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NC State Wolfpack Defensive Players to Watch vs. Texas Tech

Can the Red Raider offense find a way to beat a stout Wolfpack defense?

This week on, we are analyzing the Texas Tech Red Raiders' Week 3 matchup against the NC State Wolfpack

Yesterday we looked closely at some key offensive players for the Wolfpack and how they could wreak havoc on the Red Raider defense. 

Today we turn our attention to the defensive side of the ball. While the Wolfpack were an explosive offense in 2021, the defense deserved just as much attention. They would hold opponents to under 20 points and less than 250 yards of total offense per game.

The Wolfpack return talent across the board on defense in 2022, including their leading tackler. If the Wolfpack defense can replicate what they put on the field last season, they could give the Red Raider offense a lot of trouble in a hostile road environment. 

Now, let's take a look at some of the defensive players you should know for the Wolfpack. 

Cornerback Derrek Pitts Jr. 

One of two lockdown corners for the Wolfpack in 2021, Pitts Jr. returns looking to once again make the secondary a no fly zone. Pitts would record six passes defended, tied for the team-high with NC State's lockdown corner, who we'll talk about shortly. He would also total 43 total tackles, 29 of which were solo, and two interceptions. 

Cornerback Shyheim Battle 

The other part of NC State's dynamic cornerback duo was Shyheim Battle, who helped Pitts shut down opposing receivers. Battle would tie Pitts for the team lead in passes defended with six, showcasing his ability to neutralize even the best of receivers. Much like his cornerback counterpart, Battle would show an ability to get to the ball as well, ending the season with 28 total tackles and two interceptions of his own.

Linebacker Drake Thomas 

Thomas was the main cog in an elite defensive unit for the Wolfpack last season. He was the Wolfpack's leading tackler, racking up 99 total tackles, including six sacks. As well, Thomas displayed his coverage skills with a team-leading three interceptions, including a pick-six which was the only one on the season for the Wolfpack. 

You can find Connor Zimmerlee on Twitter @Connorjz98

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