football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft

2021 Is A Huge Year For NC State QB Devin Leary

  • The Draft Network
  • July 23, 2021
  • Share

Down six on the road with 1:44 left in the game. The N.C. State Wolfpack was in a tough spot with their backs against the wall and one drive to win it. There’s a lot of pressure in that moment, and yet when quarterback Devin Leary took to the huddle he did so with a big smile on his face. With a confident laugh, before giving his team the play call, he looked at each of them and said two words.

Let’s go.

That’s how Wolfpack center Grant Gibson recalls it. It was one of N.C. State’s most memorable moments of a strange and uncommon 2020 season, and it was also a welcome-to-the-spotlight day for the sophomore quarterback Leary.

After breaking high school state passing records for yards and touchdowns in New Jersey, Leary arrived at N.C. State with a lot of expectations. After redshirting his first season, Leary became the first redshirt freshman to start at quarterback for the Wolfpack since Russell Wilson after starting the final five games of the year. Leary entered the 2020 season as a sophomore starter but only played in four games due to a leg injury he suffered in October.

Fast forward to the present day and the 6-foot-1, 215-pound redshirt junior quarterback is ready to go. He’s eager to get back out on the field for his team—and his NFL draft journey—with a new perspective post-injury.

“I think last year before my injury there were multiple different plays or multiple different things I could have done better that I could take off of film, whether it's within our offense or studying different defenses,” Leary said. “I think post-injury that's my biggest emphasis, is just trying to study defense as much as I can and prepare the best way possible.”

It's a big year for Leary, as the last few years have been about growth as a player. In some ways, it’s come through live reps in practice and in games. But, in other ways, it’s about what happens off the field. Leary has experienced the importance of film work before you get into the huddle, and how that can make all the difference when it comes to being a leader and making those big plays.

“Once you get to the college level, it’s so much more film study. The big thing is knowing what you're studying. Really being able to digest what you’re watching, whether or not a defense is going to tilt to a certain side with certain coverages or show certain pressures. Being one step ahead all comes from film study.”

Leary has a new perspective of how he sees the field. But that’s not the only new perspective he’s gained. Due to his injury, Leary wasn’t able to be in the middle of the ups and downs with his teammates last season, a position he had never been in before. Coming out on the other side of things, Leary is ready to make the most of every snap.

“I never really necessarily experienced an injury like I did last year,” Leary said. “I think it kind of just puts things in a different perspective as far as just the smallest things, like celebrating in the locker room with your team, just every little thing you never really take for granted anymore. That kind of gave me a different perspective. Now post-injury, you're playing every single day, working out every single day like it's your last. I'm going to continue to take that approach.”

Leary has quite the legacy to live up to. N.C. State boasts the likes of Wilson, Philip Rivers, Mike Glennon, Jacoby Brissett, and Ryan Finley as NFL pros who have put on that Wolfpack helmet at his position. For some, that’s pressure. For Leary, it’s motivating.

“I think it’s an honor to play quarterback at N.C. State,” Leary said. “I think every single day understanding my role [in that line] and being a tribute to them, too, as the standard of what they have set as a quarterback at N.C. State.”

With plenty of tools in the quarterback toolbox, Leary will check a lot of the early scouting boxes. He has a big arm, he’s accurate, and he plays with strong confidence. With an extra year of eligibility in the tank, whether or not Leary will decide to make the jump to the league in a few months will depend on what he can show us in a big year ahead.

Filed In

Related Articles

Written By

The Draft Network