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January 20, 2011

State of the position: Tight ends

With the 2010 season behind NC State, it's only natural to take a look back at the year and analyze the roster. The Wolfpacker does just that, taking a position-by-position look at the squad, and figuring out what went right and wrong in 2010, and how the future shapes up. We continue with the tight end position.


Season Breakdown


Preseason spin
NC State was supposed to be in solid shape at tight end. Redshirt junior George Bryan was first-team All-ACC in 2009 and projected to repeat that honor again in 2010. The Pack also had some young depth behind him, led by athletic sophomore Asa Watson.

Reality
Bryan had another first-team All-ACC season, catching 35 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by the game-winning touchdown reception on fourth and goal from the one late in the fourth quarter of the win over Florida State in Carter-Finley Stadium Oct. 28.

Bryan was projected to be one of the top tight ends in the 2011 NFL Draft should he had chosen to leave early, but Bryan instead opted to return for his fifth-year senior season at NC State.

Watson caught just one pass for 22 yards and had some drops, including a costly one at Clemson. He seemed to be replaced as the second-string tight end in the Champs Sports Bowl by redshirt sophomore Mario Carter, a former highly touted prospect that was recovering from two separate knee surgeries since before his senior season at Independence High in Charlotte. Carter ended the year with three catches for 25 yards.


Analyzing Recruiting Trend


The Supposed Foundation
By the foundation, we mean high school players that were signed in the Classes of 2006, 2007 and 2008 that have been in the program for at least three years. We did not include junior college recruits or major college transfers in this list.

Rashad Phillips, Class of 2006
George Bryan, Class of 2007
Mario Carter, Class of 2008

Analysis: A solid foundation has been laid for the tight end position. Bryan could be one of the best in the country, and if he can stay healthy Carter has the potential to develop into a nice tight end himself.

The Pack did sign junior college transfer R.J. Armstrong in 2007 to add depth at the positon, and Armstrong was a solid blocker for the 2007 squad but left the team after one season.

Phillips left NC State after he suffered serious injuries in a car accident during the 2006 season. After a lengthy rehab, Phillips transferred to North Alabama. He caught two passes for 13 yards in 2010.

The Future?
The future are high school players that signed in 2009 and 2010 as well as non-binding verbal commitments from the 2011 class.

Anthony Talbert, Class of 2009
Asa Watson, Class of 2009

Analysis: Watson is probably the most athletic tight end on the roster, and the coaches remain very excited about his potential in a Wolfpack uniform. Talbert played sparingly as a redshirt freshman, but he may have to wait his turn with talented tight ends in front of him.

NC State did not sign a tight in the 2010 class, and they were hoping to land one in 2011. Their most realistic shot appears to be Benson Browne, a three-star prospect from Walnut Hills High in Cincinnati, Ohio. Browne has narrowed his choices to Illinois, Louisville and NC State.


State Of The Position


Bryan is already a star and has a chance to be one of the nation's best. The key for NC State is having Carter, Watson and Talbert reach their full potential, which in the case of Carter and Watson at least looks to be fairly high. Overall the position has good possibilities for the foreseeable future, but the pressure will be on State to land at least one quality tight end in the 2011 class.


Previous State of the Positions
Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers



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