UNC Football: Andre Smith, Thomas Jackson out for season

The North Carolina Tar Heels revealed that three key players will miss the rest of the season

Just hours before their rivalry game against the Duke Blue Devils, the North Carolina Tar Heels football team received some bad news.

UNC has officially lost three starters to injury for the remainder of the 2017 season.

Linebacker Andre Smith, wide receiver Thomas Jackson and tackle William Sweet have been ruled out for the rest of the 2017 season according to UNC’s depth chart released on Thursday.

Smith suffered his injury in the Week 2 loss to Louisville, leaving the game and didn’t return. The Tar Heels didn’t exactly reveal what Smith is dealing with.

The loss is a big blow to the Tar Heels defense which has struggled this year. They have allowed big scoring plays in each of their three games so far this year and losing their captain likely won’t be any help.

Sophomore linebacker Jonathan Smith replaced Andre as he started in the Week 3 win over Old Dominion. He will assume the role again against Duke.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Tar Heels lose one of their more experienced wide receivers.

The senior had 7 receptions for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first three games of the year but was injured in the win over Old Dominion. It appeared to be a knee injury for Jackson who never returned to the game.

With the loss of Jackson, more attention will be turned to Austin Proehl.

The senior will need to step up and have an even bigger season for this Tar Heels offense. The same can be said for Jordan Cunningham as well.

UNC’s offensive line depth was already a big question mark this season and now the loss of Sweet hurts it even more.

The unit has struggled to be consistent this year, often breaking down in pass protections. Sweet’s injury also occurred in the Old Dominion game.

As for the shuffling on the offensive line, we will have to wait and see what Fedora does to address it come Saturday.

Duke’s defensive line is among the best in the conference and presents another tough test for the unit.

In related injury news, defensive tackle Jalen Dalton is doubtful for Saturday’s game. He was spotted in a walking boot following the win over Old Dominion.