The Wolfpacker

September 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 53 of 95

54 ■ THE WOLFPACKER 50 Linebacker Stephen Tulloch (2003-05) Tulloch was named first-team All-ACC in 2005 when he had 20.5 tackles for loss, tied for fifth most in a single season at NC State. He ranks sixth all-time in career tackles for loss (40) despite leaving for the NFL after his junior season. He played 11 years in the pros and tallied 949 career tackles. 52 Linebacker Pat Thomas (2001-04) Thomas was one of five players from Miami's Killian High School on the 2004 roster. He finished his career with 334 tackles (12th most in school history) and 15.5 sacks (tied for 11th). He was second-team All-ACC as a junior and would play five years in the NFL. 53 Linebacker Robert Abraham (1978-81) Abraham is fourth all time at NC State with 407 career tackles, one of just five players to reach at least 400. Abraham's 183 tackles as a senior remain the second-best single-season total in school history. After college he played six seasons in the NFL. 54 Offensive lineman Joe Thuney (2012-15) It was a close call between Thuney and former linebacker Bill Cowher (1976-79). Thuney gets the edge after being named a first-team All-American by USA Today and a first-team All-ACC selection in 2015. As a rookie last season for the New England Patriots, he started every game and tied for the most snaps played on the team during their Super Bowl run. 55 Offensive lineman Chuck Massaro (1985-88) Massaro was a first-team All-ACC selection in 1987 while playing center. He was a team captain as a senior and helped head coach Dick Sheridan record three winning seasons in his first four years. 56 Linebacker Nate Irving (2006-10) Irving won the ACC 's Brian Piccolo Award (most courageous player) in 2010 when he made a comeback from a near-fatal car wreck to register 20.5 tackles for loss, tied for fifth most in school history for a single season. His eight tackles for loss that year against Wake Forest is a NCAA record for one game. Irving was named a first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated. He played five seasons in the NFL. 57 Linebacker Kyle Wescoe (1975-78) Wescoe teamed with fellow Pennsylvania na- tive linebacker Bill Cowher to tackle every ball carrier in sight at NC State. Cowher finished his career with 371 tackles, and Wescoe had 348, which is good for the ninth most in school history. His daughter Kaitlin played soccer for the Pack. 58 Linebacker Tyler Lawrence (1990-93) Lawrence was a ferocious pass rusher for the Wolfpack, and his 24 sacks remain the second most in school history. He had 11 sacks in 1993, the second–best single season in program annals. Lawrence was a two- time first-team All-ACC selection. 59 Linebacker David Merritt (1989-92) After making 167 tackles as a senior in 1992, the fourth-highest total in a single season at NC State, Merritt was named first-team All-ACC. He is tied for 14th all time in school history for tackles with 328, and he played three seasons in the NFL. Merritt has been an assistant with the New York Gi- ants since 2004, winning a pair of Super Bowls. 60 Offensive lineman John Stec (1964-66) Stec was named first-team All-ACC in 1965 and 1966, becoming the first offensive lineman in school his- tory to earn multiple first-team all-conference honors. 61 Offensive lineman Bill Rearic (1956-58) Blocking for Dick Christy, Rearic was second- team All-ACC in 1957 and a first-team choice one year later. 62 Offensive lineman Bob Blanchard (1972-74) Blanchard was a first-team All-ACC guard on the 1974 team that finished the year ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press. Ritcher is the only NC State player to have received the Outland Trophy, given to college football's best interior lineman. He won the award in 1979, the same year he was named a consensus All-American for a second consecutive season. Ritcher was also one of just two NC State players to win the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the league's most outstanding blocker on two occasions (the other was Robert Bowlby, 1948 and 1949 in the Southern Conference). After college, Ritcher was drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Bills (No. 16 overall selection) and played 16 seasons in the NFL, twice making the Pro Bowl. He started all four of the Bills' consecutive Super Bowl appearances. In 1998, Ritcher was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. His No. 51 is retired by NC State, who also included him in the Athletic Hall of Fame's first induction class, alongside fellow program legends Ted Brown and Roman Gabriel. 51 Offensive lineman Jim Ritcher (1976-79) PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS

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