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NC State’s Incoming Defensive Class 2024

NC State Defensive class

The NC State Wolfpack has made waves with multiple big-name offensive signings in the off-season. These include Grayson McCall, Jordan Waters, and Noah Rogers. However, the Wolfpack has been quieter in the defensive class. Despite this, there are still some new faces coming to Raleigh in 2024, and three are poised to make an immediate impact.

NC State Defensive Class of 2024: Freshman Signings

On Defense, the Wolfpack has two major concerns: linebacker and defensive line. Losing future NFL linebacker Payton Wilson will be difficult for NC State. C.J. Clark also leaves a large hole at the defensive tackle position.

At the linebacker position, NC State has acquired a big signing, getting the number one-ranked linebacker in the state of Tennessee. Elijah Groves also ranks as the seventh linebacker in the class of 2024. Groves is a four-star recruit who played linebacker, and receiver, and even had return duties. He is a hard-hitting linebacker with phenomenal athleticism and is quick enough to compete in both the pass and run game. In his senior season, Groves played multiple positions, amassing 15 tackles for losses, four interceptions, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions returned for touchdowns. He also tallied 624 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns on offense. Tony Gibson could have Groves rotate in as a linebacker, and he could also see snaps at other positions early in his Wolfpack career.

At defensive line, NC State has signed three three-star recruits. Joshua Alexander-Felton picked up 22 tackles for loss in his senior season.  Chase Bond is an Ohio native who received offers from Michigan State and Temple. Justin Terrell had a strong junior campaign and also participated in track and field. All three linemen have great size and strength. Gibson will probably need to utilize them early, as only Red Hibbler and Davin Vann have starting spots locked down.

NC State Defensive Class of 2024: Transfers

This far into the 2024 recruiting campaign, every defensive transfer for NC State is a defensive back. The Wolfpack have signed three cornerbacks and one safety, and all are rated as three-star recruits.

At Safety, Auburn transfer Donovan Kaufman comes in after playing in 12 games last season. Kaufman brings a veteran presence, good tackling ability, and a knack for finding the football. Kaufman totaled 37 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss while hauling in an interception and two fumble recoveries. He also spent time at Vanderbilt before transferring to Auburn, so he will likely stay with the Wolfpack for the remainder of his college career.

Despite the Wolfpack corner room being led by the standout Aydan White, they have added some solid depth players at the position. Tamarcus Cooley is a Raleigh native who appeared in four games for Maryland as a freshman in 2023. He is joined by Corey Coley Jr., who also is transferring from Maryland. Coley Jr. is an incoming senior who appeared in 12 games in each of the last two years. While Coley Jr. had two passes defended last season, neither player was a significant contributor at Maryland. Devon Marshall from Villanova has the best stat sheet of the three, with 47 tackles and 11 pass breakups in his 2023 season. However, Marshall is the only cornerback coming from an FCS school so it is to be seen if his prowess can transfer to the ACC level.

NC State Defense: Recruiting Outlook

The Wolfpack has found some pieces to replace the depth lost to the draft and the transfer portal. Groves is the most highly touted recruit of the bunch, but each has the ability to contribute early in their Wolfpack careers. Groves and Kaufman will likely find themselves playing significant snaps to start the season. Marshall, Cooley, and Coley Jr. will also have to rotate into cornerback positions, while the three defensive linemen will find their footing as the season progresses.

As recruiting comes to a close, the Wolfpack defense has a few questions to answer. The Defense struggled mightily against the run against Kansas State without Wilson at linebacker. Between the incoming freshman, the transfer players, and the returning roster, the Wolfpack defense needs to find ways to replace the lost production.


NC State Defensive class
Photo courtesy:  Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


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