Pharoah McKever made some of the biggest plays for N.C. State’s football team during Dave Doeren’s tenure.
The 6-6 senior tight end from Tabor City would like a chance to make more, so he’ll transfer for his final season.
McKever will graduate from N.C. State next month and play elsewhere for the 2017 season, the school announced. He has been released by N.C. State to transfer to any school that does not play the Wolfpack this season. As a graduate transfer, he is eligible under NCAA rules to play without sitting out a season.
“I just want to thank Coach Doeren, the staff, my teammates and Wolfpack Nation for four memorable years,” McKever said in a statement released by the school. “I’ve enjoyed my time here and will always consider this home. I just decided that I wanted to spend my last season somewhere that I can play a bigger role on the field.”
McKever, a quarterback in high school, began his career at receiver and then switched to defensive end in the middle of his second season in 2014. His 82-yard interception return for a touchdown at Syracuse on Nov. 1, 2014 led the Wolfpack to a 24-17 win and helped break a 12-game ACC losing streak. It was Doeren’s first conference win.
McKever moved back to tight end at the end of the 2015 season and caught an 82-yard touchdown pass in a 51-28 loss to Mississippi State in the Belk Bowl.
Last season, McKever mainly played special teams his blocked punt in the fourth quarter was returned for a touchdown and lifted N.C. State to a 10-3 home win over Notre Dame.
Offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz did try to get one more big play to McKever at the end of regulation at Clemson. N.C. State’s last play in regulation was designed for McKever in the end zone but Clemson’s pass rush disrupted the play.
On the season, McKever only played 19 snaps on offense in five games, although he did start the Clemson game. With senior Cole Cook and sophomore Thaddeus Moss ahead of him at the traditional tight end spot, and senior Jaylen Samuels at a hybrid tight end spot, McKever would have been in a similar reserve role this season.
“We wish Pharoah the best and are proud that he is an NC State alum,” Doeren said in a statement released by the school. “He will always be a member of the Wolfpack family.”
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio