We are officially 80 days away from the first college football game this season. Today we are examining one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country. Devin Leary is quarterback for the NC State Wolfpack. Leary led the Wolfpack to a 9-3 record including a win over Clemson. The Wolfpack enter the 2022 season where they are expected to compete for the ACC title after finishing the season ranked for the first time since 2017.
Leary returns as the Wolfpack starting quarterback after throwing 35 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also completed 65.7% of his passes on the season. One area Leary struggled in the losses was his accuracy. In each of the three games the Wolfpack lost, Leary failed to complete more than 63% of his passes. He finished over 63% in eight of the nine victories. The only one he did not was against Louisiana Tech which NC State won by a score of 34-7. Leary’s accuracy will continue to be a vital part of his success for the 2022 season.
One aspect of Leary’s game which makes him a threat is his ability to move when the pocket collapses. He will rarely run for a positive game but he can escape the pocket to extend the play and find an open receiver. He has a quick release and has overall good ball placement. Leary needs to work on his accuracy downfield to help stretch the field. Adding the deep ball to his arsenal will help become one of the best quarterbacks in the country and put him on a national level for recognition.
Leary will be looking for a new number one receiver after Emeka Emezie completed his college eligibility. Devin Carter and Thayer Thomas are expected to be the top two targets after they each finished with over 500 receiving yards last season. Having familiar wideouts is a huge boost for a quarterback as breaking in new receivers can be a process. Building chemistry between quarterback and wide receiver takes months or even years to develop. Leary should be able to pick up where he left off by having two of his top targets return for another season.
The Wolfpack have an overall favorable schedule. Their nonconference games are against ECU, Charleston Southern, Texas Tech and UConn will likely have NC State sitting at 4-0. The Wolfpack’s first ACC game is on the road against Clemson which will set the tone for the rest of the season. Leary was a huge factor in the 2021 matchup tossing four touchdowns. He will need to repeat his performance in order to beat Clemson for a second straight season. If NC State is able to beat Clemson, Leary will likely help his team to double digit wins for only the second time in program history.
Photo Credit: Edward T. Funkhouser Raleigh, NC