ACC Preseason Top 25 Players of 2012: #3, Mike Glennon

NC State’s Mike Glennon is #3 on Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 25 Players for 2012

As part of our 2012 season preview, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC for this season, from 25 to one. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective, so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.

No. 3, Mike Glennon, QB/NC State

If you go game-by-game through the 2011 season, you’ll find two different Mike Glennons. The first, through the first eight contests, showed a frustrating mix of poise and inconsistency; putting up equal parts gaudy stats and poor decision-making (sacks, interceptions). There’s also the Glennon we witnessed over the season’s final five games. Backs to the wall, the Woflpack needed three wins in the final four regular season contests in order to go bowling, and Glennon made it happen against considerable odds. Throwing more, and making better decisions when running with the football, his accuracy and efficiency sky-rocketed en route to an 8-5 record. The weighty expectations for an encore are a bonus for the senior.

It’s hard to watch an untested team and quarterback sock a previously 9-1 Clemson team right in the mouth, and not be impressed. As if they needed an encore, it’s damn-near impossible to see a 41-14 deficit be erased in a little over one quarter of football and not be in awe. Yet, both of these things happened late last season, with Glennon at the helm. Now, he’s getting Heisman hype and first-round chatter surrounding him, with little sign of letting up. It also helps that he’s seemingly risen to the occasion and embraces the lofty expectations. As he said during ACC media days this July:

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ACC 2012 Season Preview: NC State Wolfpack

Mike Glennon Directly Controls the Fate of an NC State Offensive Looking for Other Playmakers to Step Up

Team: NC State Woflpack

2011 W-L: 8-5 (4-4)

Head Coach: Tom O’Brien (33-30; five seasons)

Returning Starters: 14 (7 Offense, 7 Defense)

At the end of October last year, it appeared to be the end of the line for NC State coach Tom O’Brien. The Woflpack were 4-4, were just blown out 34-0 by Florida State, and had to win three of their final four games to make a bowl game. It would have been the third of his five seasons the team failed to reach the postseason — unacceptable for a school that does prioritize football (or virtually any school for that matter). But then, something clicked. O’Brien’s team went on a tear that would include a shutout of cross-state rival North Carolina, a shocking upset vs. Clemson and an enormous comeback against Maryland to close out the regular season. Now, O’Brien’s job is not only safe (for now), but his team is thinking much bigger than they had before.

On offense, the group is fueled by breakout QB Mike Glennon. The mastermind behind the late 2011 run, Glennon threw for 823 yards and 11 touchdowns over the final three games. Most notably, a six-TD performance (five passing, one rushing) to come back from 41-14 down to the Terps. This year, however, he’ll be missing top target T.J. Graham, so replacing him becomes one of the top priorities for fall practice. Luckily, he’ll have two seniors at his disposal — Tobais Palmer and Quintin Payton — both of whom played for the team last year, though in most-limited roles. Glennon is going to be looking to establish trust with these guys early, especially considering the question marks at running back. Senior James Washington still must prove he can step up into a leading role, while the status of the beleaguered Mustafa Greene is in flux again. For this offense to be at its best, it’ll demand a lot more out of the running game. Last year’s 104 yards-per-game (109th in FBS) won’t cut it, so someone obviously has to step up and make a severe course-correction.

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ACC Footbal 2012 Payback Games: NC State Wolfpack

NC State Will Once Again Have Its Hands Full with Florida State’s Defense

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2011. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2012.

As part of our 2012 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: NC State Wolfpack

Opponent: Florida State

Last Year: Loss, 34-0 @ Florida State

This Year: October 6, vs. Florida State

When you look at the end of NC State’s 2011 season, it’s hard to believe they were ever in danger of missing a bowl game, or were capable of being shut out by Florida State. Yet, the Pack would put up less points than Duke (who scored 16) against FSU, and manage just 166 total yards. Having no running game to speak of (ranked 109th in FBS overall in rushing average per game), and — at the time — a questionable passing attack, it was no wonder they struggled. FSU, who was only 4-3 entering the contest, was floundering entering the game after losing three of five. Instead, the win would be one of several stops on a tour of retribution, for recent poor seasons and the real-time slow start. Continue reading

ACC Football Standout Senior 2012: NC State

NC State’s Mike Glennon Has No Margin For Error, Carrying the Teams’ Hopes On His Throwing Arm

While we won’t be naive (and/or like Rick Reilly/Peter King/insert-your-own-cliched-columnist) and claim there’s some sort of pristine or pure honor in playing out your four years that other players just don’t get to experience, we’d still like to point out the senior players that are likely to stand out in 2012. These players have put in the time during their college careers, and now serve as the cornerstones of their respective teams’ potential success this season.

We’ll be going team-by-team in the ACC to identify the “standout senior” that’s key to his team, and why. Have a different thought on the matter? Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.

NC State had a one-dimensional offense last season, and that fact’s not likely to change in 2012, either. And with senior quarterback Mike Glennon at the helm, maybe it doesn’t have to. In his first stint as a start in 2011, Glennon managed to throw for over 3,000 yards and toss 31 touchdowns. He led monumental comebacks and upsets, matured throughout the year and at times, capably carried the team on his shoulders. No wonder the Wolfpack are now thinking ACC Championship Game dreams… Continue reading

NFL Draft 2012: Luke Kuechly, David Wilson, Andre Branch Among 31 ACC Players Selected

Luke Kuechly Headlines a Long List of ACC Football Players Drafted By NFL Teams This Weekend

The 2012 NFL Draft is officially in the books, after 253 selections from the NFL’s 32 franchises. In total, the ACC saw 31 players chosen in this year’s draft — 33, if you include the two draftees from Syracuse (for argument’s sake, we will here). That number — regardless of which you decide to use — puts the conference behind just the SEC and Big Ten in terms of NFL-bound talent this season. While not the only thing that counts by any means, moving players on to the NFL resonates with potential recruits, and does help all 14 schools in one way or another.

We’ve included various breakdowns below — from school-by-school, to conference comparisons, an NFL team-by-team list, as well as the full roster of ACC players chosen between Thursday and Saturday. Also, stop by later on, to see our compilation of the most confusing non-selections from the ACC. Continue reading

2012 NFL Draft Preview: NC State

NC State’s T.J. Graham Is Hoping His Breakaway Speed Gets Him Chosen Earlier Than Expected On Draft Day

Leading up to this month’s NFL Draft, we’ll be taking a look at each ACC‘s school’s prospects and where they’re slated to be chosen. While 43 ACC players were invited to the NFL Draft Combine, those not in attendance also have ample opportunity to hear their name called between April 26 and 28.

Playmakers on both sides of the ball departed NC State this offseason, yet the departures followed long, productive careers with the Woflpack. Of course the team will miss every key contributor named below, but the team is as prepared to move on without them as the players are ready to get to the NFL.

Audie Cole, LB, Senior

Cole’s got great size to be an NFL linebacker — 6’4″, 246 pounds, he’s got an athletic, solid build with experience manning both the inside and outside linebacker positions. While his numbers have read spotty at the Combine, those who’ve seen him in game action are far more complimentary and see him as an instinctive talent. As a standout tackler, he was one of several anchors for a Woflpack defense that truly came on come the end of the 2011 season. If we’re going on smarts and his ability to learn an NFL system quickly, Cole could be drafted in the third or fourth round by a team employing a 3-4 scheme.

Terrell Manning, LB, Junior

Manning was a machine at NC State, ranking among the league’s best tacklers these past couple seasons. Instinctive, quick and incredibly aggressive, scouts are torn on whether those intangibles can make up for a highly undersized 6’3″, 224-pound frame. Should he add muscle weight in the lead-up to the Draft, it would likely please the naysayers, especially with his high scores already in terms of strength. As much as some see his shorter arms as a potential issue translating to the pro game, Manning’s never shown it to be an issue getting involved in pass- or run-defense. His mainstream evaluation is flawed however, so he may fall as far as the fifth round before being selected. Continue reading

Far-Too-Early 2012 ACC Power Rankings (March 19)

Mike Glennon and NC State May Have the Right Pieces for a Surprise ACC Title Run

Spring practices are under way, and with that comes another installment of our early power rankings for the entirety of the ACC. Taken into account are the known variables — which will inherently change several times between now and kickoff weekend. This will be revised monthly throughout the offseason.

1. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 1): Running game be damned, FSU will still sport an explosive attack in 2012 behind quarterback E.J. Manuel. To boot, they’ve got nine starters returning from a defense that allowed just 15 points per game last season. With a manageable schedule, it’s tough to bet against the Seminoles as (at least) BCS contenders.

2. Clemson Tigers (LW: 2): If any team could get in Florida State’s way, however, it would be Atlantic Division foe the Clemson Tigers. Already explosive on offense, the Tigers brought in former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables to fix the unit’s terrible fundamentals. Should he succeed, this team becomes one of the nation’s most frightening.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies (LW: 3): The 2012 edition of the Hokies may lean on their defense even more so than normal. With standout rusher David Wilson declaring for the draft, the offense becomes a one-man show guided by versatile quarterback Logan Thomas. He’ll need the defensive assist as they develop the weapons around him early in the year.

4. NC State Wolfpack (LW: 4): Hype is growing for Mike Glennon and the ‘Pack, and rightfully so. The team is up against a very manageable slate in 2012, and a slew of returning starters on both ends. If any receiver effectively replaces T.J. Graham, opposing defenses will be in for a rude awakening come fall. Continue reading