Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pack's Young, Eugene to explore draft prospects

N.C. State juniors Willie Young and Jamelle Eugene are submitting their names to the NFL draft advisory board for feedback on where they might be selected in the draft in April if they choose to leave school early, coach Tom O’Brien said Tuesday.

Young, a defensive end, leads the team with 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Eugene has rushed for 432 yards and two touchdowns.

“Neither has any intentions at this point of leaving, but they want to know (their status),” O’Brien said during his news conference to preview N.C. State’s Dec. 29 appearance against Rutgers in the Papajohns.com Bowl.

Neither player was available for comment Tuesday. Sophomore linebacker Nate Irving, who led the team with four interceptions, said he hasn’t thought about his plans beyond this season.
“I’m just getting ready for Rutgers,” Irving said. “After Rutgers I’ll worry about my future plans.”

The deadline for underclassmen to apply for the draft is Jan. 15. The draft advisory board reviews the credentials of underclassmen and provides them of an estimate of where they might be selected in the draft if they leave school in order to help them make informed decisions about their future.

O’Brien also said Tuesday that safety Clem Johnson is supposed to return to the practice field this week in hopes of returning for the bowl game. He missed the first four games while recovering from a broken jaw and didn’t play in the regular season finale against Miami because of an ankle injury.

“We think he’s our best safety,” O’Brien said. “We know we’re going to need our best players to slow this passing game (of Rutgers) down some. It would be fortunate for him, too.”

N.C. State fans will be able to get a rare glimpse at the team during a practice this weekend. O’Brien is opening up practice to the fans at 4 p.m. Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium.

The Wolfpack has a basketball game scheduled at the RBC Center at 2 p.m. Saturday against Lipscomb. Fans who do not attend the basketball game but want to attend football practice are asked to park in the lot to the south of Carter-Finley Stadium.

– Ken Tysiac