UNC Football: 5 dark horse Tar Heels that could break out in 2016

Nov 14, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Brandon Fritts (82) runs after a catch against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Tar Heels won 59 - 21. Mandatory Credit: Evan Pike-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Brandon Fritts (82) runs after a catch against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Tar Heels won 59 - 21. Mandatory Credit: Evan Pike-USA TODAY Sports /
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T.J. Logan, RB, #8; Senior

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite being behind star running back Elijah Hood on the depth chart, Hood is poised to have a breakout season and have a big impact on the Tar Heels offense.

Unlike Hood, Logan has not notched a 1,000-yard season under his belt as a Tar Heel. This is one of the reasons why he is on the list, in addition to his versatility as a football player.

Let’s look at how Logan has evolved as a complete player throughout his college career.

During his freshman year, Logan had 533 yards and four rushing touchdowns, 10 receptions for 124 yards, 19 kickoff returns for 511 and two touchdowns. He accomplished all of this in nine games.

During his sophomore season, Logan finished the season with 582 yards and three rushing touchdowns, 26 receptions for 144 yards and 16 kickoff returns for 205 yards.

Logan finished his junior season with 66 rushes for 400 yards and five touchdowns. In addition, he caught 11 passes for 151 yards and one touchdown. He also averaged 23.4 yards per kickoff return (21 returns for 492 yards). If you look solely at Logan’s rushing yards for the past three years, you may presume that he had his worst performance at UNC as a junior. However, I beg to differ. Elijah Hood joined the roster during Logan’s sophomore year. Logan’s role changed once Hood solidified himself as a power back.

Hood and Logan complement each other. Although Hood is the starting tailback, Logan is more versatile than Hood. Logan is the better receiver between the two. Moreover, Logan is an underrated kickoff returner.

Logan can play alongside Hood. Carolina has had success in the past with two running back sets. In 1983 and 1993, UNC had running back tandems where both individual players amassed 1,000 yards. In 1983, Ethan Horton had 1,107 rushing yards and Tyrone Anthony had 1,063 rushing yards. In 1993, Curtis Johnson had 1,034 rushing yards and Leon Johnson had 1,012 rushing yards. Carolina’s record in 1983 was 8-4 and 10-3 in 1993.

Wherever Logan is placed (backfield, wide receiver, special teams), he is poised to put up big numbers. Enjoy this highlight reel featuring T.J. Logan. Future NFL player? Very likely.