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NC State football roundup: Pharoah McKever's journey to defensive end, Bryan Underwood's new mindset, and more

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Good news, everybody! A linebacker didn't get hurt today. Well, as far as we know. Remember to keep the knee (not M.J. Salahuddin's knee specifically, just you know, knees in general) in your thoughts and prayers since somebody's obviously been slacking in that regard. I'M LOOKING AT YOU, PAL. YES YOU, YOU READING THIS SENTENCE JUST NOW.

Other, less troublesome topics:

-- SI's Andy Staples wrote a story about the way college coaches project high school talent; NC State and receiver-turned-defensive-end Pharoah McKever feature prominently.

As McKever redshirted last fall, Doeren requested a small favor. The week leading into NC State’s game against Clemson on Sept. 10, Doeren asked if McKever would simulate Tigers speed rusher Vic Beasley. McKever did, and Doeren’s suspicions were confirmed. McKever had some natural proclivity for rushing the passer.

McKever wanted to be a wide receiver, but Doeren eventually won him over, and he's put on a whole lot of weight since his high school days.

-- Good stuff here from the AP's Aaron Beard on Bryan Underwood's comeback from injury.

"I want to leave something very important that people are going to remember," he said. "That's why I worked harder, lifted better, getting my mind right, studying film differently, taking notes differently — I'm just a whole completely different person. I'm enjoying it."

Underwood is one of the reasons I'm optimistic heading into this season--I don't know if he's got another double-digit touchdown season in him, but his presence makes NC State's offense much more frightening for opponents.

-- Fox Sports Carolinas' Lauren Brownlow wrote a feature on Jacoby Brissett, who you can tell is every bit as ready for some datgone football as the rest of us.

He rolled his eyes at the mere mention of being the 2014 Wolfpack's so-called savior, though.

"It gets old talking about that. The players obviously, they hear about it and joke about it as well. But it's been players stepping up left and right, every day in camp throughout, making plays and it's pretty much making my job a lot easier," Brissett said. "It's just giving me the comfortability knowing that I have outlets that will do everything that I want them to do, what we want them to do, to just make us better."

I was impressed by how he handled his transfer year. Definitely seems to have the right attitude.

-- From The Wolfpacker's Ryan Tice, a piece on State's move to the 4-2-5. Juston Burris sounds pretty optimistic about it.

"We have a lot of defensive backs in our room, and we have a lot of young guys that will probably play because they're coming in and they're good," he said. "They have the opportunity to play. [Freshmen] Troy [Vincent], Mike [Stevens], Elliott [Davis] and [Germaine] Pratt, physically those guys are there.

"We've just got to bring them up on the defense. We have more depth this year, so we have the personnel to put five and six defensive backs on the field with no drop-off."