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 defensive tackle position.
Preseason spin NC State had to replace its two starters from the 2009 season - Alan-Michael Cash and Leroy Burgess - but the options were good. Senior Natanu Mageo, redshirt junior J.R. Sweezy and sophomore Brian Slay all gained valuable experience as reserves in 2009 and appeared poised to take over in 2010. State was also welcoming back redshirt junior Markus Kuhn, a valuable reserve and part-time starter in 2007 and 2008 that redshirted the 2009 campaign.
Reality Sweezy's development in his first year as a full starter was one of the bright spots on the defense. He earned honorable mention All-ACC after making 50 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for losses and 5.5 sacks, all team-highs for defensive linemen. Mageo started alongside Sweezy and was much improved from his first season, making 29 tackles, including seven for loss and four sacks.
Kuhn and Slay backed them up, with redshirt freshman Darryl Cato-Bishop also getting into the rotation from time to time. Slay had 20 tackles, including two for loss, and Kuhn added 17 tackles, with 1.5 coming for a loss. Cato-Bishop had 13 tackles, two behind the line of scrimmage.
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.
Analysis: Thanks goodness for the 2007 class. Sweezy and Kuhn are valuable pieces to the puzzle at defensive tackle. NC State was not left much by the previous staff, and then the wash in 2008 also did not help. Neither Everett or Linney ever played a down for the Pack. State also moved Wayne Crawford (Class of 2007) to the offensive line.
State brought in JUCO transfers like Mageo and Burgess and added Boston College transfer Keith Willis, Jr., over the years to help fill in the gaps on the roster.
The Future? The future are high school and prep players that signed in 2009 through 2011.
Analysis: There has been mixed results. Randolph and Roberson will never play a down for the Pack. Randolph never qualified, and Roberson's serious ankle injury suffered in high school cost him his career.
The good news though is that Slay and Cato-Bishop look like keepers, and Ferguson showed enough to earn some playing time as a true freshman. There is a chance though that Cato-Bishop and/or Ferguson could end up at defensive end.