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November 19, 2011NC State sophomore David Amerson is one interception away from being a part of ACC history.
The 6-foot-3, 194-pound cornerback from Greensboro, N.C., has already set a school record this season with 10 interceptions in 10 games, but now has his sights set on tying former North Carolina cornerback Dre Bly's ACC single-season record of 11 picks in 1996.
Amerson has six interceptions over his last five games, including one last week near the goal line against Boston College. Amerson will get the chance to tie or break Bly's mark against Clemson at 3:30 p.m. today at Carter-Finley Stadium.
"I didn't know much about him [Bly], but when I started getting closer to the record, I started looking him up," Amerson said. "Evidently, he was a really good player. Just to break the record, period, would be crazy. I try not to think about it too much because then I'd start pressing and try to do things out of the ordinary."
Amerson didn't have any interceptions a year ago, but has reached the point that his instincts have taken over. As soon as Boston College sophomore quarterback Chase Rettig threw the ball on last week's interception, Amerson knew he had it.
"I was just trying to figure out how could I get around the wide receiver and go get it," said Amerson, who has 46 tackles. "I just went up for it."
Amerson strongly considered attending NC State's upcoming opponent Saturday. Clemson, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and North Carolina were some of the schools Amerson considered before he ultimately selected NC State. He has flourished with the Wolfpack under the tutelage of defensive backs coach Mike Reed, who recruited him.
"They [Clemson] recruited me very hard," Amerson said, "and even after I committed, they were still coming after me.
"Clemson was like my fifth offer. They were one of my early offers. It really came down to NC State, Notre Dame, Clemson and Virginia Tech."
Amerson has looked forward to going against Clemson star freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins, but the matchup might not materialize. Watkins injured his shoulder against Wake Forest last week. Watkins has 68 receptions for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns, and is a threat at kick returner and on reverses for the Tigers.
"I hope he plays because I want to play against good guys and he's definitely one of the good receivers," Amerson said. "That would be fun. I watched a couple of his games, and he's a great player. I commend him on that, but my job is to stop him.
"He is just fast and speed kills. He is real good in and out of his cuts and has great hands."
Amerson said Clemson's other receivers are also talented. Sophomore DeAndre Hopkins and junior Jaron Brown are second and fourth on the team, respectively, in catches this season.
"They definitely have a good receiving corps, and have guys who are fast and quick and with great hands," Amerson said. "It's definitely going to be a challenge for our secondary and should be a good one.
"We are definitely going to get opportunities. They like to put the ball in the air. It's going to come down to us on whether we win the game or not."
Clemson won a defensive battle last year over NC State, 14-13, but the Tigers' offense has been revamped under new offensive coordinator Chad Morris and sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd. Clemson has scored at least 23 points in all but one game this season, and more than 31 points in eight of 10 contests.
"I think those guys put in a lot of work in the offseason," Amerson said. "I guess it's showing off this year."