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UNC player to watch: Dazz Newsome

In a shocking twist on this season, a key player returns from an injury.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Wahoos of Virginia enter Chapel Hill on Saturday, riding high with a 4-1 record. The Heels are looking for any kind of spark to salvage a season that has tested even the most faithful Tar Heel fans. After three weeks of abysmal offensive production, offensive coordinator Chris Kapilovic and head coach Larry Fedora are looking for any kind of a spark to right the proverbial ship.

Fortunately, according to Tar Heel Illustrated, Dazz Newsome appears to be healed from a recent injury and is ready to offer his services. Typically, a converted freshman wide receiver (he was recruited as a cornerback), wouldn’t garner much attention in the South’s oldest rivalry. In three games, he only has three receptions for 66 yards. All but 12 of those yards came on one play against Louisville (see below). He added another 11 yards on 1 carry.

Those numbers don’t indicate he’s a candidate to “break out” or will be an “x-factor.” They don’t even register an, “Oh good, UNC really missed him”. At this point in the season, and staring at a potential 1-5 record, does it matter? The Heels have lost at least four wide receivers (and tight end Carl Tucker) for the season.

Anthony Ratliff-Williams has been the only consistent receiving threat, and without any help one could argue the context of “consistent.” The lack of remaining pass-catching talent has also had an adverse effect on the running game. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Or both.

Newsome’s return, at a minimum, puts an explosive athlete back on the field. That alone is a victory.

Dazz also is football’s version of a triple threat at the wide receiver position. He has speed to burn his defender deep, quickness needed in the slot, and the elusiveness to be dangerous out of the backfield. Exhibit A, is the above play against Louisville. All three of those traits were on display on that shifty scamper down the field. For a team that has issues in both the passing and running game, Newsome’s expected return should offer a Swiss army knife of options.

Besides, who else is left?