Trio of Football Players Join Men's Track Squad
Jan. 26, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. – Continuing a long tradition that has produced multiple track and field All-Americans and All-ACC performers, the NC State No. 24 men’s indoor track and field team is getting an injection of speed from the Wolfpack football program.
Three players from the Belk Bowl-champion football squad will join head coach Rollie Geiger’s team this weekend when the No. 24 Wolfpack men’s team and the women’s team participate in the UNC Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Senior defensive back C.J. Wilson of Lincolnton, N.C., junior wide receiver Tobais Palmer of Siler City, N.C., and redshirt freshman Bryan Underwood of University Heights, Ohio., will all participate in sprints during the two-day meet at UNC’s Eddie Smith Field House.
All three were sprinters in high school. Palmer competed in sprints and relays last year for the Wolfpack, but neither Wilson nor Underwood have competed in track since arriving in Raleigh to join NC State head coach Tom O’Brien’s football squad. Geiger is confident, if history is any indication, that all three can help his program, once they shake off the rust.
“We’ve had a long history here at NC State of having football players compete on the track,” Geiger said. “It’s a positive thing for both programs. The two sports are compatible when it comes to speed training and development.”
The runners will compete during both the indoor and outdoor season, though they will also participate in spring football practice.
“I do appreciate Coach O’Brien being receptive to having them participate,” Geiger said. “If you look at the years we have been most successful in the ACC, we have always gotten contributions from the football program.
“I wouldn’t be opposed to that happening again.”
Former Wolfpack and NFL wide receiver Danny Peebles – a nine-time All-American on the track – was the ACC’s Most Valuable Performer in 1987 and ’88 and was a member of the 1985 4x100 relay team that won the NCAA Championship.
Wide receiver Alvis Whitted, one of the fastest football players in school history, was also an ACC champion in track and holds the school record in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes.
Last year, wide receiver T.J. Graham qualified for the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, earning second-team All-America honors in the 60-meter dash at the indoor meet and honorable mention honors All-America honors in the 100-meter dash.
Geiger isn’t putting pressure on Wilson, Palmer and Underwood to duplicate that success in their first competition of the season.
“It’s too early to tell what they will contribute,” said the coach. “They have to get the rust off. But I am glad to have them on the team. I enjoy having football players with us, because they add more than just speed.
“Football is such a team sport, and we need that sometimes. They help us be more competitive.”
The two-day meet will begin on Friday at 5 p.m. with both track and field events. Saturday’s field events begin at 10 a.m., with track events starting at noon.
Full results will be posted on GoPack.com following each day of competition. Follow the action on the live results link above and on Twitter (@Wolfpack_TF).