UNC Tar Heels 2009
Highest/Final Ranking: 18/unranked
Bowl: Meineke Car Care Bowl, lost 19-17
Ever since Butch Davis was hired to coach the North Carolina football team, the program's recruiting and overall record have made very noticeable progressions. The team has strung together back to back 8 win seasons, the first time that has happened since 1997-98. Known more for its basketball than football, UNC looks this year to crack the top 10 in the AP Rankings and conquer the ACC. At NextGen Sports we see the Tar Heels winning the ACC Coastal division in 2010, a bold prediction considering they will have to compete with the likes of Georgia Tech, Miami, and Virginia Tech to do just that.
The Tar Heel's defense is it's greatest strength, and will most likely rank among the best in the nation. Their defensive line is arguably the prize piece, consisting of two future NFL first rounders in end Robert Quinn and tackle Marvin Austin. Quinn, standing at 6'5" and weighing 260 pounds, is built like an elite pass rusher and plays the part as well. The junior, who posted 11 sacks and 6 forced fumbles, proved to be as disruptive to opposing offenses as any other player in the country. NFL scouts are already looking at Quinn as a potential top five selection in next year's draft. The 300 pound Marvin Austin is a hulking presence in the middle of the defensive line. He is unusually quick for a big guy, and can get off blocks with great speed to either sack the quarterback or stuff the run. If Austin can build off his successful junior campaign he should be without a doubt one of the premier interior lineman in all of college football.
The future NFL talents for the Tar Heels' defense don't just end on its front line. Senior linebackers Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant are both seen as preseason All-Americans, and with very good reason. They are explosive, fast, and physical athletes who also have innate abilities to get to the football. Sturdivant, specifically, is the vocal leader of the defense and one of the country's most versatile outside linebackers; being able to pressure the quarterback, stop the run, and drop back in coverage. The Heels' secondary is loaded with experience and talent, featuring All-ACC selections safety Deunta Williams and corner back Kendric Burney (right). Williams and Burney, paired with their fellow seniors, cornerback Charles Brown and strong safety Da'Norris Searcy, form one of the best secondaries in the college ranks.
To continue reading about North Carolina and find out about quarterback T.J. Yates and linebacker Bruce Carter, click this link: http://fieldofdreamz.blogspot.com/2010/07/college-football-countdown-team_11.html