Top UNC Football players for 2017 season: No. 25 Noah Ruggles

The 2017 College Football season is right around the corner. Keeping It Heel takes a look at the top 25 players on UNC’s roster

April is here.

A college basketball national champion has been crowned, the college baseball season is in full swing and it’s Spring Practice time for college football.

Yep, college football.

With opening day kickoff now only five months away, we are just around the corner from the return of UNC football.

The Tar Heels are coming off a disappointing season that ended in a Sun Bowl loss to Stanford.

Expectations were high entering the season for UNC, coming off one of the best years in program history when they won the ACC Coastal Division in 2015.

It’s a new year and with that comes new hope. UNC is losing a lot of talent from both sides of the ball but there is still plenty of talent left on the roster.

Keeping It Heel is going to help you countdown the weeks until football season by revealing our list of the top 25 UNC players for the upcoming season.

So let’s get started with a Freshman who will have some big shoes to fill.

25

Noah Ruggles (Freshman)

Position: Place Kicker

Hometown: Odessa, Florida

High School: Steinbrenner

Last Season: Noah Ruggles had a strong senior season at Steinbrenner. The 6-foot-3,180-pound kicker went 9-for-12 on field goal attempts. This included a long of 57 yards.

Ruggles also handled the punting for the Warriors, making him a two-way kicker.

Here are some of Noah’s highlights:

Noah made several all-conference teams and was the Hillsborough All Star Game Offensive MVP for 2016.  Ruggles ranked as the 12th-best kicker for ESPN and ninth-best for 247 sports.

Why he might move up this list: North Carolina produces a lot of points in their offenses. This leads to a lot of extra points and field goal attempts. Last season, Nick Weiler scored 96 points in this offense.

Ruggles clearly has a strong leg and is fairly accurate. He was very successful at John Gruden’s camp. If the Tar Heels offense keeps up the scoring, Ruggles will have opportunities.

Why he might move down this list: Ruggles isn’t even guaranteed to be the starting kicker for UNC this season. Junior Freeman Jones has been at UNC the past two seasons and will be looking to give it his all and take over for the departed Weiler. It should be an interesting competition in spring and summer practices.

Prediction: Sure Jones is the incumbent, but there is a reason Ruggles picked UNC. Jones has mainly only kicked onside kicks and extra points. Ruggles gives the Tar Heels the distance that Weiler provided last season.

Ruggles beats out Jones for the starting job. He finishes scoring over 100 points by not missing an extra point while knocking down 18-of-24 field goals.