After weeks of half-information, speculation, and implication, we finally have an official depth chart for the UNC football team’s first game of the season. It names starters, except for where it doesn’t, and an entire two-deep for the squad’s first action. Here it is, in full (minus their measurements, because we have a post addressing those already):
|Running Back||Michael Carter OR Javonte Williams||8, 25||Junior, Sophomore|
|Wide Receiver (outside)||Dyami Brown||2||Sophomore|
|Wide Receiver (slot)||Dazz Newsome||5||Junior|
|Wide Receiver (outside)||Antoine Green||3||Sophomore|
|Khafre Brown OR Beau Corrales||1, 15||Freshman, Junior|
|Tight End||Carl Tucker||86||Senior|
|Left Tackle||Charlie Heck||67||Senior|
|Left Guard||Ed Montilus||63||Freshman*|
|Right Guard||Marcus McKethan||63||Sophomore|
|Right Tackle||Jordan Tucker||74||Sophomore|
|End||Raymond Vohasek OR Tomari Fox||51, 56||Sophomore, Freshman|
|Outside Linebacker||Tomon Fox||12||Junior|
|Inside Linebacker||Jeremiah Gemmel||44||Sophomore|
|Inside Linebacker||Chazz Surratt||21||Junior|
|Outside Linebacker||Allen Cater OR Tyrone Hopper||33, 42||Senior, Junior|
|Storm Duck OR Obi Egbuna||29, 20||Freshman, Freshman|
|Nickel Back||D.J. Ford OR DeAndre Hollins||16, 15||Junior, Freshman*|
|Free Safety||Myles Dorn||1||Senior|
|Strong Safety||Myles Wolfolk||11||Junior|
|Kickoff Specialist||Michael Rubino||90||Graduate Senior|
|Punt Returner||Dazz Newsome||5||Junior|
|Corey Bell, Jr||9||Senior|
|Kick Returner||Michael Carter||8||Junior|
|Deep Snapper||Drew Little||61||Freshman|
|Short Snapper||Trevor Collins||60||Junior|
(Asterisks denote redshirt freshmen, as opposed to first-year freshmen)
A few quick notes and observations:
- Chazz Surratt is listed as one of the starting inside linebackers due to presumed starter Dominique Ross’ one-half suspension for his role in the fight that ended last season’s finale. Mack Brown admitted earlier today that he should have done the same for Greg Ross amid Patrice Rene’s suspension for the same thing, but overlooked it. There shouldn’t be more to read into the situation than that.
- The 3rd spot on Jay Bateman’s base 3-man front had been up for grabs, as there wasn’t really anybody on the roster in that hybrid 3-tech-to-5-tech mold. It looks like Ray Vohasek, the junior college transfer, has taken the reins there. While he’s not officially named the starter, Brown was complimentary of his toughness and the way he’s picked up the defense, so I expect to see him first on Saturday.
- The offensive line is a mosaic of experience. Charlie Heck has been a stalwart at blindside tackle and Nick Polino has provided a steady inside presence even though he’s moved around all three interior positions; meanwhile, McKethan, Montilus, and Tucker have one combined start (it was Tucker, taking over for an injured William Sweet late last year). The right side of the line in particular, with McKethan and Tucker, will be tested due to their youth and inexperience. Expect a lot of the tight end help to go that way, at least early on.
- That’s a deep and young wide receiver group, with not a senior in the bunch. Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome both played big roles last season and should hopefully be on track to continue their great run. Antoine Green has hopefully completed rehabbing his injury and can pick up where he left off, which was with a promising freshman season that was cut short. But they’ll likely rotate a fair bit with the pieces behind them, where the experience continues to be a mixed bag from junior Beau Corrales, who some thought would start, to true freshmen Emery Simmons and Khafre Brown.
- Trey Morrison has moved from starting nickel corner to starting outside corner, though it looks like he’ll still take some snaps at nickel depending on the game situation. That leaves a question mark at nickel/third corner, because we haven’t seen much of Ford throughout his career and Hollins is a redshirt freshman who came to campus without much fanfare. Bateman’s defense demands that the secondary personnel be as fluid and versatile as possible, though, so that should correct for some of those depth issues.
- As expected, Ben Kiernan and Noah Ruggles are the starting punter and field goal kicker, respectively. Michael Rubino being kickoff specialist is mildly surprising if only because I don’t think a ton of programs have two separate kickers for those roles anymore. Drew Little will snap exclusively for punts, as he and Kiernan already have a connection, while Trevor Collins, who was the backup specialist snapper last year, will snap to Ruggles.
- The kickoff return position is an interesting one. Michael Carter makes sense, he’s extremely quick and knows how to make plays in a mostly vertical manner. Antonio Williams is more of a bruiser than a return-style guy, though, even if he’s not without burst. He might be listed there as the second returner to be a lead blocker, or maybe he’s just better than we realized in the open field.
- Speaking of Carter, the one starting position that looks truly up for grabs (nickel corner notwithstanding, as that’s only half a starting position anyways) is running back, where he and Javonte Williams have earned high praise from coaches, have shown themselves to be extremely good at the position, and fit the offense well. The position will rotate pretty heavily throughout the season and include Antonio Williams as well, but it’s interesting that the former two have seemingly entrenched themselves above the senior but haven’t established a hierarchy between each other.
What sticks out to you on this depth chart? How does it feel to have one 5 whole days before gameday? Sound off in the comments!