Matt Dayes will headline the running back position this season for the Pack. That’s really good, because Dayes is really good. He would have left 1000 yards in the dust last season if not for his season ending injury just before halftime of the Clemson game. Now the star running back returns for his senior season and it could be a monster one.
Dayes was averaging 6.5 yard per carry last season and was on pace for almost 1500 yards total. Now those numbers might be a little skewed because of early cupcake teams on the schedule like South Alabama, but they’re still pretty impressive. Similar rushing numbers throughout all of next season would be huge for an offense with a lot of questions in the passing game and it could land Dayes on an All-ACC team.
After Dayes, the biggest talking point at running back is redshirt freshman Johnny Frasier. According to 247sports, Frasier is the highest rated recruit Doeren has signed at NC State. He was committed to Florida State and had a legitimate Alabama offer before he signed with the Pack, which gives an idea of just how touted he was in high school. Frasier came into a loaded backfield in Raleigh and was a little overweight, which resulted in the redshirt. By the end of the year though, the reports of his progress made it clear he was ready to be on the field. He collected scout team offensive MVP along with some serious praise from his coaches.
Dayes, Frasier, and sophomore back Reggie Gallaspy will be the three that receive the bulk of the carries out of the backfield. Gallaspy played here and there last season until he was forced into a bigger role as a result of injuries. He went for 81 and 77 in the final two games of the regular season against Syracuse and Chapel Hill. Despite not being as touted out of high school as Johnny Frasier, the live game action Gallaspy saw last season gives him a little bit of a leg up. Both Gallaspy and Frasier are bigger than Dayes and offer a little more power in their running styles, which could complement the senior nicely.
Dakwa Nichols enters his redshirt junior season after also entering a larger role last season as a result of injuries. Given the players he’s competing with, it’s difficult to see Nichols making a huge impact in the running game this season.
Running back is deep and oozing with talent in 2016. Aside from maybe Jaylen Samuels, it’s easily the offensive position in the best shape heading into 2016.
Other positions previewed: QB