The instincts, the hands, the size and the speed. Cornerback David Amerson has all of those attributes.
But there is one trait that most good college and NFL corners have that Amerson is missing.
"He doesn't talk much," linebacker Audie Cole said. "He stays quiet and does his job."
And his ego? With two interceptions during last Saturday's win against Virginia, the sophomore from Greensboro tied a 73-year-old school record with eight for the season and leads the country.
"He's pretty modest about it," Cole said.
Amerson will say "yes, sir," in a syrupy Piedmont drawl, but he's not ready to talk trash or brag about his season.
There is too much football to be played, and passes to be intercepted, to be worrying about his statistics.
"It's kind of overwhelming to me," Amerson said. "It's all happening pretty fast."
Amerson has been ahead of the curve in college. He started nine games as a freshman last season. He didn't have any interceptions, though.
"He was in position to make plays, he just didn't catch the ball," said Mike Reed, N.C. State's defensive backs coach. "He's making plays this year."
Size and instinct
At 6-foot-3, Amerson is tall for a corner, but he has the foot speed and hip turn, qualities a corner has to have, to play the position. He has the hands to play receiver, which he did at Dudley High, and length to play basketball, which he also did at Dudley.
"He's one of the best athletes on our team," Cole said. "He's still learning, but he's such a good athlete that he can make plays on instinct."
Amerson displayed his athletic ability against the Cavaliers. On his second-quarter interception, he made a break on the ball better than the intended receiver and snatched the pass with his fingertips before the ball could hit the ground.
The Wolfpack scored on the next play, one of three of his interceptions that have turned into touchdowns.
Clinging to a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter, Amerson took the second interception to the end zone himself to seal N.C. State's first ACC win of the season.
"I thought (the receiver) was going to catch it," Amerson said. "I was going to try to rip it out, but the ball popped up and I grabbed it."
Twelve yards later, Amerson had his first touchdown, after diving in from the 3.
Learning on the fly
N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said Amerson's success as a sophomore is a result of combination of factors, from talent to his ability to learn from mistakes.
N.C. State's trip to Wake Forest on Sept. 10 was a mess for the entire secondary. Wake Forest receivers ran free, uncovered for long stretches, and quarterback Tanner Price threw for 297 yards - all but 74 in the first half - in a 34-27 win. Amerson and N.C. State's secondary got turned around on touchdown pass by receiver Michael Campanaro off of a second-quarter reverse.
"My eyes were in the wrong place," Amerson said of the Wake Forest game. "I'm trying not to let that happen again."
Wake Forest and Georgia Tech were the only games Amerson did not have an interception. He has had two each against Liberty, Central Michigan and Virginia.
Amerson will admit some of the interceptions came because he was in the right place at the right time, but he keeps putting himself in position to be in the right place at the right time.
"I think I'm a lot smarter than I was a year ago," he said.
That's it. That's what qualifies as a brag from Amerson. He lets his play do the talking. No reason to change now.