There are a lot of good football players that will take the field for NC State this fall. The group making up the defensive line is probably the most exciting, while Jaylen Samuels has received preseason All-American honors from some publications and Airius Moore is back to lead a linebacker group that could one of the stronger ones in the conference. One position that hasn’t been talked about much though is wide receiver, and I think that could be a little unjust.
Receiver is an area where State has bounced around from okay to pretty darn bad under Doeren, with the 2015 being the low point. Thanks to some strong recruiting and development though, 2016 was a much better year and this season should almost certainly have the best receiving corps since some point in the O’Brien era.
2016 saw the rise of Kelvin Harmon and Stephen Louis, both of whom are back for their sophomore and redshirt junior seasons, respectively. In week two, Louis had the first 100 yard receiving game from an actual wide receiver since September 2014, a feat he would accomplish twice more that season. Despite Louis leading the team in receiving last year, it’s actually Harmon who has the most buzz around him heading into the year. He didn’t make an impact in every game of his freshman campaign, but we saw plenty of flashes from him.
Harmon could be the playmaker at receiver that the Pack has been dying for. When was the last time State had a wideout who did stuff like this?
The sophomore is a sleeper All-conference pick. I do believe that. Perhaps I’ve consumed way too much metaphorical kool-aid heading into this season, but I’ve seen what he can do and think he’ll really emerge as a star this season.
These are types of receivers State has been missing. Big athletes with big catch radii that make life easier for quarterbacks. They’re here now. Get excited.
Louis and Harmon definitely headline this year’s group, but the return of redshirt senior Jumichael Ramos gives the pack another big athletic receiver. Ramos redshirted last season with an injury after being the most productive true receiver in 2015. He’ll likely be third in the pecking order, which is a testament to how State has improved here in the past two years.