The NC State Wolfpack’s wide receiver room is crowded — and that’s a good thing

In an 8-part series, the News & Observer and Herald Sun will be examining NC State’s football depth chart, position by position, as the season opener on Sept. 2 at Carter-Finley Stadium draws near.

There are a couple of household names in the N.C. State wide receiver room.

Senior Emeka Emezie is on all the preseason awards lists, and could leave Raleigh as the top pass catcher in school history. Thayer Thomas is the former walk-on, the local kid who worked his way into the rotation and became one of the most reliable receivers on the team.

Then, there’s Devin Carter.

Carter’s the third member of this three-headed monster, the big (6-3, 216) target from Clayton, who has eased into his role as a complimentary player to Emezie and Thomas and fully embraced his current role as veteran leader.

The wide receiver room at N.C. State is crowded. Thomas said there’s 21 guys in the wide receiver group and at least 15 can play any given Saturday. That puts a lot of responsibility on the guys up front — Emezie, Thomas, Carter and veteran C.J. Riley — to bring the group along.

Carter says it feels like just yesterday he was that young guy in the back of the room, soaking it all up from Kelvin Harmon and Stephen Louis, who taught the youngster one important lesson.

“Work,” Carter said with no hesitation. “Work and consistency. Those two things will get you far. You have to be your best everyday. If you’re working and consistent everyday, there’s not much you’re going to miss.”

Carter’s productivity has gotten better each season. Even though he caught fewer passes in 2020 (29) than 2019 (32), his yards per catch (16.4 from 14.3) and touchdowns have increased. As a youngster in the wide receiver room in 2018, Carter sat back and observed whatever Harmon and Louis did. He admits he wasn’t physically ready to play, but that didn’t stop his preparation.

“I was a sponge, I took in everything up here,” Carter said, pointing to his head. “Now that I have that I can provide it to them, I just try and tell them to be a sponge.”

Eight receivers return who caught at least three passes a year ago, plus the emergence of some talented young guys who waited in the wings. Porter Rooks was the prize recruit of the class of 2020 and looks to have a bigger role this season. Anthony Smith showed flashes as a true freshman and early enrollee Julian Gray has turned some heads during camp. Carter says that kind of production throughout the depth chart makes it hard for him to take a day off.

“We’re day in, day out competing,” Carter said. “We can’t sleep, we can’t go to sleep because somebody else is going to take your spot.”

Projected NC State WR depth chart




Emeka Emezie (SR)



Thayer Thomas (JR)



Devin Carter (SO)




CJ Riley (SR)



Porter Rooks (FR)



Keyon Lesane (SO)



Projected NC State TE depth chart




Dylan Parham (SR)




Andrew Jayne (FR)



Ezemdi Udoh (FR)



Kameron Walker (R-FR)



Other Triangle ACC previews

Jake Bobo leads group of Duke receivers hoping to flip the Blue Devils’ fortunes. Can they?

Here’s why UNC’s receivers are reminding Mack Brown of the best receiving season ever

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