In order for a high powered spread offense to work successfully, you have to have guys that can make plays on offense. Fortunately for second year head coach Larry Fedora, the Tar Heels are loaded with talent on the offensive side of the football heading into the 2013 season.
The corps of players on offense this season is a pretty veteran group and should be equally as talented and potent as they were a season ago even without key players such as Gio Bernard and Jonathon Cooper. However, even with all the veterans in the fold, there is a bevy of talented freshman waiting in the wings to get their shot and if history tells us anything, there will be at least one that will make the absolute most of it.
Last season, a young wide receiver named Quinshad Davis really emerged as the cornerstone of the Carolina receiving attack and set freshmen school records for most receptions (61) and receiving yards (776). The year before that, a young redshirt freshman named Gio Bernard burst onto the scene and reminded everyone why North Carolina was once known as “Running Back U” with his playmaking ability.
This year, my candidate for break out freshman goes to a guy named TJ Logan. Logan would seem like an obvious choice to many based on his hype and stats coming out of high school, but I think his transition into breaking out as a college football player will take a bit of a different route.
Even with Gio gone, the running back position, which is Logan’s natural position, is still crowded. Senior AJ Blue and sophomore Romar Morris will be a very solid one two punch for Fedora and should get the bulk of the snaps. Even after those two, true freshmen Khris Francis is primed to compete for any leftover snaps that may be available after proving in the spring game that he is quite capable of making a play or two.
As for Logan, once practice starts and he really gets an opportunity to show what he can do, the coaching staff will learn that they can’t afford to keep him off the field. Logan possesses a rare combination of speed and agility that make him nearly impossible to tackle in the open field. His second step is just as quick, if not quicker, than his first step and his instincts for finding a hole are second to none. All of his talent and ability really make him such a dynamic weapon in an offensive scheme that thrives on speed and skill.
North Carolina opens up their season in Columbia, SC against their border rival the South Carolina Gamecocks in what will be a true showcase game and a huge opportunity for a program that’s faced tons of adversity, to really display their talent in front of the entire country. As I said before, you can’t afford to keep all of that playmaking ability on the bench.
The Tar Heels aren’t going to pound the Gamecocks over the course of the game so the likelihood of seeing Logan getting a substantial amount of handoffs at running back is unlikely. However, we will most certainly see him in special team situations and pass plays out of the backfield. I touched on the kid’s ability in space which means that Fedora will put him in situations where gets the ball already in space in order to gain maximum results early from such a dangerous player.
Logan isn’t going to come in as a freshman specializing in one thing like Gio and Quinshad did, but he is going to make an enormous impact. By the end of the season, we are going to look back on this kid’s performance and view him as the best utility athlete in recent years. His potential is off the charts and his talent is something Carolina fans will be excited raving about for years to come. If you don’t believe me, just watch the video.