NC State

How NC State, UNC players from Florida felt the pain of Hurricane Irma

N.C. State senior safety Shawn Boone went into Saturday’s game against Marshall with more than football on his mind.

Hurricane Irma was approaching Florida. Boone’s home is in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., positioned in the danger zone of the path of the then-Category 5 hurricane.

Boone’s family left and found a safe haven in Raleigh, Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said Monday. Boone’s home suffered major damage on Sunday when Irma struck.

“The ceiling of his house fell in,” Doeren said.

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N.C. State’s Shawn Boone sacks South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley during the Wolfpack’s game against the Gamecocks on Sept. 2. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

“Several players that are affected by it and some of them, their parents have actually come up here,” Doeren said. “I told them yesterday, if I knew there was a storm coming that could knock my mom’s house down, I’d be pretty nervous. So they knew we were here for them and if they had issues to come see us. Shawn is the one who reached out (Sunday).”

Doeren said each of the eight Wolfpack players from Florida has been able to communicate with their families.

“Everyone is safe and all that,” Doeren said. “Obviously, it’s scary.”

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Rescue workers help Tom Purdy, right, evacuate his home after Hurricane Irma brought flood waters to Jacksonville, Fla. on Monday. John Raoux AP

North Carolina has 14 players on its roster from Florida. UNC coach Larry Fedora said Monday said he talked to the players whose families were affected by Irma, learning what plans the families had in dealing with a hurricane that swept through the state of Florida with deadly winds and a strong storm surge that caused flooding.

“There were only a couple of guys that said, you know, my mom’s coming up, my dad’s staying – he said he’s not messing with it, you know,” Fedora said. “So most of them got out of there.”

Fedora said the family of Donnie Miles, a senior safety, was able to evacuate from their home in Miami and attended the Tar Heels’ practice Sunday.

“So from what I know right now, all of them have been safe, and there haven’t been any issues,” Fedora said of the players and their families. “Now, I don’t know what they’re going to go back to. But they’re safe.”

Duke athletic spokesman Art Chase said Monday he was unaware of any Blue Devils football players whose families were adversely affected by Irma. The Blue Devils have 15 players from Florida on their roster. Cory Walton, another Duke spokesman, wrote in an email Monday that there’s “nothing to report” on basketball players’ families. Senior guard Grayson Allen is from Jacksonville and junior center Antonio Vrankovic is from Delray Beach.

Chip Alexander: 919-829-8945, @ice_chip

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