A couple of news items from the now bowl eligible Tar Heel football team.
Larry Fedora announced during his Monday morning press conference that junior tight end Eric Ebron will forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. The announcement is being made now so Ebron can be honored with the seniors in his last home game at Kenan Stadium. Here is the full release from UNC.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina junior tight end Eric Ebron has elected to forego his final year of eligibility and enter the 2014 NFL Draft following UNC’s bowl game. A native of Greensboro, N.C., Ebron leads the Tar Heels with 50 receptions for 774 yards and has three touchdowns.
“I’ve had a great time in Chapel Hill and I appreciate everything Coach Fedora and the coaching staff has done for me,” said Ebron. “Coming to Carolina allowed me to develop as both a person and a football player. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I look forward to finishing the season with my teammates and then moving on to the next level.”
Ebron holds the UNC single-season and career records for catches and receiving yards by a tight end. Entering Saturday’s regular-season finale vs. Duke, he has 100 career catches for 1,606 yards.
Ebron is ranked as the No. 12 overall player on ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper’s Big Board. He is ranked No. 14 by ESPN’s Todd McShay. Both analysts have him as the top tight end in the country.
Ebron is a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award, which is presented to the nation’s top tight end. He had his best game of the season in Carolina’s ESPN Thursday night loss to Miami when he hauled in a career-high eight catches for a career-high 199 yards. He was named the Mackey Award national tight end of the week and his 199 yards are a single-game UNC record for receiving yards by a tight end and the sixth-most by any Carolina player.
As noted in the release, Ebron is in the running for the John Mackey Award and should receive first team All-ACC honors though he could get some get some healthy competition from FSU's Nick O'Leary. Ebron is tenth in the ACC in total receiving yards but only has three touchdowns. O'Leary has seven scores and a higher yards per catch average.
Given Ebron's flair for the dramatic, it will be interesting to see if he goes out with a bang versus Duke on Saturday.