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N.C. State starting RB out vs. Gamecocks

N.C. State starting tailback Jamelle Eugene will miss Thursday's season-opener at South Carolina with an ankle injury, coach Tom O'Brien said Tuesday evening.

Eugene led N.C. State with 667 rushing yards last season and ranked second on the team with 42 receptions. He also was scheduled to handle punt returns.

O'Brien said he doesn't have a timetable for Eugene's return.

"I thought he'd be [ready] this week," O'Brien said after giving a personnel update following the final practice before the opener.

Andre Brown, who has 1,772 career rushing yards, will take Eugene's place with sophomore Curtis Underwood as a backup. Eugene also had been listed as the starting punt returner.

Freshman T.J. Graham and Geron James are the most likely candidates to return punts, and there's a chance starting quarterback Russell Wilson will serve as a punt returner as well.

Backup offensive guard Curtis Crouch will not travel with the team by coach's decision. Safety Javon Walker, who has missed the entire preseason with a knee injury, is out for the season.

He tore a knee ligament against Miami last season and has had additional surgery.

O'Brien also revealed that freshman defensive tackle Kyle Linney and sophomore linebacker Thomas Barnes are not in school and are transferring.

Another freshman, offensive lineman Sam Jones, didn't complete the requirements for enrollment and plans to enroll in January, O'Brien said.

In addition to Graham, O'Brien plans to play four first-year freshmen. The others are linebackers Dwayne Maddox and Sterling Lucas, cornerback Dominique Ellis and fullback Taylor Gentry.

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