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Friday, January 16, 2009

Nate Irving and Willie Young are staying in Raleigh

Good news if you're a Pack football fan...none of the Pack's underclassmen are leaving for the NFL. The deadline to declare, Jan. 15th, came and went without news of any Pack players departing ahead of schedule.

The top two potentials were junior defensive end Willie Young and sophomore Nate Irving.


Young was probably a little undersized to play defensive
end in the pros, and likely would've had to project as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Given that his speed isn't world-class, he'll probably need to spend 2009 bulking up to aim for a spot as a rush end in a 4-3.

Nate Irving is probably still a little raw for NFL scouts, but there's no doubt in my mind that he can become a Bob Sanders-type linebacker at the next level. He's got the speed and ability to read the quarterback to play in pass coverage, and the athleticism to break up running plays behind the line of scrimmage
. What he lacks may simply be size and proof that he can be durable for an entire college season. Irving spent too much time on the shelf in 2008 to have a truly breakout year, but if he can play all 12 (hopefully 13) contests next season, he should be a first-day pick for sure.

For the Wolfpack, having both of these guys back on the squad is great news, as the Pack's defense will continue to be thin until O'Brien can fill the voids left by the 2006 and 2007 recruiting class debacles. Irving's absence over the course of the season, in particular, showed what a vital part he played in defensive coordinator Mike Archer's zone defense. With Irving, the Pack defense was much more stout against the run and better at creating turnovers in the passing game. Without him, the middle of the field was easy pickings for opposing squads. The Boston College game, in particular, highlighted what one player missing from the lineup can mean.

A larger, stronger Young rushing off the end, decreasing the time the opposing team has to throw the football, should also help improve State's passing defensive numbers.

With both of these players in the fold for 2009, State's defense should be improved.


  1. Woo Hoo. I am so ready for football season!

  2. Now it all hinges on Russell Wilson coming back..if so, then the ACC better look out.

  3. I hope we can destroy the Carolina offense with Irving and Young. We need some one to help Irving.