NC State Wolfpack College Football Preview 2021: Top Players
Best NC State Wolfpack Offensive Player
RB Zonovan Knight, Soph.
He showed a burst right away in 2019, running for well over five yards per carry with 745 yards and five scores as a good part of the rotation. There might have been just one 100-yard day in 2020, but he led the team with 788 yards and ten rushing scores, coming up with one in each of the last six games as a steady all-around producer.
He’s not a workhorse – Ricky Person will get more than his share of carries – but he’s effective when he gets the ball in his hands as a runner or a kick returner.
2. WR Emeka Emezie, Sr.
3. OT Ikem Ekwonu, Soph.
4. QB Devin Leary, Soph.
5. WR Thayer Thomas, Jr.
Best NC State Wolfpack Defensive Player
LB Payton Wilson, Soph.
While he has to get back healthy after having shoulder problems, when he’s right, he’s one of the best all-around linebackers in the ACC. At 6-4 and 235 pounds he’s got the size to go along with good range and pass rushing ability, coming up with 177 tackles with 3.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. Good in pass coverage on the weakside, he came up with three interceptions over the last two seasons, too.
2. LB Isaiah Moore, Jr.
3. DE Daniel Joseph, Sr.
4. CB Shyheim Battle, RFr.
5. S Tanner Ingle, Jr.
Top Incoming NC State Wolfpack Transfer
DT Cory Durden, Jr.
While he’s not officially on the roster as this is being written, the Florida State transfer is a very big, talented player filling a very big hole. Alim McNeill was a 6-2, 320-pound all-around anchor who’s now a Detroit Lion after being selected in the third round.
No one’s expecting Durden to step in and be McNeill, but the one-time great recruit has the 6-5, 315-pound frame to work on the nose, but he’s got the athleticism to be a big end in the 3-4. At FSU he made 68 tackles with 7.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in his 26 games.