Heels In The Pros: Former UNC Standout TJ Yates 1 Snap From Spotlight


Follow us on Twitter@NN_Keepinitheel

Like us on Facebook

In the first part of an ongoing series here at Keeping It Heel we’ll take a look around the pro’s at former Tar Heels and take a peak at how their pro careers are going.  Who’s in the news?  What Heel’s are up and coming in the pro ranks?  Who’s surging and who’s falling off?  We’ll keep you up to speed right here at Keeping It Heel.

UNC career passer may be best chance to win in Houston.

With Houston Texans starting Quarterback Matt Schaub sidelined until the end of the regular season, former Tar Heel great TJ Yates finds himself even closer to making his NFL debut. Now when I say closer, this may be closer than most backups on other teams around the league being Matt Leinart is starting. The former USC standout Leinart is now in a position his hasn’t found much success in, starting at qb in the NFL. Knowing the lack of good football that Matt has played in the past I’m sure that Houston head coach Gary Kubiak knows what he has at number two.

From early on in the start of training camp, 5TH round draft pick TJ Yates has shown he may be more than up to the task. With original backup Leinart arriving to camp late Yates was taking great strides early on learning the Playbook quick and getting plenty of reps. The 6’3 220 lb rookie has been receiving praise from his entire coaching ever since. Texans quarterbacks coach Gregg Knapp has a pretty good track record too developing the likes of Jeff Garcia, Matt Ryan, and now Schaub. This only adds to the fact that TJ Yates is talented himself.

Upon leaving Chapel Hill, TJ Yates became the universities all-time career passing leader. His final two seasons as a Tar Heel showed he has the tools to succeed at the next level, having a 60+ completion % and senior year over 3400 yards passing, 19 TDS and only 9 INTs without his number one target and several starters out majority of the 2010 season. And if you can remember back to draft night, Trent Dilfer felt Yates may be one of the best pro-ready guys. This can relate to the pro-style offense he ran at Carolina. When Yates was asked earlier in the season in regards to the offense, he acknowledge a lot of the verbiage and overall offense was similar to that at UNC when he was there.

With that said there is no doubt in my mind TJ Yates can get it done. Now will he get the opportunity, UNC fans alike will have to wait and see. Being that it is the NFL, players get hurt and players underachieve on a weekly basis. Knowing those two things alone makes the odds good that any 2nd string player will eventually get his shot. And with the weapons that the Texans have on offense alone, (all-pros Arian Foster and Andre Johnson) one would think even Matt Leinart could be successful. Yet if that 7-3 record and AFC South lead begins to dwindle because of Matt Leinarts play or lack their of, the Houston Texans appear to have all the confidence in the 152nd overall pick TJ Yates. And why not? UNC fans and ACC foes alike all know this QB can play!