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NC State’s David J. Grinnage enters NFL draft

N.C. State's David J. Grinnage (86) hurdles over Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley (25) during the second half of Clemson's 56-41 victory over N.C. State at Carter-Finley Stadium in October.
N.C. State's David J. Grinnage (86) hurdles over Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley (25) during the second half of Clemson's 56-41 victory over N.C. State at Carter-Finley Stadium in October. ehyman@newsobserver.com

David J. Grinnage has NFL size and made some catches this season for N.C. State that looked worthy of an NFL tight end. The fourth-year junior has decided to skip his final college season and enter the NFL draft.

Grinnage made the decision official on Wednesday but he went into the 2015 season with the intention of it being his last at N.C. State. The 6-5, 265-pounder caught 25 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns in an uneven and, at times, curious junior season.

Grinnage, who is from Newark, Del., had his best games against the best teams on N.C. State’s schedule. He had seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in a 56-41 loss to No. 1 Clemson on Oct. 1. He finished a 34-17 loss at No. 9 Florida State on Nov. 14 with seven catches for 63 yards.

In the other 11 games, he had 11 catches and didn’t have any in three games. N.C. State coach Dave Doeren was jokingly asked after Grinnage’s standout performance against Clemson if the big tight end was in the witness protection program.

It will be tough to leave my Wolfpack teammates but I feel that this is the right decision for me and my family at this time.

NC State tight end David J. Grinnage, who will enter the NFL draft, in a statement released by the school on Wednesday

Grinnage had five catches in the first seven games of the season and no more than one in any of those games. Grinnage, who missed last spring with a back injury, never publicly complained about his lack of involvement in the offense.

“You have to do what you have to do for your team,” Grinnage said after the Clemson game. “Other players are out there making plays, you can’t get frustrated. When your time comes, your time comes and that’s when you have to step up and make plays.”

Grinnage finished the season with three touchdown catches, two coming in the regular-season finale against North Carolina. He had 27 catches for 358 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore in 2014.

“It will be tough to leave my Wolfpack teammates but I feel that this is the right decision for me and my family at this time,” Grinnage said in a statement released by the school on Wednesday.

While Grinnage’s role declined in the offense in 2015, sophomore Jaylen Samuels earned All-ACC honors at tight end and led the team with 65 catches for 597 yards. Grinnage plays more of a traditional tight end than Samuels, who took most of his snaps as a wing back or running back.

N.C. State will have Samuels back next season and moved sophomore Pharoah McKever from defensive end to tight end before the bowl game. McKever, who’s 6-6 and 260 pounds, caught an 82-yard touchdown in the bowl loss to Mississippi State.

Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

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