Although redshirt junior quarterback Mike Glennon may look a little bit different at the start of summer camp with his newly unveiled facial hair and a different role - he is finally the starter under center - than previous autumns, he is not changing much else. This is the moment that the former four-star recruit from Centreville, Va., has been preparing for since committing to NC State in Jan. 2008 and he feels that he is ready for the spotlight.
"When I was warming up, I saw a bunch of cameras following me but I do the same things I always do," he said following the Pack's first practice on Tuesday. "I don't try to treat anything different with my teammates, I think it's the same situation all the time.
"I've done this in the spring every year so it hasn't been that much different."
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The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder signed with NC State as an Under Armour All-American out of Westfield High and was ranked as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback and the No. 59 overall player in the country, ahead of established college stars like Heisman favorite Andrew Luck and Oklahoma signal caller Landry Jones. Yet, the pressure and expectations are welcomed by Glennon, whose older brother, Sean, played quarterback at Virginia Tech from 2004-08.
"I think I've had pressure on me really ever since I started playing football with an older brother that succeeded and following in his footsteps," he said. "I think when I came in here with the hype that I had, there was a lot of pressure on me to succeed and I think it should continue. It's exciting to have a lot of pressure on me, I think that's what every quarterback kind of dreams of, that pressure situation where you can come up on top.
"This is what I came here for. I came here to be the starting quarterback and now my time has come, I have two years to be the starting quarterback."
Glennon's playing time has obviously been limited since losing the quarterback competition as a true freshman to Russell Wilson, who went on to one of the most prolific careers in NC State history. The new starter has appeared in 10 games during his career, going 33-of-52 for 326 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown. He logged 75 plays during the 2009 season, collecting all of his touchdowns and interceptions, but was limited to just 3 appearances last season as he completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 78 yards.
However, NC State will be breaking in a new set of pass catchers in 2011 after losing last year's top three wide outs and most of the potential contributors have spent most of their careers playing alongside Glennon on the scout team.
"All these guys have been with me in the spring and going with the twos throughout the falls so I'm very comfortable with these guys," he said. "A lot of them are guys that I came in with. The rest, we've been working hard in the summer so we've got another 30 days to get better out here then we'll be good to go by Liberty."
Glennon has welcomed the chance to start walking the walk with open arms, especially after a offseason of fulfilling interview requests and talking a lot about the signal caller whose shoes he is filling. Now, he is ready to show what he can do and lead his team back into the national rankings where they ended last season.
"I think that no matter who the quarterback is, there's going to be a lot of pressure," he said. "That just comes with the territory of being the quarterback. Week-in and week-out, the quarterback usually has to play well in order for the team to succeed.
Besides the beard, which has gained plenty of its own attention, the one thing Glennon has changed is that he has tried to take more of a leadership role since the end of the 2010 campaign. Other than that, he says he's still the same guy who has acted as the understudy for the previous three campaigns.
"I think I've stepped up and been more of a leader around here," he noted. "I think the guys around me are looking for me to do something and that's what I look forward to doing.
"I don't think too much will change. I think I'll be the same old guy I always am."