Five Tar Heels To Watch Against MTSU


So far, UNC’s numbers aren’t so good. Through one game, the Tar Heels are ranked 74th in passing yards, 90th in rushing yards, 104th in “points for”, and 63rd in “points against” categories. Granted, we did run into the number six ranked team and baddest overall player in all the land. UNC will look to pick it up against Middle Tennessee State University this Saturday. Chapel Hill will be on the rebound from a tough loss, but with many lessons learned. Five Tar Heels to keep your eyes on will be as follows:


1) Bryn Renner

Some people might think this one’s too obvious. Of course, we need to keep an eye on him. He’s the quarterback. Don’t overthink this one, though. The man just had his life flash before his eyes a million times less than a week ago when he would glance across the huddle at Jadeveon Clowney. Even though Clowney looked tired some plays, let’s not fool ourselves. He’s still a bad, bad man capable of ruining somebody’s day in a heartbeat—just ask Michigan running backs.

Renner did a lot of really good things to take away from Thursday’s game against USC. He did a great job at avoiding contact and staying aware of defensive players and their opportunistic hands. Renner had a touchdown, just under 200 yards passing, and zero picks. These are admirable stats, given the pressure situation. He never buckled. I look for him to drop bombs on Middle Tennessee State on Saturday. Call it redemption or call it flexing. Whatever you do, call it touchdowns.

2) Romar Morris

This is most interesting to me, personally. Morris didn’t make any huge mistakes against the Gamecocks. Let’s be honest, though. It was an underwhelming performance. The sophomore had 15 carries and 69 yards with no touchdowns. There were no fumbles mind you, but there was not enough production to make a significant impact for the Tar Heels this game. Morris is only a sophomore with tons of upside potential. He will improve and grow as a back. Against Mid Tennessee, I look for him to find pay dirt at least once and hit 85-plus yards on the ground.

3) Eric Ebron

Ebron had 3 receptions for 32 yards against South Carolina. That gives an average of 10.7 yards per catch, which really opens the field for Bryn Renner when the Tar Heels are trying to poke holes in the defense. Eric is way too talented a receiving tight-end for him only get three catches, though. The Heels are missing out if they don’t make him a focal point for the offense. He’s Mr. Reliable. At 6’4’’, 245 pounds, he’s yanked in 53 receptions for 864 yards and 5 touchdowns over his career. Against the Blue Raiders, head coach Larry Fedora will make Ebron a much more available target. I’m looking for at least 5 receptions and 50 yards out of the big man.

4) Quinshad Davis

Davis was the sole bright spot for the Tar Heels’ offense with a touchdown reception. UNC knew Renner would do well, but it’s nice to see the receiving core pulling weight. He found the back of the end zone for UNC’s only touchdown against USC. The 6’4’’, 205 pound sophomore has a lot of upside potential and looks to be steadily improving. Against Mid Tennessee, he will be looked to as an emerging leader for Chapel Hill’s offense. I’m hoping for another touchdown and 70-plus yards receiving for the young man.

5) Johnathan Howard

Who? Who is Johnathan Howard? He’s the dark horse of UNC’s offense this year, I’m calling it right now—and hoping he doesn’t prove me wrong. The 6’4’’, 195 pound receiver had two receptions for 32 yards in his debut against a stout USC defense. Mostly, the defensive attention is going to be paid to Renner/Morris/Davis/Ebron this season and the freshman Howard has the intangibles (size) to make him a viable open target oppositions won’t plan for. Middle Tennessee State would be a great welcome-to-the-receiving-club type of game for the young man. Here’s hoping for Fedora to give the freshman some reps and for him to pull in 4 receptions for 50-plus yards.