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‘Bengals Raised by Wolves’

NC State Super Bowl billboard on I-75 near the stadium in downtown Cincinnati

A pair of former NC State roommates — defensive players Germaine Pratt and B.J. Hill — will have a chance to shine on the NFL’s biggest stage Sunday in Los Angeles when the Cincinnati Bengals step on the field for Super Bowl LVI against the Los Angeles Rams.

The two homegrown players, who shared an apartment while at State with teammates Steph Louis and Bo Hines, have been instrumental in the Bengals drive to the franchise’s first appearance in the NFL’s final game of the season since 1989 and their first playoff victories since 1991.

three NC State football players in uniform
Hill, left, and Pratt, right, with their fellow Wolfpack football teammate and former college roommate Steph Louis.

“We are very proud of Germaine and BJ and are super excited to cheer them on in the Super Bowl,” says NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren. “They are both tremendous representatives of our program, and I know they will be ready to play their best.

“They have worked so hard to get to this point in their careers and it is special they will get to share that opportunity as brothers.”

To celebrate the two graduates’ role in the Bengals’ success, the NC State athletics department sponsored a “Two Bengals, Raised By Wolves” billboard on I-75 in downtown Cincinnati to recognize the program’s most recent players to participate in America’s most popular sporting event.

Pratt, left, and Hill celebrate the Bengals' AFC Championship victory in the locker room after the game.
Pratt, left, and Hill celebrate the Bengals’ AFC Championship victory in the locker room after the game.

In all, more than 30 alumni have played or coached in the game.

After a stellar career with the Wolfpack, Pratt was taken by the Bengals in the third round of the NFL Draft in 2019 and earned a starting job in the middle of the defense early this season. Among his many big plays was an interception on the final play of the AFC wildcard game that sealed a win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

So far this season, the High Point, North Carolina, native and graduate of High Point Central High has forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles and made two interceptions. While at NC State, Pratt earned a degree in College of Natural Resources in parks, recreation and tourism.

Hill — a native of Oakboro, North Carolina, and graduate of West Stanly High School — is in his fourth year in the NFL. Originally drafted in the third round by the New York Giants, he was traded to Cincinnati at the beginning of this season and quickly earned a spot as an important cog in the Bengal defense. His interception of Kansas City Chief quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ pass in the AFC Championship game set up the Bengals’ game-winning touchdown that advanced the team to the Super Bowl.

While at NC State, Hill earned a degree in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ criminology program.

Sunday’s game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

NC State Super Bowl Players

(Not every player was active for participation in the Super Bowl, as some spent full or partial seasons on practice squad rosters. However, most teams recognize all players under contract during a Super Bowl season with rings and other recognition for their contributions.)

Following are NC State’s Super Bowl alumni, as listed by Super Bowl game number, player name, team and year:

  • X, Charley Young, Dallas Cowboys, 1976
  • XI, Dan Medlin, Oakland Raiders, 1977
  • XX, Lin Dawson, New England Patriots, 1986
    • Dennis Owens, New England Patriots, 1986
  • XXI, Perry Williams, New York Giants, 1987
  • XXIII, Mike Cofer, San Francisco 49ers, 1989
  • XXIV, Mike Cofer, San Francisco 49ers, 1990
  • XXV, Perry Williams, New York Giants, 1991
    • Jim Ritcher, Buffalo Bills, 1991
  • XXVI, Jim Ritcher, Buffalo Bills, 1992
  • XXVII, Jim Ritcher, Buffalo Bills, 1993
  • XXVIII, Jim Ritcher, Buffalo Bills, 1994
  • XXIX, Mark Thomas, San Francisco 49ers, 1995
    • Joe Milinichik, San Diego Chargers, 1995
  • XXX, George Hegamin, Dallas Cowboys, 1996
    • Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996
  • XXXI, Mike Jones, New England Patriots, 1997
  • XXXIII, Gary Downs, Atlanta Falcons, 1999
  • XXXIV, Ray Agnew, St. Louis Rams, 2000
    • Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams, 2000
    • Mike Jones, Tennessee Titans, 2000
  • XXXV, George Williams, New York Giants, 2001
  • XXXVI, Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams, 2002
  • XXXVII, Corey Smith,Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2003
  • Alvis Whitted, Oakland Raiders, 2003
  • XL, Bill Cowher (head coach), Pittsburgh Steelers, 2006
    • Sean Locklear, Seattle Seahawks, 2006
  • XLIII, Adrian Wilson, Arizona Cardinals, 2009
  • XLIV, DeMario Pressley, New Orleans Saints, 2010
  • XLVI, Andre Brown, N.Y. Giants, 2012
  • XLVIII, Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks, 2014
    • Nate Irving, Denver Broncos, 2014
    • J.R. Sweezy, Seattle Seahawks, 2014
    • Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, 2014
  • XLIX, Stephen Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks, 2015
    • J.R. Sweezy, Seattle Seahawks, 2015
    • Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, 2015
  • L, Jerricho Cotchery, Carolina Panthers, 2016
  • LI, Jacoby Brissett, New England Patriots, 2017
    • Joe Thuney, New England Patriots, 2017
  • LII, Joe Thuney, New England Patriots, 2018
  • LIII, Joe Thuney, New England Patriots, 2019
  • LIV, Dontae Johnson, San Francisco 49ers, 2020
    • Kentavius Street, San Francisco 49ers, 2020
  • LV, Ted Larsen, Tampa Bay Bucs, 2021
  • LVI, Germaine Pratt, Cincinnati Bengals, 2022
    • B.J. Hill, Cincinnati Bengals, 2022

This post was originally published in NC State News.