UNC Scouting Report: NC A&T Aggies


Yes, there are actually other teams in North Carolina besides Duke, NC State, UNC and Wake Forest. Do not be surprised if NC A&T challenges the Tar Heels in the early going. The Aggies are coming off a 9-3 season in which they tied for the conference title. In late-July, they were picked to win the MEAC.

Explosive Backfield – Tarik Cohen

Tarik Cohen is the biggest threat to the UNC defense. He is small in stature – just 5’6’’, 173-pounds – but Cohen makes up for it with ridiculous agility and quickness (4.3 40-yd dash time – insert fire emojis).  In the NC A&T opener versus Shaw, Cohen rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns in a 61-7 victory. Considering UNC gave up 254 rushing yards to South Carolina last week, Cohen was probably discussed in the film room quite a bit.

Cohen already has two 1,000-yd rushing seasons and has rushed for over 200 yards three times. Last season, he rushed for 1,340 yards and 15 touchdowns while averaging 6.8 yard per carry. He led the MEAC in rushing, total touchdowns and was second in all-purpose yards with 143.4. The effort earned him the MEAC co-Offensive Player of the Year.  This season, Cohen is favored to win the honors once again.  Oh, and he also catches footballs while doing back-flips. No big deal.

Huge Aggie Wall – Wes Cole & Brandon Parker

North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina Tar Heels /

North Carolina Tar Heels

There is a reason why Cohen has had so much success. Last season, NC A&T had three offensive linemen earn All-MEAC honors. For the 2015 season, Wes Cole and Brandon Parker are on All-MEAC preseason teams. Both are massive players – Cole is 6’6’’, 335 pounds and Parker is 6’7’’, 279 pounds (Parker benches 300 pounds). Honestly, UNC shouldn’t have too much of a problem with the Aggie O-line, but they should still be taken seriously. If you want to stop Cohen, you have to get through these guys first.

Stout D-Line and Secondary – Tony McRae and Marquis Ragland

NC A&T was no slouch on defense in the 2014 season. The Aggies gave up just 13.9 points per game, the fewest in the MEAC and were fourth in total defense, giving up 302.9 yards per game. It’d be amazing if UNC can allow less than 400 yards per game, let alone 300, but that’s beside the point. There are several play-makers on this side of the ball for the Aggies, but defensive back Tony McRae and defensive lineman Marquis Ragland stand out.

In 2014, McRae finished as a First Team All-MEAC performer, and Ragland grabbed second-team honors. Ragland busted through the offensive lines and tallied 15.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks and three blocked kicks. The redshirt junior lineman runs a 4.88 and can squat 525 pounds – so, it would be surprising if he is in the Tar Heel backfield a few times in the early quarters.  McRae is a bit undersized at 5’9’’, but his stats don’t reflect the disadvantage. He intercepted five balls and had 16 passes defended. He is already making noise this season – against Shaw last week, he had one interception and returned it 12 yards.