N.C. State’s depth at receiver continues to take a hit.
Injuries have sidelined two more receivers, redshirt freshman Brian Sessoms and freshman C.J. Riley, coach Dave Doeren said Sunday.
Sessoms tore an Achilles tendon in practice and will miss the season and Riley had a knee injury before the start of practice and will take the year to redshirt.
Before camp started, senior Jumichael Ramos was ruled out for the year with a knee injury.
That leaves senior Bra’Lon Cherry with a group of younger options. Sophomore Stephen Louis, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, is expected to help in one of the outside receiver spots.
Doeren also praised true freshman Kelvin Harmon (6-3, 196 pounds, Palmyra, N.J.).
“He has a bright future,” Doeren said. “As the game slows down, he’ll get better and better.”
There’s more experience and depth at the slot receivers with sophomore Nyheim Hines, sophomore Maurice Trowell and junior Gavin Locklear.
Trowell, who had 12 catches in a limited role last season, was singled out by Doeren as a player that needs to get more involved in the passing game.
“I think he has a tremendous skill set that we just haven’t gotten to yet,” Doeren said.
With tight end Jaylen Samuels (65 catches) and running back Matt Dayes (24 catches) doing so much on offense, N.C. State’s receivers got caught in the wash last season.
Ramos led the position group with 34 catches, for 457 yards, but dropped passes and inconsistencies were an issue for the position group as a whole.
N.C. State’s offense was geared for Dayes and Samuels last season, but the Wolfpack receivers were the least productive, in terms of percentage of catches, in the ACC.
N.C. State’s receivers accounted for 95 of the team’s 246 receptions or 38.6 percent. They were the only group in the ACC below 40 percent (see chart).
North Carolina (80.1 percent), Clemson (77.8) and Florida State (74.2) led the ACC in receiver usage. Those three teams also won the most games among ACC teams last year.
On the flip side for N.C. State, Samuels lead all ACC tight ends in catches and the addition of freshman Thadd Moss adds another option to the tight end group.
Doeren praised Moss’ maturity, his ability to pick up the offense quickly and his blocking ability. Moss (6-4, 247 pounds), out of Mallard Creek, was N.C. State’s highest-rated recruit.
“Thadd Moss has been as good as we thought he would be,” Doeren said. As long as he can continue to progress, he has a chance to play.”
Cherry is the only returning receiver on the roster who caught more than 20 passes last year. Senior Johnathan Alston had 18 catches last year, and 39 in his career, but was moved to cornerback in the spring.
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A little help?
N.C. State’s receivers weren’t very active in the passing game. The Wolfpack receivers had the lowest percentage among ACC teams of its team’s total catches.