Scouring the interwebs to bring you news and notes as we are now inside of two weeks from the start of the most highly-anticipated Carolina football season in over a decade...
- UNC made its debut in the preseason AP poll at #18, one of five ACC teams in the poll. Virginia Tech placed #10, Miami #13, Georgia Tech #16, and Florida State came in at #20. Carolina's opening opponent, LSU, starts the season at #21.
- The news that highly touted freshman Brandon Willis is leaving the program was already announced, but it is confirmed he is headed to UCLA, as Willis' father, who had lost his job, has apparently found work in California and wants the family to be together. UCLA was one of Willis' final college choices, along with UNC and Tennessee. He had originally committed to UT but chose UNC when Kiffin left for Southern California; now he will be playing for USC's hated rival. Funny how things work out.
- Carolina Blue has a nice piece about Kendric Burney, one of the ACC's best cornerbacks. UNC has one of the most experienced defensive secondaries in the nation as Burney, Deunta Williams, and Charles Brown are all three-year starters, while Da'Norris Searcy is back for a second year as a starter.
- Butch Davis said he was hoping to name a starter at quarterback after Saturday's scrimmage. I wish I could remember the exact quote and source, but the word is that UNC's receivers are no clearer on the situation than the head coach. The story goes that they wax eloquently about T.J. Yates' leadership and demeanor, but their eyes light up when they talk about Renner's ability to throw the ball. It will be interesting to see what Davis says to the media this week about the QB situation.
- ESPN Recruiting's Tom Luginbill says Carolina has the second-best recruiting class in the ACC, behind only Florida State. He notes that UNC is recruiting well by position and need only a corner and kicker to round out the class. The best part is that UNC is building the bulk of the class in their traditional recruiting zones in the Carolinas and Virginia.
- Finally, since we haven't talked about the elephant in the room for a while, Kentwan Balmer spoke to the Associated Press after arriving in Seattle after his trade. He said that questions into his relationships with Marvin Austin and Cam Thomas are "really not fair". He said he considers Austin and Thomas to be as close as family and "for us to be scrutinized ... for having a friendship and a brotherhood is just real upsetting and real frustrating." He also says he has had no contact with the NCAA regarding their investigation into the UNC football situation.
While I understand Balmer's point of view, he has to understand the questions are entirely fair. When the NCAA comes calling, everything is fair game, particularly when it's not even clear where the rules would stand regarding Balmer's springing for the tab to fly to California. I do find it interesting he says he has not been contacted by the NCAA, but at this point there is no reason to try to draw any conclusions from that.