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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: North Carolina State
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  2021 ACC JACOBS BLOCKING TROPHY AWARD WINNER: NC State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu has been voted the winner of the 2021 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced on Monday. The Jacobs Blocking Trophy has been awarded annually since 1953 to the player selected most outstanding blocker in the ACC by a poll of the league's head coaches and defensive coordinators. The trophy is given in memory of William P. Jacobs, who served as president of Presbyterian College from 1935 to 1945. Ekwonu, a sophomore from Charlotte, North Carolina, is a finalist for the Outland Trophy and has been ranked as the top run blocker in college football by Pro Football Focus. He has tallied a team-leading 67 pancake blocks and 18 knockdowns for the Wolfpack.

A two-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week this season, Ekwonu and the Wolfpack rank 19th nationally in passing offense at 288.4 yards per game - 11th among Power 5 schools. In 829 snaps this season, the 6-4, 320-pound Ekwonu has allowed just two sacks from his left tackle position and has consistently been the high-grader on the Wolfpack offensive line. He was named a midseason All-American by The Associated Press, The Athletic, ESPN and The Sporting News. "Ickey is the most dominant offensive lineman that I have seen in person as a head coach," said NC State's Dave Doeren. "But even more importantly, he is a phenomenal person, student, and teammate!" This marks the fourth time that an NC State player has claimed the Jacobs Blocking Trophy and the first since Outland Trophy winner and two-time All-America center Jim Ritcher was honored in both 1978 and 1979. - ACC Football


(DS#3 OG) rSo/2024 OG Ikem EkwonuNorth Carolina State
News Source: ACC Football
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  Too often for No. 24 N.C. State, rival North Carolina has proven to be the thorn in its side - crashing the party in otherwise successful seasons or, more recently, outright embarrassing the Wolfpack in blowouts. Friday night was shaping up to be more of the same, with North Carolina up 30-21 late and playing spoiler as N.C. State looked to keep hopes of an ACC Atlantic Division title alive. Two touchdowns in 26 seconds kept those hopes alive a little longer. Devin Leary threw those two touchdown passes in that short span, with North Carolina State recovering an onside kick in between, to stun North Carolina 34-30.

Leary found Emeka Emezie on a busted coverage for a 64-yard touchdown strike with 1:33 left. The Wolfpack recovered the onside kick, then Leary threw a 24-yard sideline pass to Emezie with 1:09 remaining. "What a football game," Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. "What a game. That's why you play until the last second's off the clock." N.C. State (9-3, 6-2) beat North Carolina (6-6, 3-5) for the first time since 2018 to remain in contention for a trip to the conference championship game. It also officially eliminated six-time reigning league champion Clemson from the Atlantic Division race. The Wolfpack would reach the title game if No. 21 Wake Forest loses at Boston College on Saturday, creating a three-way tie atop the division that would favor N.C. State by virtue of its division record and head-to-head win over Clemson. Leary finished with 247 passing yards and four touchdowns. - N.C. State/AP College Football


(DS#5 QB) rJr/2023 QB Devin LearyNorth Carolina State
News Source: N.C. State/AP College Football
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  Devin Leary threw for two touchdowns, Zonovan Knight returned a kickoff for a touchdown and No. 25 North Carolina State beat Syracuse 41-17 on Saturday to keep its hopes alive for an Atlantic Coast Conference championship. After neither team scored in the first 22 minutes, the Wolfpack scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in a matter of less than 3 1/2 minutes. It was all part of N.C. State's 28-point burst in the last 6:14 of the first half.

By the time the game began, N.C. State (8-3, 5-2, No. 20 CFP) had retained a shot at reaching the ACC championship game because Atlantic Division-leading Wake Forest lost at Clemson. In order to go to Charlotte for the league title game Dec. 4, the Wolfpack must defeat North Carolina on Friday followed by a Wake Forest loss the next day at Boston College. Syracuse (5-6, 2-5), which was blown out a week earlier at Louisville, needs to beat Pittsburgh next week at home to secure bowl eligibility. Freshman running back Sean Tucker became Syracuse's single-season rushing leader, passing Joe Morris with a second-quarter carry. Morris set the mark with 1,372 yards in 1979. Tucker, who entered the week second nationally in rushing, has 1,471 yards this year after posting 109 yards on 14 carries Saturday. Leary threw for 303 yards by completing 17 of 24 passes. - North Carolina State/AP College Football


(DS#5 QB) rJr/2023 QB Devin LearyNorth Carolina State
News Source: North Carolina State/AP College Football
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  NOV 15 ACC RECEIVER OF THE WEEK: Emeka Emezie, NC State, Sr., WR, Waxhaw, N.C.,...Earned ACC Receiver of the Week honors for the second time this season after he led all players in the Wolfpack's 45-42 loss at Wake Forest with 10 catches for 133 yards ... Scored two of the Pack's four touchdowns on a 28-yard catch and a 13-yard reception ... Seven of his catches came in the second half. - Atlantic Coast Conference Football

(DS#59 WR) rSr/2022 WR Emeka EmezieNorth Carolina State
News Source: Atlantic Coast Conference Football
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  NOV 15 ACC SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK: Zonovan 'Bam' Knight, NC State, So., KR, Bailey, N.C.,...Had three kickoff returns for 194 yards in the Wolfpack's 45-42 loss at Wake Forest ... His 194 yards in kickoff return yardage ranks as the third-highest single-game total in school history ... In the second quarter, with the Wolfpack down 21-6, his 72-yard return set up a touchdown on the following play ... Returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards for a score ... Now has two 100-yard kickoff returns for his career, joining former NC State standout Nyheim Hines as the only Wolfpack player to accomplish that feat. - Atlantic Coast Conference Football

(DS#17 RB) rSo/2024 RB Zonovan KnightNorth Carolina State
News Source: Atlantic Coast Conference Football
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  Dave Doeren can smile with pride, enjoying a season in which North Carolina State defeated Clemson and Florida State for the first time since he arrived in Raleigh, N.C., in 2013. Devin Leary threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns as the Wolfpack jumped ahead of Florida State early for a 28-14 win on Saturday. "I don't know how many times NC State has beaten Clemson and Florida State in the same year as a program," Doeren said. "But that happened this year and I think that's pretty good. When you look at those two programs, what they spend on football, their budgets, what they spend on their staffs, what we just did. I think it says a lot about what we're doing." Doeren's Wolfpack knocked off two of their biggest Atlantic Division rivals for the first time since 2002, before some of the current freshmen were born. N.C. State used the big play in the passing game against a Florida State team that was shorthanded due to flu-like symptoms.

Leary connected with Trent Pennix, C.J. Riley, Christopher Toudle and Ricky Person on touchdowns - one in each quarter - for the Wolfpack (7-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Three of the touchdowns were big plays, with connections of 62 yards to Riley, 45 yards to Pennix and 43 yards to Person. "I feel like it's a really special day," Pennix said. "We have a really special team. I had all the faith in my guys that we were going to pull out this win. We just went out and finished like we always do." McKenzie Milton filled in as Florida State's starting quarterback with Jordan Travis not dressed out. Milton completed 22 of 44 passes for 233 yards and scrambled to complete an 8-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Helton, but the Seminoles (3-6, 2-4) were also plagued by drops from the start. - North Carolina State/AP College Football


(DS#5 QB) rJr/2023 QB Devin LearyNorth Carolina State
News Source: North Carolina State/AP College Football
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  NOV 1 ACC LINEBACKER OF THE WEEK: Drake Thomas, NC State, So., LB, Wake Forest, N.C.,...Registered a career-high 15 tackles in the Wolfpack's 28-13 win over Louisville, slowing a Cardinal offense which had been averaging 31.7 points per game ... Started and played all 73 defensive snaps at middle linebacker (had started the previous seven games at SLB but moved into injured teammate Isaiah Moore's role) ... Five of his tackles were for zero or negative yardage ... Tallied a career-high 2.5 total tackles for loss and two sacks, including one on second-and-goal in which the Cardinals ended up settling for a field goal ... Also broke up a pass ... Helped NC State hold Louisville without a rushing touchdown ... The Pack now leads the FBS with just one rushing TD allowed this season. - ACC Football

(DS#4 OLB) rSo/2024 OLB Drake ThomasNorth Carolina State
News Source: ACC Football
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  Devin Leary threw three of his four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as North Carolina State's offense finally got untracked in a 28-13 win over Louisville on Saturday night. Leary hit Trent Pennix on a 29-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the fourth quarter to push the Wolfpack into the lead. Leary connected with Devin Carter with 5:53 remaining as N.C. State stretched its edge to 21-13. The clinching points came on 10-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Riley with 2:21 to go. "Love the way we finished the game," N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said. "To be able to pad our lead was awesome down the stretch." N.C. State (6-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which finished with 44 yards on the ground, had only 189 yards of total offense through three quarters. "Credit to our defense, they played their tails off the entire game," Leary said. "We kind of rallied off that." Leary ended up 25-for-36 passing for 317 yards. "He's just playing smart," Doeren said of his quarterback. "There are times where he's trying to be a little too perfect, but he's gutsy." So it was largely defense that allowed the Wolfpack to bounce back from a one-point loss a week earlier at Miami. The outcome leaves N.C. State as the closest pursuer to undefeated Wake Forest in the ACC's Atlantic Division. "It says a lot about our maturity," Wolfpack linebacker Drake Thomas said. "It takes a real strong, mature team to do what we just did." The Cardinals managed 55 yards on three fourth-quarter possessions. - North Carolina State/AP College Football

(DS#5 QB) rJr/2023 QB Devin LearyNorth Carolina State
News Source: North Carolina State/AP College Football
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  North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren says starting linebacker Isaiah Moore and starting left guard Chandler Zavala have suffered season-ending injuries. Doeren said Monday both players will need surgery, though he didn't specify the exact nature of the injuries. Moore went down holding his knee during Saturday's loss at Miami. The redshirt junior later returned briefly before exiting a final time, sidelining a player who is the team's No. 2 tackler (43). It also marks the Wolfpack's fourth defensive starter lost to a season-ending injury this season, joining all-Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker Payton Wilson, safety Cyrus Fagan and nose tackle C.J. Clark. The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Zavala, a graduate transfer from Fairmont State, started the first five games at left guard but didn't play in a win at Boston College nor the Miami loss due to injury. The Miami loss knocked the Wolfpack out of the AP Top 25. N.C. State (5-2, 2-1 ACC) hosts Louisville on Saturday night. - AP College Football

(DS#39 ILB) rSr/2022 ILB Isaiah MooreNorth Carolina State
News Source: AP College Football
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  OCT 18 ACC SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK: Devan Boykin, NC State, Fr., S, Greensboro, N.C.,...Made the biggest special teams play of the year for the Wolfpack to change the momentum of the game in Saturday night's 33-7 win at Boston College ... With NC State leading 10-7 in the opening minutes of the second half, Boykin scooped up a bobbled snap on a BC punt attempt and returned it 34 yards for the score ... Also broke up two passes from his safety position – including one in the end zone – and tallied three tackles while playing just 28 snaps. - ACC Football

(DS#999 FS) rFr/2025 FS Devan BoykinNorth Carolina State
News Source: ACC Football
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  Thayer Thomas knew the pass wasn't intended for him. Then he realized he had a chance to catch it. "On that play I'm not even a viable option," Thomas said after his leaping catch from Devin Leary on a broken play led to a 79-yard touchdown that helped No. 22 North Carolina State beat Boston College 33-7 on Saturday night. "It's kind of just like a scramble play," Thomas said. "My job is to set the pick for somebody coming underneath me. Devin just went right, he found me and I just had to kind of make a play for him." The game was tied 7-7 with just seconds left in the first half when the Wolfpack ran their kicking unit out to squeeze in a 27-yard field goal before time expired. They then added three touchdowns in the third quarter - two of them off back-to-back BC turnovers - to turn a tie game into a 31-7 blowout.

N.C. State added a safety in the final four minutes to seal its third straight victory. Coach Dave Doeren said he hopes it sends a message to those who doubt whether the Wolfpack (5-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are for real. "I mean, look, I can't control the lack of respect that we seem to get, publicly. We know about it. Out team recognizes that people don't think we're good," he said. "We're going to end up where we're supposed to be at the end of the year, and people will think what they think." Leary threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns, also completing a 40-yard scoring pass on the opening drive on a throw that bounced off the back of the defender before Devin Carter gathered it in. - North Carolina State/AP College Football


(DS#24 WR) rSr/2022 WR Thayer ThomasNorth Carolina State
News Source: North Carolina State/AP College Football
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  Beating Clemson was tough enough for North Carolina State. Getting refocused for a nonconference game a week later was another challenge. "That was a monumental task," coach Dave Doeren said. "More than people probably understand." The No. 23 Wolfpack did it just well enough. Devin Leary threw for two touchdowns and N.C. State held off Louisiana Tech 34-27 on Saturday night.

Louisiana Tech picked up five first downs on its last possession, reaching the N.C. State 22-yard line before Jakeen Harris' interception in the end zone on the game's final play. "We did enough to win," Doeren said. "It's great, I guess, to not play great and to win a football game." N.C. State built on the upset of Clemson and improved to 4-1 for the second year in a row. "You could tell our energy wasn't there at the beginning of the game," running back Ricky Person Jr. said. "As it went on, we started to come together as a whole unit and push forward." Leary was 22 for 36 for 251 yards. Person (90 yards) and running back Zonovan Knight (85) each ran for a touchdown. - North Carolina State/AP College Football


(DS#5 QB) rJr/2023 QB Devin LearyNorth Carolina State
News Source: North Carolina State/AP College Football
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  SEPT 27 ACC RECEIVER OF THE WEEK: Emeka Emezie, NC State, Sr., WR, Waxhaw, N.C.,...Pulled down a career-high 14 receptions in the Wolfpack's win over No. 9 Clemson ... His 116 receiving yards were also a career high, as he registered 46 yards after catch ... His 22-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Devin Leary in the first quarter was the first offensive touchdown scored against the Tigers all year. - Atlantic Coast Conference Football

(DS#59 WR) rSr/2022 WR Emeka EmezieNorth Carolina State
News Source: Atlantic Coast Conference Football
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  SEPT 27 ACC QUARTERBACK OF THE WEEK: Devin Leary, NC State, So., QB, Sicklerville, N.J.,...Named the Walter Camp FBS Offensive Player of the Week following his performance in Saturday's 27-21 double-overtime win over No. 9 Clemson ... Completed 32 of his 44 passing attempts (.727) for 238 yards ... Threw for four touchdowns, including two in overtime. - Atlantic Coast Conference Football

(DS#5 QB) rJr/2023 QB Devin LearyNorth Carolina State
News Source: Atlantic Coast Conference Football
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  SEPT 27 ACC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Ikem Ekwonu, NC State, So., OT, Charlotte, N.C.,...Played a career-high 102 snaps in Saturday's 27-21 double-overtime win over No. 9 Clemson ... Posted the highest grade on the offensive line as the Wolfpack held the ball for 41 minutes and 48 seconds ... Tallied eight pancake blocks plus three knockdowns. - Atlantic Coast Conference Football

(DS#3 OG) rSo/2024 OG Ikem EkwonuNorth Carolina State
News Source: Atlantic Coast Conference Football
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