ACC: David Akinniyi

NC State hands out team awards

March, 23, 2011
NC State held its annual awards dinner on Tuesday evening since most of last year’s seniors were in town for Wednesday's pro day workouts.

Quarterback Russell Wilson was named the recipient of the 2010 football squad’s Governor’s Award, given to the member of the Wolfpack football team who is the most valuable player based on ability, contribution, leadership and intangibles. Wilson, who was also named the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Back and earned a Captain’s Award, did not attend the event, as he is in spring training in Arizona.

The Governor’s Award is the only honor that is voted on by the entire team. The other awards are decided by the coaching staff.

Here were some of the other awards that were presented at the dinner, according to a press release:

CAREY BREWBAKER AWARD -- Most Valuable Defensive Lineman

Natanu Mageo -- Force from his defensive tackle spot who was called a "blue-collar" player by the coaching staff.


Earl Wolff -- Third-leading tackler on the team.


Nate Irving -- Tied as leading tackler on team, led Pack with 20.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks

JIM RITCHER AWARD -- Most Valuable Offensive Lineman (includes tight end)

Jake Vermiglio -- Honorable mention All-ACC performer who didn’t allow a sack until the last game of the season.


Taylor Gentry -- Won the award for the second time; he led the team in special-teams tackles (28), knockdowns (17) and snaps (271).


Russell Wilson -- Led the ACC in passing yards per game and total offense per game and tied for seventh nationally in points responsible for.

MIKE HARDY AWARD -- Player who demonstrates a winning attitude and plays above his capabilities.

Jarvis Williams -- Finished his career ranked fifth in school history in career receptions.

BO REIN AWARD -- Player who makes a vital contribution in an unsung role

George Bryan (TE) -- Earned first-team All-ACC honors for the second straight season.

BOB WARREN AWARD -- Integrity and Sportsmanship

David Akinniyi (DT) -- Quiet player who led by example and earned a starting role in his one season with the Pack

AL MICHAELS AWARD -- Player who puts team before self

Audie Cole (LB) -- Tied for the team lead in tackles with 97.

KEN McNEILL IRON WOLF AWARD – Greatest comeback from injury

Nate Irving (LB) -- Missed the 2009 season after suffering multiple injuries in a horrific car crash and went on to earn All-ACC honors.

EARLE EDWARDS AWARD -- Letterman with highest GPA

David Akinniyi (DE) -- Posted a 3.816 GPA as a business major.

GARY ROWE AWARD -- Most season receptions

Owen Spencer -- Pulled down 60 catches in 2010 to lead the team, he was a second-team All-ACC performer


Russell Wilson, Jarvis Williams, Nate Irving -- Voted on by their teammates prior to the season.



Fresh faces: NC State

July, 23, 2010
Here's a look at three Wolfpack players who could make names for themselves this fall:

DE David Akinniyi: He has found a football home again after Northeastern cut its program in November. Akinniyi, who enrolled in January, is expected to start and has one year of eligibility remaining. He was a three-year starter at Northeastern as a defensive end and linebacker. He had 40 tackles, including 12.5 for loss, and four sacks last year. He had two tackles for losses against BC last year.

RB Mustafa Greene: He rushed for 1,367 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging nine yards per carry last year at Irmo (S.C.) High. He also caught six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown. With the lack of experience at running game, the door is open for a rookie like Greene to see some snaps.

OL Robert Crisp: He's expected to contribute immediately, as he was rated the No. 5 offensive lineman in his class by He started at right tackle for the East team in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He recorded 75 pancake blocks during his senior season.

More fresh faces:

NC State spring wrap

May, 7, 2010

2009 overall record: 5-7

2009 conference record: 2-6

Returning starters

Offense: 7; Defense 5; Punter/Kicker 1

Top returners

QB Russell Wilson, WR Owen Spencer, OT Jake Vermiglio, LB Nate Irving, PK Josh Czajkowski, TE George Bryan, WR Jarvis Williams, LB Dwayne Maddox, LB Audie Cole

Key losses

C Ted Larsen, HB Toney Baker, DE Willie Young, DT Alan Michael Cash, CB DeAndre Morgan, LB Ray Michel

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Baker (773 yards)

Passing: Wilson* (3,027 yds)

Receiving: Ja. Williams* (547 yds)

Tackles: Cole* (73)

Sacks: Young (8)

Interceptions: C. Johnson (2)

Spring answers

1. Wilson will be back, but Mike Glennon is a capable starter. Starter Russell Wilson missed all of spring football to play baseball, but his season didn’t quite take the turn he had probably hoped, as Wilson wasn’t a starter. In his absence, Glennon impressed coach Tom O’Brien and completed 21 of 38 passes for 423 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the Pack’s spring game. As long as Wilson picks up where he left off in 2009, it should be his job to lose.

2. Irving is back and can play. After missing last season with injuries he sustained in a serious 2009 summer car accident, it was unclear how much Irving would be able to contribute this spring. He moved to middle linebacker and eased his way back into full participation and played in half of the spring game.

3. Defensive linemen emerging. Even though all four starters from last year’s defensive line graduated, there was enough talent there this spring for optimism. Darryl Cato-Bishop, David Akinniyi, and Brian Slay impressed the staff. Their success is critical, as both J.R. Sweezy and Markus Kuhn are facing disciplinary action.

Fall questions

1. Who will run the ball? For the first time since 2005, NC State doesn’t have a running back with any starting experience. Brandon Barnes broke his ankle, and the competition is now between Curtis Underwood, who redshirted last year, and James Washington, who played in six games as a true freshman last year.

2. Punter, please. Nobody on the team has ever punted in a game situation. Chris Ward was the likely top option , but he was suspended for the spring and possibly the fall.

3. How much can the defense improve? With Irving back and former Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta coaching the linebackers, it would seem as if the defense would get a boost. It’s going to have to if the Pack is going to make it to the postseason. NC State was No. 99 in the country last year in scoring defense, and No. 106 in pass efficiency defense. The secondary is lead by freshmen and sophomores.

Scouting NC State's defensive line

March, 12, 2010
Sure, Virginia Tech's defensive line has some issues to work out, but nobody in the ACC has to deal with replacing all four starters up front like NC State. The good news for the Wolfpack is that there is some experience to work with. The bad news? That experience totals a combined six starts among four players.

Here's a look at one of the areas where there will be the most competition in the ACC this spring, and who's in the mix:

  • Audi Augustin (6-2, 260, *Sr.): He has played in 36 career games but has been stuck behind Willie Young. Until now. Last year Augustin made 11 quarterback pressures, the fourth-highest total on the team. He also blocked a field goal in the win over Maryland, but missed the season finale with North Carolina with an injury.
  • Jeff Rieskamp (6-3, 235, *Jr.): Missed last season with a sports hernia and had surgery in October.
  • Michael Lemon (6-4, 267, *Sr.): Showed promise last year despite joining the team just two weeks before the season started and should contend for a starting job.
  • David Akinniyi (6-4, 255, *Sr.): He enrolled in January and has one year of eligibility remaining. He transferred from Northeastern University, which announced in November that it was cutting its football program.
  • Darryl Cato-Bishop (6-4, 281, *Fr.): Redshirted last year.
  • Rickey Dowdy (6- 2, 240, *Fr.): Redshirted last year.
  • Natanu Mageo (6-3, 285, Sr.): After transferring from New Mexico Military Junior College last year, Mageo played in all 12 games as a backup and intercepted a pass at Florida State.
  • J.R. Sweezy (6-3, 295, *Jr.): The backup earned one start against Gardner-Webb and played sparingly in all 12 games. He was in for a season-high 37 snaps against Virginia Tech, when he had three tackles, including an eight-yard sack and three quarterback pressures.
  • Markus Kuhn (6-4, 303, *Jr.): He added about 20 pounds while redshirting last season, but had three starts in 2008.
  • Brian Slay (6-3, 290, So.): He gained valuable experience as a true freshman, playing in 10 games for 115 snaps. He made three tackles in just nine plays against Boston College. Six of his eight quarterback pressures came in the last three games.

Former ACC players find new homes

February, 26, 2010

Athlon published a list of transfers who could have a significant impact this fall, and the ACC did its part in providing some of the talent, especially at the quarterback position.

Miami played a significant role in that, as you might remember Robert Marve, Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith. It's no wonder coach Randy Shannon has struggled with depth, as five transfers are listed from the Canes. Clemson's Willy Korn also made the list.

The only incoming quarterback listed is Maryland's Clay Belton. The Terps actually made out the best with the transfers, as they could get a nice surprise at tight end with the addition of former Notre Dame two-sport athlete Will Yeatman. Yeatman, also a lacrosse player, has talked extensively with offensive coordinator James Franklin about joining the football team.

A few more transfers worth watching this year include Florida State redshirt sophomores Anthony McCloud (DT), Debrale Smiley (RB), and Duke tight end Cooper Helfet. They are junior college transfers. NC State signed four junior college transfers, and the Pack could use the help up front from OT Mikel Overgaard and DE David Akinniyi.

Recruiting rewind: NC State

February, 4, 2010
As a former offensive line coach, NC State coach Tom O’Brien has a heightened interest in the progress of the group, and with five offensive linemen in this year’s class, the Pack took another important step in building it into the formidable wall of protection O’Brien is aiming for.

“We want to build an NFL line, like we did at Boston College, no doubt about that,” he said. “I think, as we move on, we are recruiting kids who have that kind of skills.”

ESPNU 150 offensive tackle Robert Crisp, the Pack’s top prospect in this class, is one of them.

“He has really good feet,” O’Brien said. “With all linemen, he is not on the ground a lot. He's a lot like Teddy Larsen. If you can move your feet, get good body position and you are not on the ground a lot of the time because you have good balance, those are keys to being a good offensive linemen. He has great size and great reach. If you draw up a proto-type body, he has it for an offensive lineman. He has to come in and learn his right from his left and who to block, then he has the physical skills that look he can be a good lineman.”

NC State helped itself up front on both sides of the ball on Wednesday. With four junior college transfers, five offensive linemen and four defensive backs, O’Brien was able to add depth and talent in his fourth recruiting class. And his top two prospects -- Crisp and defensive back David Amerson -- came from in-state.

“We addressed a lot of things we had to address in this recruiting class,” O’Brien said. “We signed 11 on offense and 11 on defense, so once again we signed a football team. And we signed a kicker who will hopefully help resolve some of the problems we’ve had kicking off. We made a concerted effort once again to recruit our home and did a real nice job in the state of North Carolina.”

NC State had a patchwork secondary in 2009, and O’Brien said it’s one position a freshman could see immediate playing time. The Pack also added maturity and size up front on both sides from junior college transfers David Akinniyi and Mikel Overgaard, who should work their way into the lineup. Another player who could see the field early is running back Mustafa Greene.

“You look at the running back situation, and he probably thinks he has a real good chance, which is why he is coming here,” O’Brien said. “There are not a lot of carries and not a lot of yards by the three guys that are there. As with all freshmen, who knows who is going to play and who is not going to play. As has been explained to him, the faster he learns the offense -- and for a running back that means he is going to have to learn some pass protection, he can't whiff on that -- the faster he can play. But, when it comes down to it, he is going to have to learn to protect the quarterback.”

The one thing that NC State still lacks is upperclassmen, as there will only be 12 seniors on the team this year, and six were inherited from the previous staff and four are incoming junior college players.

“We still need help on both sides of the line with young kids,” O’Brien said, “but we are still trying to buy time until some of these young kids grow up.”

They appear to have done that with this class.

ACC's lunchtime links

January, 29, 2010
Don't forget to watch the Senior Bowl on Saturday -- it could be a big audition for former Miami tight end Jimmy Graham.
  • Being a native of Pennsylvania I'm probably biased, but recruits out of Wilson High near Reading are usually pretty good. Meet Maryland commitment Tyler Smith.
  • Then again, any bruising running back named Mustafa doesn't sound like a guy to mess with either. Score another one for NC State.
  • Mike London got one step closer to sorting out his staff when hehired Bill Lazor as his offensive coordinator. He needs just one more hire to complete his staff.
  • Thanks to NC State, David Akinniyi is one of the fortunate players who will continue to play football after his previous school, Northeastern, cut the program.
  • Florida State has already put together an outstanding recruiting class, yet somehow, within the next few days, it could get even better.

NC State's roster grows

January, 8, 2010
NC State will add four players to its roster when classes begin next week -- two who originally signed with the Pack in 2009 and two transfers. They'll be available for spring practices. Here's a quick bio on each of them, thanks to NC State's sports information department:

Senior defensive end David Akinniyi (6-4, 250) of Rocklin, Calif., / Rocklin HS, / Northeastern University

Three-year starter at defensive end and linebacker for coach Rocky Hager at Northeastern University, which announced in November that it was discontinuing its football program. Akinniyi has one year of eligibility remaining.
  • Recorded 40 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and four sacks in 2009, including two tackles for loss against Boston College.
  • Named to the Colonial Athletic Association Academic All-Conference team in 2007 and 2008.
  • Played 34 games at Northeastern, recording 141 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
  • His sister Dorcas is a heptathlete at Wisconsin, sister Deborah ran track at Stanford (2005-08) and brother Akin was a linebacker at Arizona (2002-06).
Freshman defensive end A.J. Ferguson (6-3, 250) of Southport, N.C., / South Brunswick HS

He originally signed with the Pack in 2009 and spent last season at Fork Union Military Academy. Ferguson was named to the USA Football Junior National squad that represented the United State in the first IFAF Junior World Championship in Canton, Ohio, during the summer of 200.
  • A four-year starter at South Brunswick High School for Coach Gordon Walters, he recorded 90 tackles, including 20 for loss, and 10 sacks during his senior season.
  • Scored three touchdowns on defense as a senior.
  • Also played tight end, pulling down 10 receptions and four touchdowns in 2008.
Junior offensive lineman Mikel Overgaard (6-6, 280) of Weiser, Idaho / Weiser HS / Snow College

Overgaard transferred to NC State from Snow College in Utah, where he started at left tackle for coach Steve Coburn. He earned all-conference honors in 2009 and posted a 3.8 GPA. He originally enrolled at Washington State in 2007, where he walked on and redshirted at tight end.

Freshman defensive tackle Deion Roberson (6-3, 275) of Tucker, Ga., / Tucker HS

Roberson originally signed with the Wolfpack in 2009, but spent the past season rehabbing. He was named a top-five defensive lineman at the U.S. Army All-American combine, but missed his entire senior season (2008) after severely dislocating his ankle on the second play of the season.
  • Tallied 35 tackles, 12 for loss, and three sacks in 14 games as a junior.
  • As a sophomore, he made 44 tackles and six sacks.
  • Honor roll student who was a member of the chess club and worked with Habitat for Humanity.



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Thursday, 1/1
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