UNC Football: 2022 Positional Preview: Wide Receiver

Oct 16, 2021; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Josh Downs (11) scores a touchdown as Miami Hurricanes cornerback Te'Cory Couch (23) defends in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2021; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Josh Downs (11) scores a touchdown as Miami Hurricanes cornerback Te'Cory Couch (23) defends in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The UNC football offense includes one of the nation’s best pass catchers in Josh Downs and an abundance of talented receivers.

Despite the 2021 campaign turning into an underwhelming season for the UNC football program, the growth and success of the wide receiver room was a bright spot for the Tar Heels.

Assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway commanded the receiving corp, contributing to a Tar Heel attack that finished 10th in the country in total offense (468.2 YPG) and third in the conference in scoring (35.2 PPG).

With the 2022 season kicking off on Saturday against Florida A&M, the North Carolina offense will rely on new faces to replace their lost production, as four Tar Heel receivers exited Chapel Hill via the transfer portal.

Our 2022 position previews continue as we highlight Drake Maye’s targets at wideout, a group with some question marks, but one with one of the best receivers in the country at the top.

What We Know

With Sam Howell now playing in the NFL, there will be a new quarterback connecting with the Tar Heel receivers. After a lengthy and competitive battle for QB1 status, Drake Maye will start the season opener on Saturday.

We do know who the Tar Heels’ top target will be at wideout, but with Antoine Green out until at last Week 4 against Notre Dame, there is a void to fill in the receiver room.

Both returning contributors and newcomers will vie for playing time at wideout, making for some healthy competition on the offensive side of the ball.

The Key Players

Josh Downs

Josh Downs heads into his junior season undoubtedly the No. 1 receiver for the Tar Heels. Following a breakout season as a sophomore, he has emerged as one of the best receivers in the country.

In 2021, the Suwanee, Georgia native set North Carolina single-season records for receptions and receiving yards, hauling in 101 passes for 1,335 yards. The First Team All-ACC selection led the conference in receptions and ranked fifth in all of college football.

With Drake Maye making his first career start on Saturday, expect Downs to be an easy security blanket in the season opener and the go-to guy as the campaign continues.

2021 Stats: 101 receptions, 1,335 yards, eight touchdowns

Antoine Green

Following the best season of his career, Antoine Green was expected to maintain a major role in the North Carolina offense. After a collarbone injury in summer camp, he will now miss time, expecting to return on Sept. 24 against Notre Dame.

Green solidified himself as a starter in 2021, starting all 13 contests and ranking second in the ACC with 19.7 yards per reception.

With Green returning for his fifth and final season in Chapel Hill, his presence in the wide receiver room will be important for the growth of Drake Maye and the inexperienced quarterbacks.

If the Rockledge, Florida native recovers as scheduled, he should be a major contributor under Phil Longo once again.

2021 Stats: 31 receptions, 612 yards, and five touchdowns

J.J. Jones 

Coming into the UNC football program, J.J. Jones showed flashes of potential as a freshman, appearing in eight games for the Tar Heels.

With the departure of four contributing players to the transfer portal and the injury to Green, he will be provided ample opportunity to make an instant impact as a sophomore.

It was announced on Monday that Jones will be one of three starting receivers against Florida A&M, earning a spot on the outside.

2021 Stats: four receptions and 67 receiving yards

Gavin Blackwell

Although Blackwell appeared in just one game in his first year in Chapel Hill, the redshirt sophomore appears to have made a big leap in 2022.

The Indian Trail, North Carolina native was listed as a starting outside receiver on the initial depth chart, emerging into a bigger role in the offense.

A former four-star recruit, Blackwell was the No. 36 wide receiver in the class of 2021, beginning his high school career catching passes from UNC football legend Sam Howell.

2021 Stats: N/A


Andre Greene Jr. 

Mack Brown has already labeled Andre Greene Jr. as a future ‘superstar’ at North Carolina, maintaining the high expectations he brought with his commitment.

Greene Jr. was rated the No. 61 overall recruit and No. 8 wide receiver in the class of 2022 according to 247 Sports.

As the second-string outside receiver, he will receive an early opportunity to become a constant in the Tar Heel offense. There is certainly no rush to insert Greene Jr. into a major role, but with his talent and early impressions, he seems to be destined for a strong freshman season.

2021 Stats (High School):  42 receptions, 833 yards, and 15 touchdowns

Tychaun ‘Doc’ Chapman

Doc Chapman comes to North Carolina as part of their No. 11 ranked recruiting class. He was rated a four-star recruit and a top-25 wide receiver in the class of 2022.

With a bit of uncertainty and experience heading into the season opener, there is an avenue for Chapman to see playing time as a freshman.


The wide receiver room in Chapel Hill has one of the best receivers in all of college football, but can they find a solid No. 2 wideout in Antoine Green’s absence?

North Carolina has a plethora of receiver depth, but not a ton of receiver experience.

As a new quarterback and starting running back take over, the entire offense has question marks.

With early season contests against Florida A&M and Georgia State, Phil Longo should have multiple opportunities to rotate wideouts into the rotation.

The connections formed with Drake Maye will go a long way in determining the success of the Tar Heel offense and the 2022 season as a whole.

Depth Chart

Outside Receiver


BACKUP: Andre Greene Jr.

Outside Receiver

STARTER: Gavin Blackwell

BACKUP: Justin Olson

Slot Receiver

STARTER: Josh Downs

BACKUP: Kobe Paysour

Next. Meet Josh Downs and Tony Grimes at free event. dark

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