NC State Football: Lineman Chandler Zavala gets NCAA waiver

NC State offensive lineman Chandler Zavala (64) participates in drills during the Wolfpack's first practice in Raleigh, North Carolina on Wednesday August 4, 2021.

NC State offensive lineman Chandler Zavala (64) participates in drills during the Wolfpack’s first practice in Raleigh, North Carolina on Wednesday August 4, 2021.

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The drama surrounding NC State lineman Chandler Zavala’s return to school for a sixth year of football eligibility has come to a close.

Zavala posted Thursday night on social media that he was returning to the Wolfpack, meaning the NCAA reversed course on a waiver exemption it originally denied.

“Grateful to have the opportunity to return and represent the wolf pack for another year. Let’s get back to it!! Thank you all for the endless support,” Zavala wrote in a tweet.

“So grateful that Chandler had the opportunity to end his career this fall!” NC State head coach Dave Doeren said in an official statement released later Thursday night. “It’s been a long process for him and he’s such an amazing young man. I’m so grateful to our compliance office, Boo Corrigan, and Chandler’s attorney for backing him up and fighting hard. for him. Can’t wait to see #64 back on the pitch with his brothers and coaches!

Doeren was more to the point in a post on his Twitter account: “So happy for Chandler and grateful he can complete his journey with this team and staff!!!”

Zavala, his family and the university said in April they were considering legal action if their final appeal to the NCAA was denied.

“Boo (Corrigan) and our administrative side worked with our compliance office to hire an attorney,” Doeren said at the time. “That’s where we are. We’re just waiting for all the research to be done.

Doeren then said the attorneys would take Zavala’s case to the NCAA and “hope for the best.”

The best, it seems, has arrived.

Zavala’s Journey

Zavala transferred to NC State last fall after playing three years at Division II Fairmont State, which did not have a season in 2020 due to COVID-19. Zavala graduated from school and arrived in Raleigh with one year of eligibility remaining.

After five starts for NC, Zavala missed the remainder of 2021 through injury. He was hoping to get an extra year of NCAA eligibility by applying for a medical waiver, but was denied.

Zavala only played three games at Fairmont State as a rookie in 2017. A player can maintain his redshirt season if he plays four games or less.

NC State with Zavala

Doeren believes Zavala was on his way to becoming an All-ACC caliber offensive lineman before his injury.

Standing 6-foot-5 and 325 pounds, Zavala was a wall at the left guard position. With the huge Zavala on the lineup, NC State’s rushing numbers were night and day compared to his absence.

Over the first five games, the Pack averaged 172 rushing yards per game. In the first five contests, Zonovan Knight rushed over 100 yards twice. In the seven games without Zavala, the best individual performance by a Wolfpack guard was a 75-yard game by Knight at Florida State.

As a team, NC State rushed for over 200 yards twice in those first five games with Zavala in play, including 293 yards in the opener against South Florida. Their team best rushing performance without Zavala was 130 yards against Boston College. The Pack have averaged 93.4 rushing yards in the past seven games. NC State finished second to last in the conference in a rush.

This story was originally published May 5, 2022 7:50 p.m.

Justin is a 20-year veteran sports journalist with stops in Lewiston, Maine (Sun Journal) and Boston (Boston Herald). Proud husband and father of twin daughters, Pelletier is a graduate of Boston University and a member of the notorious mafia sportswriter Jack Falla. He has won dozens of state and national sports writing and publishing awards spanning prep, college, and professional leagues.

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