Pack's Amerson declares for NFL draft

Coaching change a key in decision

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJanuary 17, 2013 

David Amerson’s next football game will be in the NFL. The N.C. State cornerback will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft, his father confirmed on Wednesday.

Amerson, who led the ACC in interceptions for the second straight season, entered his name by the NFL’s deadline for underclassmen on Tuesday.

Amerson leaves N.C. State with the school record for interceptions in a career (18) and in a single season (13 in 2011). His 2011 total led the country and established a new ACC record for interceptions in a season.

With the coaching change at N.C. State, Efland Amerson said his son decided he would rather jump to the NFL than start over with a new staff.

“He felt it was time to move on,” Amerson’s father said.

At the start of the 2012 season, Amerson was projected to be a high first-round pick but his stock fell after an uneven junior season.

Amerson started slow against Tennessee, giving up two long touchdown passes in the season opener, and then bottomed out in a 44-37 loss at Miami on Sept. 29. Amerson was involved in coverage in four of Miami quarterback Stephen Morris’ touchdown passes and jumped offsides on a field-goal attempt to set up another Miami touchdown.

But Amerson recovered over the final eight games of the season to share the ACC lead with five interceptions. The junior from Greensboro had a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 27-10 win over Boston College in the final regular-season game on Nov. 24.

Amerson’s father said his son had a “regular” season in 2012 after breakout performance in 2011, the most interceptions by a Division I player since 1968.

“It wasn’t a bad season,” Efland Amerson said of 2012. “He had some bad games, but it was regular season.

“If you look at his numbers, and compare it other cornerbacks, he was able to turn his season around.”

Amerson finished the season with 61 tackles and 17 passes defended. He started 35 games in his career and was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2011 and second-team in ’12.

CBS Sports projects Amerson to go between the second and fourth rounds. Amerson will prep for the draft at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., his dad said.

Amerson has a rare combination of size (6-foot-3, 194 pounds) and speed for a cornerback. His dad expects his son to improve his stock at the NFL combine.

“I think that will change quickly when scouts see his stats coming out of the combine,” Amerson said.

Amerson’s the second N.C. State defender in as many years to jump early to the NFL. Linebacker Terrell Manning was a fifth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers after coming out early last spring.

Amerson’s departure means N.C. State will have to replace three regular starters in the secondary. Dontae Johnson, who will be a senior, figures to be a leader on defense and can play either corner or safety.

Corner Juston Burris and safety Hakim Jones figure to be among the replacements counted on, both picked up valuable experience in 2012.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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