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Football News and Notes[UPDATED]

Tar Heels shine in the NFL playoffs and Devon Ramsay gets more time.

  • Two former Tar Heels made the most of their NFL playoff appearances over the weekend. On Saturday, QB T.J. Yates became only the fifth rookie to win in his playoff debut. Yates went 11-20 for 159 yards and threw a crucial 40-yard TD pass to Andre Johnson to help the Houston Texans defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10. Yates has found himself in a really good spot with a stellar defense and a high caliber running back in Arian Foster. Now he will really be tested at Baltimore next week. Former UNC WR/KR Brandon Tate wound up on the losing end of Saturday's matchup but cameras caught Tate embracing his former QB Yates postgame.

  • On Sunday, Hakeem Nicks, a former target for Yates at UNC, had a huge game in leading the New York Giants to a 24-2 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Nicks had 115 yards receiving and two TDs, the second one of the 72-yard variety to open the Giants lead up. Nicks has been playing well but this is a huge breakout game since it game in the playoffs. Oh and yes, Nicks hands are still huge and he holds the football like one of us would hold one of those mini-footballs.

  • The NCAA has granted UNC FB Devon Ramsay a sixth season of eligibility after the senior missed most of 2010 being wrongly penalized for academic fraud then injuring his knee in the 2011 opener versus James Madison which ended that season. The ruling is a rare show of grace by the governing body and is tantamount to them saying, "Hey Devon, sorry about totally screwing you over in 2010, how about another season of football and we'll call it even!" Two questions arise from this however. One, how useful is Devon Ramsay going to be in Larry Fedora's spread offense? My initial take is "not much" but we will see. Secondly, now the NCAA has given Ramsay an additional season will they follow-up next week by telling him that season won't include a bowl game? I know the two aren't tied together but it would be perfect NCAA logic to grant a player a sixth season but then ban the team he's on from postseason play.
  • UNC backup QB Braden Hanson(who graduated in December) has decided to transfer to North Dakota for his final season. This should not come as a shock since (1) he was never going to beat out Bryn Renner and (2) in Larry Fedora's spread offense I would expect A.J. Blue or Marquise Williams to move up the depth chart to at least the backup position.