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UNC Football: Kaimon Rucker makes PFF’s top 10 returning edge rushers

The Butcher prepares for his senior season with big expectations.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 SDCCU Holiday Bowl Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kaimon Rucker has quietly emerged as one of Carolina’s most reliable pass rushers. A tad undersized by NFL standards, the “Butcher” has been a ferocious tool in defensive coordinator Gene Chizik’s cabinet, especially after the season ending injuries to Noah Taylor and Des Evans. Rucker responded to the increased responsibility by leading the team in sacks (3.5) and sack yardage (24).

With eyes towards the 2023 season, Rucker’s tenacity and versatility will be put to the test. UNC ranked 116 out of 131 D1 teams in team defense (last in the ACC) and one of the main culprits was a woeful pass rush. As a team, Carolina only amassed 17 sacks in 14 games, better than just three D1 teams. Three.

Despite this historical lack of output, Kaimon Rucker is regarded highly enough to garner preseason hype from Pro Football Focus, ranking ninth in their returning edge rusher watchlist:

Rucker has played all over UNC’s defensive line, and actually faces stiff competition on his own team for a starting spot. Florida State transfer Amari Gainer will battle for the starting Jack spot, and a healthy Des Evans figures to recapture the starting strong end position. However the two-deep breaks down, you can be sure that Kaimon Rucker will see plenty of snaps next season, and create plenty of havoc.