Can Bentley Spain Be North Carolina’s Left Tackle of the Future?


Bentley Spain jumped into the starting lineup this spring season over John Ferranto. Can Spain be UNC’s Left Tackle of the future?

The biggest news coming out of spring ball, in my opinion, was Bentley Spain‘s jump up to the top of the depth chart over John Ferranto at left tackle. This is a big deal. Ferranto was basically a 13 game starter for the Tar Heels, and was a good, not great, not awful, tackle last season. The fact that Spain was able to leapfrog Ferranto and take hold of the starting position heading into the fall is great news for Spain and hopefully good news for the Tar Heel offensive line next fall.

Here is some insight on the move from Chris Kapilovic, via an Inside Carolina article.

"For Kapilovic, the fact that Spain has really begun to capitalize on that potential was the driving force that pushed him ahead of Ferranto on the depth chart.“He has been consistently giving better every day,” Kapilovic said. “… I still want to find the guy when I went to his high school games, the guy that was finishing every block. I think the more confidence he gets, that will come, but he’s starting to be that guy that we recruited.”"

“That guy we recruited” was pretty darn good. Spain was a four star tackle out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and the 114th best player in the ESPN 300 in his class, the Class of 2014. Spain was one of the biggest recruiting gets of the Fedora tenure so far, and it is good to see that he is starting to realize his potential a little bit.

It is also important to remember that Spain is taking over for Ferranto and could turn the left tackle spot into a position of weakness on the offense into possibly a position of strength. Ferranto had good games and bad games, but his bad games were really bad. Take a look at a few plays from the Clemson game…

Remember that Ferranto was going up against Vic Beasley, a really talented defensive end for the Tigers and probably a top 10 draft pick in the NFL Draft coming up soon. But still, Ferranto failed to put up much of an effort. There were multiple plays where Ferranto just whiffed and his quarterback, Marquise or Mitch, suffered great personal harm after the sack or tackle.

Let’s just take a look at a few plays from Ferranto…

That play below was a mess, but it wasn’t all Ferranto’s fault. Nobody did a great job there.

Okay that’s pretty bad.

Also bad. Even Ferranto plus Romar Morris couldn’t slow Beasley.

Poor Marquise gets crushed here.

Another ouch.


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Granted, that was only looking at one game, and remember, Vic Beasley is really good. But Ferranto had more plays like that this season than you want in your left tackle. The hope is that Spain can step in next fall and right away be much better than Ferranto was. And if Spain can sure up the left tackle spot, UNC could end up having an overall strength at the offensive line, which bodes well for the run game and for Marquise, which bodes well for the offensive as a whole.

We haven’t see Bentley Spain play lots of snaps against quality competition yet. But if he can play up to his potential and play like he looked in high school as a four star recruit down in Charlotte, UNC’s offense could get a big boost next season.

There are still a lot of days to go until UNC and South Carolina face off in Charlotte, but it is good that UNC just might have found their left tackle of the future.