New faces-NC State spring practice

Grayson McCall played four years for Coastal Carolina and will have all eyes on him in NC State spring practice after transferring (AP)

As spring practice kicks off, the NC State Wolfpack is looking to make some noise this upcoming season.

Last year, the Wolfpack fell just short of that elusive 10-win season. The Pack fell, 28-19, to Kansas State in the Pop-Tarts Bowl, with a roster that struggled moving the ball. With perhaps one of the most talented rosters (on paper) in a while, this may be the one that does it for Dave Doeren in his 12th season with NC State.


The Pack kicked off its spring season last Tuesday with 32 new faces on the field. An extremely fruitful venture into the transfer portal saw NC State poach multiple players from top-end programs.

New quarterback

While the Wolfpack have plenty of new faces with high expectations, all eyes will be on new quarterback Grayson McCall. The 6-foot-3, Indian Trail native spent four years with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, throwing for over 10,000 yards, 88 touchdowns and three Sun Belt Player of the Year honors, before electing to transfer to NC State for his final year of eligibility and with MJ Morris transferring to Maryland, the job is his and his alone.

“The first thing you see is confidence,” Doeren said of McCall. “You can tell that he’s won a lot of games. He’s very comfortable as a leader, has no problem being vocal, and learns quickly. I also like how he handles adversity. If he has a bad play it’s just ‘snap,’ next play. You could tell there was no body language issues. I like that about him. But he’s just a natural leader. That’s the first thing. He’s just very confident, he knows who he is and the guys around him can feel that. It just oozes out of him.”

The rest of the offense

Outside of McCall, the Wolfpack are also welcoming in a plethora of new faces at skill positions.

A big area that NC State hopes to see a big turnaround in is with its receiving corps. Last season, true freshman KC Concepcion was the Pack’s only consistent option through the air, so Doeren made it a priority to get his new QB some better targets.

In comes Wesley Grimes from Wake Forest, Noah Rogers from Ohio State and tight end Justin Joly from UConn. The trio will give McCall plenty of options and allow Concepcion to not be run into the ground.

NC State also looks to finally have a threatening ground game again with running back Jordan Waters transferring in from Duke.

The other side of the ball

Defensively, the Pack are looking for redshirt junior Sean Brown and Auburn transfer Cam Riley to step up big at the linebacker position after losing standout Payton Wilson and for one of Maryland transfer Corey Coley or sophomore Brandon Cisse to win the opposite corner to senior Ayden White.

NC State has a deep group defensively, which bodes well for a team that has dealt with their fair share of defensive injuries over the years..

While the roster may have undergone some turnover, NC State actually saw tremendous stability with its staff, something very unusual in college football, as Dave Doeren returned all of his assistant coaches.

“I’m very thankful that we have this kind of continuity,” Doeren said. “It helps you in a lot more ways than just Xs and Os. When you get into the recruiting world, these guys have been in the same areas talking to the same coaches now for five, six years some of them and that’s really helpful in recruiting. When you’re turning over a coach year after year after year, you’re losing that longevity in an area of recruiting, the relationships that you’ve built. So it helps there, it helps in your player development, it helps in your install because coaches are all on the same page and it helps me. I’m not having to coach coaches as much.

“These guys have gotten opportunities. It’s not like nobody calls them. They like working here, they like working for me, they like the players, they like Raleigh. They love our opportunity here with what we have with home games. We have a true home field advantage. We can recruit here. And they know that we have an opportunity this season.”

That opportunity: a spot in the College Football Playoffs. With the expansion of the playoffs to 12 teams, NC State knows they have a chance to do something special.

“With the college football landscape changing to 12 teams, teams like us that have been in the top-20 over and over, can knock on the door differently than how we used to,” Doeren said.