Former UNC legend Julius Peppers is going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
What a moment for a Tar Heel legend— Carolina Football (@UNCFootball) February 9, 2024
Peppers is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and heads a seven-member Class of 2024. Patrick Willis, Andre Johnson, Devin Hester, Dwight Freeney, Steve McMichael, and Randy Gradishar will join Peppers in Canton, Ohio this August.
The Carolina Panthers have four Hall of Famers, but Peppers will be the first member that was drafted by the organization. He was selected with the second overall pick of the 2002 NFL Draft out of North Carolina (after failed first-overall pick, quarterback David Carr) and was the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Peppers would go on to play ten combined years for the Panthers, with four years in Chicago and three years in Green Bay in between his stints in Charlotte. He was named to the Pro Bowl nine times, was an All-Pro First Teamer three times, All-Pro Second Teamer three times, and was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. Peppers has the fourth most all-time sacks in NFL history with 159.5, the second most all-time forced fumbles with 52, and 11 interceptions (second-most for a defensive lineman). Ladies and gentlemen, that combination of stats is insane.
At UNC, Julius Peppers redshirted his freshman season in 1998, then exploded onto the scene. He amassed 177 tackles, 30.5 sacks, 53 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions, and 5 forced fumbles for the Tar Heels. In 2001 he was a unanimous first-team All-American and won the Chuck Bednarik Award for the nation’s top defensive player.
Let’s also not forget that Julius Peppers played two seasons with the Carolina basketball team, helping Bill Guthridge’s 1999-2000 squad reach the Final Four. While his stats on the hardwood (5.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg) weren’t as impressive as they were on the gridiron, Peppers was not just some mascot along for the ride. As you can imagine, he was a physical force in the paint and helped hold opposing front courts in check, especially when Brendan Haywood and Kris Lang were in foul trouble.
(2001) UNC DE Julius Peppers throws down the alley from UNC QB Ronald Curry to tie it up! Classic. pic.twitter.com/MFrtDZOGht— Timeless Sports (@timelesssports_) February 1, 2019
Peppers is one of only two players (along with Donovan McNabb) to reach both a Final Four and Super Bowl.
Congratulations to an all-time Tar Heel great!