Who are the recruits who can make an impact on the field for Wolfpack in 2019?
N.C. State enters 2019 in a pivotal transition year, with head coach Dave Doeren having to replace seven offensive starters and needing to improve a defense that struggled mightily against the pass in 2019.
Doeren has recruited very well at N.C. State, bringing in the 29th best recruiting class in the nation in 2019 and several players from the class have a chance to make a big impact this season.
Last year, it was the quartet of running back Ricky Person Jr., safety Tanner Ingle, kicker Chris Dunn and defensive lineman Alim McNeil that burst onto the scene for Doeren, making an impact in their freshman campaigns.
Person rushed for 471 yards and scored five total touchdowns, while Ingle was sixth on the team in tackles and started several games. Both project to be starters at their position in 2019. McNeil had 14 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He has a chance to breakthrough on the Wolfpack’s talented offensive line.
And who can forget Dunn, who connected on 23 of 26 field goal attempts, completely transforming the Wolfpack’s kicking game.
So who will it be this year? Which recruits from the 2019 class can have an instant impact on the 2019 season?
RB Zonovan Knight – 4-star
Knight made a statement in the 2019 Kay Yow Spring Game, rushing for 139 yards and a touchdown and adding another 26 receiving yards. He showed off elite speed and play-making ability. In the post Reggie Gallaspy II era, Knight has an opportunity to gobble up carries in the Wolfpack backfield.
Sophomore Ricky Person earned 112 carries as a freshman and that’s only in nine games as he missed four due to injuries. Person will likely be the workhorse but there is plenty to go around and with Knight’s abilities, he could easily hit 200 carries this season.
Knight was a four-star prospect that chose N.C. State over offers from Tennessee, UNC and Duke.
QB Bailey Hockman – 3 star JUCO
Hockman will not be a freshman in 2019, instead transferring from Hutchinson Community College after starting his career at Florida State. Still, he could be the biggest impact recruit of any, considering he could be the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback.
Hockman is in the thick of a three-headed quarterback competition that will determine how competitive the Wolfpack can be in the Atlantic Division.
Hockman was a four-star quarterback coming out of high school, ranked as the No. 11 pro style quarterback in the nation (his competitor, Matt McKay was the 29th ranked pro-style quarterback in the class). He chose Florida State but was unable to beat out Deondre Francois and James Blackman and ultimately transferred out.
We won’t know Hockman’s impact until a quarterback is chosen and the season plays out but he’s in Raleigh with a chance to be a starter for the foreseeable future for N.C. State.
LS Joe Shimko – 2-star
Nothing is more exciting than talking about the Wolfpack’s long snapper situation but heck it’s July and we’re going for it. The long-snapper is someone that fans rarely know about unless they mess up. And the fact that you probably can’t name who Shimko could replace tells you how good Tyler Griffiths was at the position.
Shimko was a two-star recruit out of high school, ranked as the No. 5 long snapper in the nation by 247Sports.
He will battle redshirt junior Jackson Quiggle for the position, but it’s easy to see a path into the starting lineup and if he can earn the starting spot as a freshman, it’s likely he’ll hold that position all four years.
Not as exciting as running back or quarterback but darn important moving forward. The long snapper battle will be an important part of the 2019 Wolfpack.