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NC State players climbing the record books in 2021

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A look at a few places where guys have a chance to etch their name in the record books

North Carolina State v Georgia Tech Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Passing

Devin Leary enters the year at #21 on the career passing yards list in NC State history with 2,109 yards, exactly 400 yards behind Johnny Evans at #20 and 525 yards behind his 2020 teammate Bailey Hockman for #19. A 2,500 yard season would vault Leary into 9th place on the list (currently occupied by Erik Kramer with 4,602 yards). Leary would need 3,160 yards to pass Jacoby Brissett for 8th place and another 30 yards to pass Shane Montgomery for 7th. Terry Harvey sits at #6 with 5,925 yards.

Leary enters the 2021 season tied with Bruce Shaw for #19 on the career passing TDs list with 16. He’s just 6 TD passes shy of 10th place Dave Buckey and 15 TD passes behind Montgomery for 8th place on the list. Harvey is currently in 7th with 38 TDs and Jacoby Brissett is in 6th with 43.

Rushing

Zonovan Knight enters 2021 in the top 20 of career rushing yards at 19th with 1,533 yards. Ricky Person is currently in 26th with 1,343 yards. A 1,000 yard season from Knight would propel him past Willie Burden (fantastic running back, even better name) and into the top 10 of the list. Knight is 1,043 yards shy of Anthony Barbour for 6th place. Person is 1,187 yards away from reaching the top 10, although keeping in mind that Knight is already ahead of him on the list, he may need an extra 10 yards on that to pass Andre Brown (currently #9).

Knight comes in tied with a pair of QBs, Roman Gabriel and Jamie Barnette, for #21 on the career rushing TDs list with 15 ground scores. (Side note: The NC State record book for some reason doesn’t include rushing scores by QBs). Eight rushing scores would put him into the top 10 and into a tie with Tremayne Stephens and Gary Downs for #8 on the list. He is 13 scores behind Jaylen Samuels for #7. Person, who currently has nine career rushing scores, would need to double that career number to enter the Top 15.

Receiving

This is where we have a real chance of seeing a new career leader. Emeka Emezie enters 2021 with the fifth most career receptions at 169. JaySam is the career leader with 201. In each of the last three seasons, Emezie has topped the 33 receptions needed to take the career record.

Emezie also enters the season at #7 on the career receiving yards list with 2,093 yards, just (“just”) 1,286 yards behind Torry Holt’s record of 3,379. Granted, that would require Emezie to top his previous single-season high of 738 yards (set last year) by over 500 yards to make it happen, but there’s still a possibility he could do it.

Elsewhere on the career receiving yards list, Thayer Thomas currently ranks #27 with 1,246 yards. He needs 669 yards to pass Koren Robinson for #10 on the list. A 1,000 yard season would put Thayer just a single yard behind Nasrallah Worthen, who is currently one spot ahead of Emezie on the list. Devin Carter enters the season with 944 career receiving yards, good for #42.

Emezie enters the year tied with Bryan Peterson for 13th on the career receiving TDs list with 13 TDs. Thayer is hot on his trail with 12, which puts him in a five-way tie for 15th with Jimmy Grissett, Tramain Hall, TJ Graham, and Cary Angeline. Holt is virtually impossible to pass in the #1 spot with his 31 TDs, but Jerricho Cotchery’s hold on the #2 spot with 21 TDs is very much in jeopardy.

Scrimmage Yards

Emezie currently ranks #25 in program history in yards from scrimmage with 2,098. Knight is #41 on the list with 1,714 yards. Andre Brown currently ranks #10 on the list with 3,170 yards, just 5 yards behind Willie Burden for 9th place. Ted Brown is first on the list with an unreal 5,362 yards.

Ted Brown and Andre Brown also hold those same spots for career TDs from scrimmage, Ted in 1st with 51 and Andre in a tie with Gary Downs for 10th with 24. Knight is in a seven-way tie for 28th on the list with 15. Emezie (13) is tied for 38th and Thayer (12) is tied for 44th.

Defense

Isaiah Moore enters 2021 with 216 total tackles to his career tally. Breaking into the Top 10 would take some serious work as Oliver Hoyte currently occupies that position with 342 career tackles, but the #15 spot (shared by Mark Franklin and Terrence Holt) of 315 stops is attainable. For those wondering, Payton Wilson has 177 career tackles entering the season.

Moore also enters the season with 22.5 career tackles-for-loss. Bradley Chubb holds the career record with 60, and Pat Thomas is currently at #10 with 37. To break into the Top 15, Moore would need to top the 31 career TFL that Darian Roseboro and Corey Smith both reached. Wilson has 15.5 career TFL and Drake Thomas has 13.5.

Daniel Joseph tallied 6.5 sacks in his first year in the Red and White. Chubb also holds this career mark at 26.0. Joseph would need to tie or best Ray Agnew and George Anderson’s career marks of 17.0 sacks to break into the Top 10 in this category.

Kicking

Christopher Dunn is already NC State’s career leader in field goals made, but needs just 13 attempts to pass Niklas Sade for the top spot on that list. Dunn is just 42 points behind Sade for the career points leader. He also trails Sade in extra points made by 45 and extra point attempts by 50.

Trenton Gill is already the career leader in punting average with 46.3 yards per boot. In terms of career punting yards, he is currently 12th on the all time list with 4,997. Let’s all hope he doesn’t move much further up that list, although he is just 140 yards away from moving into the top 10 on the list, which he could basically do in three punts, so I suppose we can be okay with that happening.