This spring the Tar Heel Coaching staff will be looking for a receiver or two that can provide consistently the production left by Dwight Jones graduation to the NFL. Every spring fans hear whispers of how great Jheranie Boyd looks, or that Sean Tapley is showing strides in practice. The idea of spreading the field out and installing a fast paced no huddle will be a breath of fresh air after seeing the methodical pro style game with Coach Davis.
As far as 2012 goes this position appears to be the most wide open on the team. Consistency is what has been in some cases an issue in maintaining a prominent role in the offense. The player I look to first is Erik Highsmith. Highsmith has gotten better each year and when healthy has shown the most consistent route running abilities. T.J. Thorpe is the guy I see exploding in this offense. He thrived on special teams and will benefit from an uptempo pace that puts ball out in spaces for him to highlight the ability to run after the catch.
When we witnessed Jheranie Boyd’s performance against LSU in Atlanta we all immediately labeled him as the next star. While the speedster has the LSU game in his credentials along with the great catch on the road in Blacksburg. Teams have played very physically with him while also rolling help over the top to keep him from running free. Boyd has the skills to be an NFL receiver, but his technique must improve specifically within the first few steps off the ball.
Eric Ebron, a tight end, could benefit in the spread offense especially split out with match ups on linebackers. He has demonstrated receiver skills, but possesses the body of a tight end to become that safety net that Renner will need to move the chains on 3rd down. The receiving core has a lot of talent, but without Dwight Jones they also need someone to step up and be that primary receiver.
On the offensive side of the ball wide receiver will be a battle worth watching this spring, and this is a story that will most likely continue into fall camp without being settled until a few games have been played.
Stay tuned as Haley breaks down Tar Heel spring football following the spring game on April 14 at 3:00pm.
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