Going into Sam Howell’s final season, with top-notch targets Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown having advanced to the NFL along with backfield behemoths Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, there was plenty of hand-wringing about who would step up as a weapon for the QB from Indian Trail. Sam ended up nobly trying to do it all himself, with a bit of Josh Downs sprinkled in, but with underwhelming results.
Entering this season, with Downs having exited to the NFL in his own right, questions arose as to who Drake Maye, in his presumed final season, would have left to throw the ball to. Sure, there were a few transfers and a couple of returning players, but no proven commodities.
Kobe Paysour certainly seemed poised to be ‘that guy,’ having stepped up during the App State game last year, when Josh Downs was injured, to the tune of eight catches, 92 yards and a TD. He also closed the season with seven receptions for 98 yards and a score in the bowl game vs. Oregon.
Unfortunately, injuries are an inevitable part of all sports, especially football.
It was confirmed just before the game against Miami on Saturday that the sophomore wideout had suffered a potentially season-ending foot injury in practice earlier in the week.
“Nooooooo!” Tar Heel nation exclaimed.
So where does Carolina go from here? What are the implications moving forward?
While this puts a dent in the WR depth, UNC is blessed with a plethora of options to brace against the adversity. Obviously, after overcoming Lex Luthor (the NCAA), Tez Walker took off his Clark Kent glasses and went full-on Superman on Saturday, hauling in 6 catches for 132 yards and 3 scores! So let’s expect more of that ridiculousness. Nate McCollum and J.J. Jones look to be fully up to the task as well.
But wait, the Tar Heels are also loaded at tight end with the trio of Bryson Nesbit, John Copenhaver, and Kamari Morales. And let’s certainly not forget the beast coming out of the backfield, Omarion Hampton. This offense is balanced, bullish, and big-time.
Thankfully UNC, as a top-10 team nationally (had to add; don’t get to say that often) has plenty of weapons to withstand the challenge of losing a playmaker like Paysour.
However... Coach Mack Brown, in his latest presser, said Kobe’s season may not be over. A return is still possible for the Kings Mountain native. So we may very well see #8 back on the field before the season ends.
6-0! Let’s go!