Sports

NC State’s top defensive player will skip Gator Bowl, too

N.C. State linebacker Germaine Pratt (3) hits Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman (12) as he throws during the first half of N.C. State’s game against Wake Forest at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.
N.C. State linebacker Germaine Pratt (3) hits Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman (12) as he throws during the first half of N.C. State’s game against Wake Forest at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. ehyman@newsobserver.com

N.C. State will be without either of its star No. 3 players in the Gator Bowl.

Linebacker Germaine Pratt has signed with an agent and will skip the Wolfpack’s matchup with Texas A&M in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl on Dec. 31 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Pratt and receiver Kelvin Harmon both wore the No. 3 for the Wolfpack this season and both made the All-ACC team for their respective standout seasons.

Now neither will play for the Wolfpack (9-3) in its return to Jacksonville. Harmon, a junior who led the ACC in receiving yards (1,186), announced earlier in the week he would not play in the bowl game and would enter the NFL draft.

Pratt, a senior, led the Wolfpack in tackles (104) and tackles for loss (10.5). He suffered a knee injury in N.C. State loss at Clemson on Oct. 20 but played in five of the team’s final six regular-season games.

Pratt posted a picture of him signing with agent Erik Burkhardt on his Instagram on Tuesday night. Burkhardt is also the agent for former N.C. State star Bradley Chubb, who skipped the Wolfpack’s Sun Bowl win over Arizona State last December.

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You talking business I’m wit ya

A post shared by Germaine Pratt (@gp_money3) on

Pratt did not play in N.C. State’s 34-28 overtime win at North Carolina on No. 24. Sophomore Brock Miller started in Pratt’s stead in the outside linebacker spot and had six tackles. Pratt was back for the blowout win over East Carolina and even returned a punt at one point. Miller will likely make his second career start in the bowl game.

Pratt and Harmon are a handful of Wolfpack players expected to be taken in the next NFL draft. Sixth-year senior Ryan Finley, one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft, is expected to play against the Aggies.

N.C. State is vying to win its 10th game of the season. It has reached double-digits in wins only one other time in school history. The 2002 season ended with a win in the Gator Bowl for a school-record 11th win.

This is N.C. State’s first trip back since Philip Rivers led the Wolfpack to a 28-6 win over Notre Dame in the 2003 Gator Bowl.

Joe Giglio covers N.C. State and has worked at The N&O since 1995. He has regularly reported on the ACC since 2005.


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