Top UNC Football players for 2017: No. 21 Brandon Fritts

Keeping It Heel continues its countdown of the top 25 players on the North Carolina Tar Heels roster with player No. 21

#25 Noah Ruggles | #24 Tomon Fox | #23 Jordan Cunningham | #22 Tyler Powell

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

Sure, you may be busy keeping up with the NBA playoffs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break to get a little more football in your life.

So let’s get started with player No. 21, a junior who came on strong last year as the season went along.

21

Brandon Fritts (Junior)

Position: Tight End

Hometown: Mentor, Ohio

High School: Mentor

Last Season: Brandon Fritts missed six games last season due to an ankle injury he suffered early in the season-opening loss to Georgia. Once he returne,d he finished the season with six receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown.

A lot was expected from Fritts in his sophomore season. Not only did he have a connection with starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky (they attended the same high school), he was coming off a freshman campaign in which he had 16 receptions for 203 yards and four touchdowns.

Obviously, the injury slowed him down, though, once he returned it didn’t take him long to be productive. Fritts had at least one reception in each of his last five games, including the bowl loss to Stanford.

Nov 19, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Brandon Fritts (82) with a touchdown catch as Citadel Bulldogs defensive back Malik Diggs (21) defends in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Why he might move up this list: With no clear signal caller on this team, whoever runs the team will need a trustworthy tight end to catch the ball.

Fritts has shown that when he’s healthy he can be a safety net for th quarterback, having provided one for both Marquise Williams and Trubisky.

Why he might move down this list: Probably the biggest question for Fritts is his health. Though he has only had the ankle injury so far in his career, he is of no use to anyone on the sidelines.

Additionally, there are several players Fritts will have to fight with for the starting tight end position. One of those is Carl Tucker, who played last season when Fritts went down. Tucker finished the season with nine receptions and 130 yards, more than the rest of the team’s tight ends combined.

Another player Fritts should be aware of is redshirt freshman Garrett Walston. Walston and Tucker were both higher ranked recruits than Fritts and will provide competition this spring.

Prediction: UNC has not had a playmaker at the tight end position since Eric Ebron was an All-American in 2013. Fritts is not as good as Ebron, but could easily be a weapon in the passing game.

At 6-foot-4 and 245-pounds, Fritts becomes the redzone option the that Tar Heels desperately need. He finishes the season with 25 catches for 350 yards and eight touchdowns.