Editors Note: With great pleasure I’d like to introduce you to Keeping It Heel’s newest staff writer Jim Milbrandt
There was no mistake that the number one issue facing this young Tar Heel team as the 2012 campaign kicked off was their lack of depth on both sides of the ball. Head coach Larry Fedora made note of this at ACC Media day when he said Tight End was the only position that he felt comfortable with. The Heels feature a trio of young talented tight ends in Jack Tabb, Eric Ebron and Sean Fitzpatrick. As fall practice was set to get underway there appeared to be an open competition for playing time at the tight end slot. Coach Fedora knew he was sitting on a wealth of talent, I am not sure he knew that one of the best tight ends in the country would emerge from this group.
Eric Ebron is a product of Smith High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Scout.com listed Ebron as the 20th best tight end prospect in the county during his senior year at Smith. Eric had an up and down Freshman season that included 10 catches for 207 yards and one touchdown. The hire of Coach Larry Fedora would change the outlook of the entire Heels squad and be the catalyst for what would lead to a record breaking season for Eric Ebron.
Coach Fedora and his spread offense are currently scoring 40.5 points per game, good for tenth best in the country. Ebron has been a consistent force. He currently has 37 catches, breaking the mark for most catches by a North Carolina tight end which was previously held by Ryan Taylor with 36. He has also accounted for 568 receiving yards shattering the record for UNC tight ends which was set back in 1979 by Mike Chatham.
If there has been one knock on Eric it would be his perceived lack of focus which have accounted for several penalties during the season. I have seen every play of every game this year and what some may see as a determent, I see as a positive. Coach Fedora preaches a fast, smart and physical style of play and Ebron is the epitome of just that. He is playing full out from snap to whistle, keep in mind Eric will not celebrate his 20th birthday until April 10th of 2013, he is still just a young man that is learning from game to game.
Tar Heel nation will not have a chance to see this current roster play in a bowl game this season but with the plethora of talented that will back to kick off 2013 optimism is at an all time high for the team and for Eric Ebron who will enter his Junior season as the odds on favorite to bring the Mackey Award to Chapel Hill.