After separating his left shoulder in the win against NC State, Bryn Renner’s college career has come officially closed. It was a sad day for the fifth-year senior. It was a sad day for Tar Heel nation. Renner has been the man with the ball in his hands since day one in new coach Larry Fedora’s system and has been a major bright spot for UNC football fans. Transitioning from former coach Butch Davis to Fedora’s spread offense has been relatively smooth for the Virginia native—which is a testament to the work ethic he brings and the mental acuity of the quarterback who will no longer take snaps for the Tar Heels. We salute you.
Renner finishes his shortened senior season with 1765 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He will go down as third all-time in UNC’s program behind T.J. Yates and Darian Durant in the categories of attempts and completions (66%), touchdowns (64), and passing yards (8,221). Bryn also threw 26 touchdowns his sophomore season and 28 touchdowns last year—setting the first and second record for the most passing single-season touchdowns at UNC. He finishes this season currently ranked third among active ACC quarterbacks, averaging 252 passing yards per game.
These are impressive numbers. These aren’t the only impressive parts of Bryn Renner, though. It’s his toughness.
Consider this: he was brought in by Butch Davis, who was gone after his sophomore season—where Renner threw 26 touchdowns. He set the record for most single-season passing touchdowns that year. Larry Fedora is brought in, along with a complicated run-and-gun style of offense. Then, he goes out in his junior year and breaks his sophomore record by throwing 28 touchdowns. This is all with a new coach, a new system, and an atrocious secondary that forced UNC to nearly always outscore their opponents in order to win.
Then, this year, they begin the seasons without All-American Giovani Bernard. The secondary is still shaky. A new defensive-line coach is brought in. They currently sit 111th in the nation in rushing yards per game at an abysmal 108.4 yards a game. The Tar Heels’ defense gives up an average of 26.6 points per game—forcing UNC’s offense to score four touchdowns or more to win every game. The defense is 86th in the nation in this category.
Compare this to the Tar Heels’ ranking of 19th best in the nation in passing yards per game at 302 per outing. This is mostly thanks to Renner and backup quarterback Marquise Williams. The majority of the touches this season have gone to the fifth year senior, Bryn. That means he’s nearly single-handedly the reason why UNC hasn’t completely been dominated.
For some reason though, I hear criticism of him this year. Sure, he moves around the pocket and scrambles too much. That’s because he’s trying to score us four touchdowns in order to have a fighting shots. We all know the running game isn’t going to do that. Defenses game plan specifically for Bryn and now that he’s gone, I think Tar Heel nation will really come to understand the phrase, ‘don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone’.
Renner has been an incredible asset for the Tar Heels throughout not just this year, but throughout his entire career in Chapel Hill. He’s had to endure coaching changes, an All-American running back leaving, sub-standard secondary defense, and murmuring criticism from UNC faithful.
Through it all though, he’s been confident and consistent. The third-highest ranked quarterback in Tar Heels’ history will be missed. We salute you Bryn, and hope to see you get a chance come Sundays.