Report: N.C. State DB Mike Stevens suffers injury, expected to miss South Carolina game
South Carolina’s passing game may have received a boost on Sunday as it was reported that one of its opponents top defensive backs will miss the opener.
N.C. State cornerback Mike Stevens reportedly suffered a leg injury earlier this month, but the news has not been confirmed by the school. The team’s depth chart is expected to be released on Monday. Joe Giglio of the News & Observer is reporting that the injury is expected to cost Stevens more than just the season opener against the Gamecocks.
Stevens, who started every regular-season game last year and 10 games in 2015, is most known for an interception return for a touchdown last season against Clemson. He had 32 tackles and an interception return in 2016.
The Wolfpack were already dealing with turnover in the secondary before the injury. They had three departures from last year’s team and senior safety Shawn Boone is the only experienced returnee in the secondary.
N.C. State’s defense ranked No. 82 in the country against the pass (244.2 yards per game) last season and this injury news poses a concern against one of the strengths of the South Carolina offense. Quarterback Jake Bentley threw for 390 yards in South Carolina’s 46-39 overtime bowl loss to South Florida last season.
The top three targets in the South Carolina passing game are among the best around. Receivers Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards combined last season to catch 103 passes for 1,373 yards and five touchdowns last year. Tight end Hayden Hurst is one of the best in the SEC. He caught 48 passes for 616 yards and a touchdown in 2016.