's media day, he noted one pass catcher in particular that would have to help fill the void.
"I think Charlie Hegedus now is going to have to step up," the coach said. "I think he had a very good [second] scrimmage. He made a lot of improvement from his first to his second, which is something you like to see."
Hegedus' name might be unfamiliar to some Wolfpack fans, and that is because he is a true freshman from Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter High School. Lassiter has become a bit of a Pack breeding ground lately, beginning with senior center Camden Wentz, who is entering his third year as the Pack's starting pivot man, and continuing with Hegedus and his classmate, cornerback Niles Clark.
While Clark could have some trouble seeing the playing field this fall in the Pack's loaded secondary, Hegedus has a great chance to make an immediate impact, and definitely looks the part at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds.
"It'd be awesome [to play as a true freshman], but I wish Bryan could come back and play because he's a great player," Hegedus said. "He would've been one of the top players on our offense, probably the top player. The opportunity is there, so hopefully I cane take advantage."
The rookie arrived in Raleigh this summer and has been working hard to acclimate himself to the Pack's offense.
"The offense is a lot different from high school, so it's been different trying to learn it all," he said. "Obviously, the competition is a lot better, so I'm starting to adjust to that. It's been really cool being able to compete with all of these players at the next level.
"First, I started off a little slow, but I've picked it up pretty fast now. I'm starting to get it down and it's starting to come easy now. We've done a lot of film study and I've gone over my playbook every night. Coach [Troy] Walters has helped me out a lot, too."
Hegedus, who totaled 69 receptions for 1,156 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior, has relished the chance to learn under Walters, the 1999 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner and consensus All-American who went on to an eight-year NFL career.
"It's amazing to work with Coach Walters because of where he's come from," the rookie explained. "He was the best wide receiver in the country, and he played in the NFL. It's just an amazing opportunity to play for someone with that type of resume."
The first-year pass catcher has also enjoyed working with star quarterback Mike Glennon, who he noted is just on a different level than any other passer he's played with. Hegedus' quarterback last year was Lassiter was UCLA commit Eddie Printz, who is currently ranked as Rivals' No. 23 pro-style passer in the class of 2013.
Hegedus, who said he is working hard to improve his lateral movement and agility, has also been thankful for the challenge he faces in practice on a daily basis, going up against the Red and White's experienced secondary, which helped the Pack lead the nation with 27 interceptions in 2011.
"Going against them is a great opportunity to help me and it makes the offense better as a whole," he noted. "When it comes to real game times, all of us will be ready to go against anyone."
Although the opportunity is there for Hegedus to emerge as a threat in NC State's passing attack, he's keeping his goals simple and working as hard as he can to take advantage of his chance to shine as a rookie.
"I just want to help the team make it as far as we can," he said. "We want to win the ACC and go to a BCS bowl."