RALEIGH — Running back Tony Creecy is expected to return to the starting lineup against Miami but that doesn’t mean freshman Shadrach Thornton will return to the depths of the bench.
N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien said both Creecy, who missed Saturday’s 52-14 win over The Citadel last Saturday with an undisclosed injury, and Thornton, who ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns in his college debut, will play against the Hurricanes.
“We are going into the week with Creecy and Thornton and we’ll see where the week ends up,” O’Brien said Monday.
Thornton, a true freshman, started the season at fifth on the depth chart but worked his way up to starter last week with Creecy and James Washington out with injuries. Mustafa Greene missed his second straight game with a suspension.
Thornton’s second on the depth chart, behind Creecy, who has 130 yards on 31 carries in three games.
O’Brien did not provide an update on Greene, who has rushed for 101 yards in two games, including one start.
O’Brien said Creecy could have been used in case of emergency against The Citadel but Thornton’s play eliminated any need to risk Creecy’s health.
Thornton impressed O’Brien with both his toughness and running ability.
“Maybe we found something in Shadrach,” O’Brien said. “Certainly what he showed Saturday, he could be a pretty dang good running back.”
CB WILSON ELIGIBLE TO RETURN: Senior cornerback C.J. Wilson will make his season debut on Saturday against the Hurricanes after serving a four-game academic suspension from the NCAA.
Wilson, who graduated last December, did not complete enough credit hours during the spring semester. He will be used in nickel situations, with corner Dontae Johnson moving inside, O’Brien said Monday.
Wilson, a three-year starter, has remained upbeat throughout the suspension, O’Brien said, helping with the scout team for the past four weeks.
“He has done everything we have asked of him, and now it’s his time to hopefully help us win football games,” O’Brien said.
Safety Brandan Bishop said Wilson is happy to have the suspension behind him.
“I know he’s pumped up and he’ll be ready to go,” Bishop said. “He has been staying focused and working hard and he’ll be fine. He’ll be good for us this week.”
INJURY UPDATE ON THURSDAY: With four nonconference games to open the season, N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien has not been required to provide injury updates, and he has not. O’Brien has declined to identify the injuries to running back Creecy and Washington and left tackle Rob Crisp.
O’Brien said he will observe the league guideline on injury reports and provide an update on Thursday.
Crisp, who started the opener against Tennessee, has missed the past three games. He was not listed in the depth chart on Monday.
“He’s in a situation if he can get on the practice field and practice, then he will play,” O’Brien said. “If he can’t, then he will be on the injury report on Thursday.”