PINEHURST – ACC football coaches and player representatives converged on the golf town of Pinehurst, NC, Sunday to kick-off the unofficial start of the season: ACC Kickoff 2015. Senior quarterback Jacoby Brissett was front and center for the media Monday afternoon, where he addressed the offensive outlook and his position as the leader of a young Wolfpack squad.
Brissett is coming off a very solid season statistically. He’s the only returning Power 5 quarterback with 2,000 yards passing, 500 yards rushing, 20 TDs, and five or less INTs. In the passing game, Brissett will have returning tight end David Grinnage and wide receiver Bra’Lon Cherry, but the Wolfpack will be very thin at wideout. Coming out of spring camp, Brissett feels very confident about what they have returning. “I feel we have a lot of great weapons in the receiving corp, and it’s my job to help put them in the right situation to make plays,” said Brissett.” Running back Matt Dayes will also be an integral part of the passing offense. Dayes caught 32 passes for 473 yards in 2014.
Behind Brissett in the backfield, NC State returns two 500+ yard rushers in Shadrach Thornton, 907 yards; and Matt Dayes, 573 yards. The rushing attack will also involve a trio of talented freshman running backs: Johnny Frazier, Reggie Gallaspy, and Nyheim Hines. “They’ve gotten better since day one of summer training. They’re a great group and they will make plays. They have really grown and matured since they’ve been here,” Brissett said of the freshman. Nyheim Hines will also help the wide receiving corp as he has the versatility to play in the slot, out wide, and in the backfield. “I can’t tell you another team in the country with as much depth as we have at running back,” Brissett said of his backfield mates.
When asked about his leadership on offense, Brissett talked about staying calm because he knows the other guys on the team are looking up to him. “In the hard times I’ve really got to step up and be able to calm the storm a lot better than I did last year,” said Brissett. As far as relationship building, Jacoby has spent countless hours on and off the field with teammates to build bonds. “With a lot of freshman coming in, the leadership of our program is vital, and I feel like it’s my job to step up and be that guy for us,” said Brissett.
If the Wolfpack want to play in Charlotte this year, Brissett will be one of the main pieces to get them there. When asked about his team’s potential to play in the ACC Championship, Brissett smiled and said “Most definitely, it’s going to happen soon.”
- Matt Dayes is on the Paul Hornung watch list. The Hornung award is given to the nation’s most versatile player.
- Jacoby Brissett is on the Maxwell Award watch list. The Maxwell award is given to College Football’s Player of the Year.
- The Wolfpack will have to replace their long snapper, holder, and place kicker this season.
- The Wolfpack lost both starting tackles to the NFL draft: Rob Crisp and Tyson Chandler. Alex Barr, Tyler Jones, and Will Richardson are returning players battling for the opening. Incoming freshmen Emanuel McGirt, Philip Walton, and Aaron Wilts and junior college transfer Daris Workman will also be in the mix.