2017 N.C. State football season preview

2016 season: 7-6, 3-5 in the ACC (T-4th in the Atlantic Division)

Head coach: Dave Doeren (5th season)

The hype train is roaring into Raleigh.

The Wolfpack are not yet ranked, but they accumulated the fifth-most votes of any team that missed out on a spot in the preseason top 25 and have been floated as a possible dark horse for a spot in this year's College Football Playoff.

And the excitement around N.C. State football is with good reason. Redshirt junior Ryan Finley will be back under center after throwing for 18 touchdowns and completing more than 60 percent of his passes following his transfer from Boise State. 

But the Wolfpack have a number of other offensive weapons that should only elevate Finley's play. H-back Jaylen Samuels was named a second-team preseason All-American and can do it all,  playing out of the backfield and as a wideout. Although N.C. State will be replacing running back Matthew Dayes, expect reserve quarterback Jalan McClendon to help in the ground game when the Wolfpack utilize their wildcat formation.

Where N.C. State will likely excel, however, is on the defensive side of the ball. Bradley Chubb, a 6-foot-4 senior defensive end, is a first-team preseason All-American and racked up 10.5 sacks along with 22 tackles for loss as a junior. The Wolfpack will need to be ready in Week 1 when they take on South Carolina in Charlotte, N.C., but they should benefit from hosting both No. 5 Clemson and No. 16 Louisville despite having to go on the road to play No. 3 Florida State and Notre Dame.

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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