NC State will need to replace the 2021 team’s top wideout in Emeka Emezie. That’s clear, and it’s been a known situation since last season ended.
Thayer Thomas won’t be a one-for-one replacement for Emezie, but his sure-hands, good routes, ability to find holes in coverage, and toughness will sure make things easier on Devin Leary in 2022.
Oh, and every reception, yard, and touchdown he tallies will push his name further up the Wolfpack record books into some rarified air.
Thayer enters the season already at #7 on the career receptions list with 158. That’s 71 receptions behind Emezie, the Pack’s all-time career leader in the category. Thayer hauled in 51 passes a year ago, so with an increased role, 71 isn’t out of the realm of possibility. It’s unlikely, but not impossible. He only needs 34 receptions to pass Holt for 4th place, and with 42 receptions he’ll become just the fourth player in school history to notch 200 career receptions.
In terms of receiving yards, Thayer and his current tally of 1,842 yards (currently 14th all-time) has next to no hope of catching Holt’s career record of 3,379 yards - although if he manages to do so, I don’t think anyone would complain. If Thayer can outdo his 2021 season total by just four yards and hit an even 600 this season, he’ll pass Owen Spencer and rank 5th on the all-time list. He’ll need an 824 yard season to pass Kevlin Harmon (4th) and 1,054 yards to pass Emezie (3rd). Jerricho Cotchery is 2nd with 3,119 career receiving yards.
Thayer is already in a tie for 3rd with Jarvis Williams on the career TD receptions list with 20. With just two more TD receptions he’ll pass Cotchery for sole possession of 2nd place. Catching (and potentially passing) Holt’s record of 31 is not out of the question. That would be one heck of a year, but not impossible.
Regardless of whether Thayer can actually snag any of those top career spots, we’re still looking at player who is likely to be Top 5 all-time in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns (checked that box already) by season’s end. He’s likely to end up 2nd in both receptions and receiving touchdowns.