NC State's Wolff emerging from the shadows at the right time

csmith@newsobserver.comMarch 21, 2013 

N.C. State's Earl Wolff (27) tackles Tennessee's Rajion Neal (20) during the first half of N.C. State's game against Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game Friday, August 31, 2012, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.


— Earl Wolff was never the biggest, fastest or most popular player for N.C. State during his four years, but between his combine and his pro day on Wednesday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium, he has emerged as a potential middle-round pick in late April in the NFL Draft.

Wolff walked around on the sidelines after his position drills joking with his former teammates and coaches like Buffalo Bills wide receiver T.J. Graham and former offensive coordinator Dana Bible. At one point, he showed off the t-shirt that he had worn during his workouts – which had his last name spelled incorrectly as “Wolfe.”

Despite posting the best broad jump (11’2”), second-best 40-yard dash (4.44 seconds), and fourth-best vertical jump (39.0 inches) among all safeties at the combine, Wolff, the consummate leader, said he came back to enjoy his pro day more for others than for him.

“Honestly my reason for wanting to come out here was to keep the guys motivated,” Wolff said. “C.J. (Wilson), Mario (Carter), a lot of seniors and guys who are working out here, just to keep them motivated and hope and pray that they do well.”

While most of the cameras and interviews on Wednesday focused on Mike Glennon and David Amerson, Wolff has been making noise amongst scouts and draft experts since his combine workout.

Mike Detillier, a draft expert who releases the M&D Draft Report each season leading up to the draft, said the 40-yard dash time was the biggest shock for most scouts who attended the combine.

“That certainly helped him out the most, not because 40 times mean you can play football better, but because people hadn’t seen that from him,” Detillier said. “He’s been a productive player, a great reader and what I like about him is his leadership skills and his toughness. But I’ve got to be honest with you, the way he ran – now that surprised even me.

“I never saw that kind of speed in him playing at N.C. State, so you’re impressed with what he brings to the table.”

With a plethora of team scouts from teams like the Jets, Bills, Jaguars and even the nearby Panthers, Wolff showcased his vertical jump again, posting a 36.0-inch leap, a shade under his best at the combine.

Moving forward after his pro day, Wolff said the road doesn’t end there. He will be meeting with five separate teams in Raleigh to have individual workouts with each of them where he plans to show that he deserves to be on each team’s list when it comes time for the draft.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m just trying to move up on the draft board ... they’re just trying to work me out and get to know me more. They just want to get to know me as a person – I’m pretty sure that will go pretty well.”

Smith: 919-829-4841; Twitter: @RCorySmith

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