N.C. State's freshmen won't have to carry load

Staff WriterAugust 11, 2011 

— A year ago, with starting left tackle Jake Vermiglio suspended, N.C. State turned to true freshman Robert Crisp as the starter in the Wolfpack's opener against Western Carolina.

All told, there were five true freshmen on N.C. State's two-deep depth chart when training camp ended last year, including eventual starting cornerback David Amerson and leading rusher Mustafa Green.

This year, The Wolfpack is relying on a trio of true freshmen special-teams players -- kicker Niklas Sade, punter Wil Baumann and long-snapper Scott Thompson -- but N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said Wednesday that if all goes well, there won't be any others this year.

"As of today, I would say no," O'Brien said. "After the first scrimmage, we're really happy with the freshman class, and we're finally to a point where we don't have to count on them, where they can redshirt and get themselves academically better off after one year without all the pressures of playing in the games. Now, that doesn't mean a week from now I won't change my mind, but right now, at this point, it's a good freshman class, it rates up there with any of the freshman classes we've had, but now we've got some depth in the program and we don't have to count on them."

Community-Service honors: N.C. State tight end Asa Watson and North Carolina safety Matt Merletti have been nominated for the AllState AFCA Good Works Team for their community service contributions.

A panel consisting of former college coaches, players and media will select the final team in September.

J.P. Giglio

Ohio State: The NCAA investigation into the football program has cost the athletic department about $800,000 so far, athletics director Gene Smith confirmed Wednesday.

Ohio State goes before the NCAA's committee on infractions this Friday.

Penn State: Joe Paterno returned to practice with his right arm in a sling, following an injury received during practice on Sunday.

Paterno injured his shoulder and pelvis after a receiver blindsided him during drills Sunday

Florida: Top recruit, freshman tight end A.C. Leonard injured his left knee and could be out for the season.

Leonard had arthroscopic surgery Wednesday.

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