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UNC Football: A record book preview

Let’s look ahead at some Tar Heel records that could fall in 2021.

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Texas A&M vs North Carolina Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

With the football season rapidly approaching, let’s look at some things that this year’s North Carolina Tar Heels football team could do. We’re not looking at the final win-loss record, or what bowl game they could go to, instead let’s talk about stats and specificially what records various Tar Heels could set.

Single season and single game records are a little hard to predict as they depend on health and matchups, but there are some Heels nearing career records. Let’s take a look at some of the ones that could fall this season.

When you talk about the UNC record book and things someone could break this year, you pretty much have to start the conversation with quarterback Sam Howell. If he were to stay all four years, he would absolutely totally rewrite the Tar Heel passing record book. Instead, he’s probably going to leave after this year, and as long as he stays healthy, he’ll have to settle for rewriting many of the Carolina passing records.

Last season in the Orange Bowl, Howell recorded his 68th career touchdown pass, tying him for the all-time school record. In just two years, he managed to match what Darian Durant did in four. If everything goes to plan, Howell should make the record all his own at some point in the season opener against Virginia Tech.

Beyond that one, there are several other record that UNC’s QB should set at some point this year. He’s a little more than 2100 yards away from setting the career passing yardage list, and considering that’s he’s topped 3500 in both of his two seasons so far, he probably should reach that one. If UNC can make the ACC Championship Game, he stands a chance at the all-time completion record, although it will require him making a run at Mitch Trubisky’s single season record of 304.

The passing records in general skew pretty recent, but Howell potentially dominating them in what will likely be just a three-year career would be very impressive.

The other player with a chance at multiple records is fifth-year senior Tomon Fox. He’s already cracked the top 10 all-time in both sacks and tackles for loss, and has a chance to move further up that list this year.

The all-time lead in either is probably out of his reach, but he can pass still pass some notable names. He’s put up 20 sacks so far in his career, meaning he’s gone for about five a year. If he matches that, he will move up to third all-time behind just Greg Ellis and Julius Peppers. That would also put him ahead of some guy named Lawrence Taylor. Using the same logic for tackles for loss, he would put up eight this year and finish sixth all-time.

With so much turnover at the skill positions on offense, there’s probably no one who can make a run at any career record at those spots, but if UNC lives up to it’s potential, they’re probably going to have some players make a run at single season or single game marks.

Thanks to a perfect record and high scoring offense, Grayon Atkins racked up a lot of made extra points last season, so he can get pretty high on that list if the Tar Heel offense is good again.

Should UNC have the type of season we think they’re capable of, there could be several other records beyond the ones mentioned that could go down. I, for one, would love to see it.

Thanks to the UNC Media Guide for the info used in looking up these records.