25 NC State

Aug. 20, 2012
Aug. 20, 2012

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Aug. 20, 2012

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25 NC State

The Wolfpack will not air on the side of caution; the deep secondary plays with equal abandon

This is an article from the Aug. 20, 2012 issue

Key Recruit

DEYLAN BUNTYN Forty pounds heavier than when he left high school, the 6'4", 330-pound junior defensive tackle rose to 22nd in's juco prospect rankings during his two years at New Mexico Military Institute. He'll crack the rotation and leave an imprint.

Breakout Player

QUINTON PAYTON Though he had just seven catches for 107 yards in 2011, the 6'4", 210-pound junior wideout has the size that speedier receivers Tobais Palmer and Bryan Underwood (both 5'11") lack. Payton should emerge as a reliable target for Glennon over the middle.

The Skinny

ONE OF the ACC's juiciest showdowns takes place not on Saturdays but on the days in between, when senior quarterback Mike Glennon and All-America junior corner David Amerson face off during Wolfpack practices. "It's nothing but love," says Amerson, who gives Glennon occasional prepractice warnings to avoid his territory. "Sometimes I get the best of him, sometimes he gets the best of me." Left to torment others, both got the better of their opponents last season, when Glennon tossed 31 touchdowns and Amerson set school and conference records with 13 picks. "Mike thinks he can throw the ball anywhere," says coach Tom O'Brien, "and David thinks he can intercept it anywhere." They are both right.

Final Analysis

AMERSON ISN'T the only elite DB that Glennon must face in those intrasquad aerial battles. Safeties Brandan Bishop and Earl Wolff and corner C.J. Wilson—all of them seniors, all of them returning starters—fill out one of the nation's top secondaries. They will be stretched, however, playing behind a linebacking corps—less experienced, far less of a sure thing—that will have to learn quickly on the job. Expect Glennon & Co. to put up enough points behind a deep, experienced offensive line to win their share of shootouts and challenge heavy favorites Florida State and Clemson for the Atlantic Division crown.


Coach Tom O'Brien (6th year)

33--30 (18--22 ACC)

2011 Record 8--5 (4--4, 4th in ACC Atlantic)

Final AP Rank NR

Returning Starters Offense 7, Defense 6

2011 STATS

Total Offense (FBS Rank) 344.9 YPG (94)

Rushing Offense 104.9 YPG (109)

Passing Offense 240.0 YPG (54)

Total Defense 354.9 YPG (41)

Rushing Defense 131.2 YPG (37)

Passing Defense 223.7 YPG (61)


Interceptions made by the Wolfpack last season, the most in the nation and the most by any team since Nebraska's 32 in 2003.



QB Mike Glennon

Sr., 6'6", 232 pounds

3,054 YDs, 31 TDs

RB James Washington

Sr., 6'0", 195 pounds

897 YDs, 7 TDs

WR Tobais Palmer

Sr., 5'11", 175 pounds

37 RECs, 5 TDs


CB David Amerson

Jr., 6'3", 194 pounds

59 tackles, 13 INTs

S Earl Wolff

Sr., 6'0", 207 pounds

113 tackles, 3 INTs

S Brandan Bishop

Sr., 6'2", 205 pounds

99 tackles, 5 INTs

Special Teams

PK Niklas Sade

Soph., 6'3", 200 pounds

11/16 FGs, 46/47PATs

PHOTOETHAN HYMAN/RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.COM (AMERSON)The brash Amerson had nearly half of the Wolfpack's nation-leading 27 interceptions last season.PHOTOLEE COLEMAN/ICON SMI (PAYTON)