Tape It Up: N.C. State: Down Goes Hill; Former QB to Fill In

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N.C. State: Down Goes Hill; Former QB to Fill In

N.C. State has lost a huge chunk of its offense for the 2007 season, and there wasn't exactly a lot to lose. Senior tight end Anthony Hill, the team's leading receiver in 2006 and an integral part of the blocking scheme, is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery last week.

As the Wolfpack's top receiver, Hill accumulated nearly 40 yards per game last season, averaging 10.6 yards per catch on his 45 receptions. He ranked fifth in the ACC with 3.75 receptions per game. Just as importantly, his 6-6, 275-pound frame made him a standout blocker, paving the way for running backs Toney Baker and Andre Brown, two juniors who are considered the cogs of the Wolfpack offense. Hill has started 20 of 27 career games at N.C. State.

The senior had surgery last week to repair an anterior cruciate ligament that he twisted several weeks prior, but the extent of the injury was uncertain in the days leading up to the surgery. Orthopedic surgeon Mike Fajgenbaum performed reconstructive surgery on the knee, and since Hill still has a redshirt year availble, he sould have time to rehabilitate the knee and be back for 2008.

But that doesn't do N.C. State any good in 2007. Picked to finish last in the ACC Atlantic after a 3-9 campaign last season, losing Hill leaves the Wolfpack paper thin at tight end. Former quarterback Marcus Stone, who started the first three games under center last season, will be called upon to step up in that spot, since he emerged as the backup after spring practice. Stone posted a 6-3 record as starting quarterback before moving to tight end for the final six games of last season.

Standing 6-6 and 239, Stone has some enormous shoes to fill in terms of blocking responsibilities, and a 30-pound weight difference is a big one with the season less than a month away.

If Stone's statment last week that he will go into preseason camp weighing in at 250 is correct, then the Wolfpack can start to breathe slightly easier, especially when considering that the senior did play 25 snaps at tight end at the end of last season, and has spent all summer working on his blocking techniques. With Hill on the bench indefinitely, Stone has a golden opportunity to turn some heads.

But going from quarterback to tight end isn't exactly a seamless transition.

Sophomore Matt Kushner will most likely be the back-up after earning the No. 3 spot in the spring. Redshirt freshman Rashad Phillips is still recovering from injuries suffered from an October car accident and the surgery required thereafter.

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