North Carolina State needs a high-profile player who can bring it the sort of national attention that, say, Marshall Faulk brought San Diego State a couple of years ago. The Wolfpack has gone to a bowl in each of the last seven seasons, an achievement only eight teams can match. Nonetheless, N.C. State's success has gone virtually unnoticed outside the ACC because it hasn't had a player with the charisma and talent to grab the press and shake it. "We've won without having a Heisman-type player or even an ACC Player of the Year type," says coach Mike O'Cain, himself a bland sort. "We've just played very good team football."
Things shouldn't be any different this season. "We're not as experienced as we were last year," O'Cain says, "but we have talent at every position." But, alas, still no cover boy. The closest the Wolfpack comes to an attention-getting story is the saga of the Redmond brothers, guard Jonathan and center Kenneth. As a high school senior, Jonathan was the more highly regarded prospect, but he wouldn't consider a school unless it agreed to give his brother a scholarship too.
"Kenneth was smallish and not looked upon as a Division I prospect," O'Cain says. "But he's worked hard and become a good player for us. They're good ol' country boys who enjoy playing football."
So is senior quarterback Terry Harvey, one of the best two-sport athletes in N.C. State history. Although he's fifth all time in Wolfpack passing yardage, Harvey is even more impressive throwing a baseball. He has the school records for career wins and strikeouts, and he spent last summer pitching for the Cleveland Indians' Class A team in Watertown, N.Y.
As befits a team that has a pitcher at quarterback, the Wolfpack will be strong up the middle. Besides Harvey and the Redmond brothers, the offense retains 6'3", 282-pound guard Steve Keim, multidimensional fullback Rod Brown and tailback Tremayne Stephens, who averaged 6.3 yards per carry as a true freshman last season. Their presence should guarantee that N.C. State will again be Team Vanilla—effective but not electrifying.
It seems the only way this team will get recognition is to pull off a huge upset. "We haven't gotten the attention we would like," O'Cain says. "That's why we have Alabama on the schedule this year. If we win that game or beat Florida State, we'll get that recognition."