Two key UNC football players officially set to return for 2024 season

After drawing plenty of interest on the NIL market, two UNC football stars confirmed they will return to Chapel Hill for the 2024 season.
Duke's Mayo Bowl - North Carolina v West Virginia
Duke's Mayo Bowl - North Carolina v West Virginia / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

As we all know, the world of college athletics has rapidly changed.

One of the biggest changes comes in the form of NIL, as players can profit off their Name, Image, and Likeness. As the spring transfer portal window is currently open, star athletes from programs across the country can explore potential endeavors with other programs.

For the UNC football program, two of their biggest stars, Omarion Hampton and Kaimon Rucker, have rightfully drawn a ton of interest. Fortunately, neither player will be leaving Chapel Hill.

Inside Carolina reported that both players have signed NIL deals with the Carolina Football collective, Heels4Life. These deals secure that Hampton and Rucker will return to the UNC football program for the 2024 season.

In the current world of college athletics, this is major news, as both players could have explored other options. Given their reputation as some of the best in the country at their respective positions, numerous teams, especially those with College Football Playoff aspirations, easily could've came knocking at their door.

Rucker, who has one season of eligibility remaining, is coming off a monster 2023 season. An All-ACC selection, Rucker totaled 61 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss, while hiss 41 total pressures ranked seventh in the country.

Hampton put together an All-American caliber season as a sophomore, as the 2023 campaign was his true breakout season. He rushed for 1,504 yards and 15 touchdowns in addition to catching 29 balls for 222 yards and a touchdown. He first-team All-ACC honors and was also a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the nation’s top running back.

It's great to see that the UNC football program is able to keep two of their most important players, as the Heels4Life initiative was able to provide both student-athletes with compelling NIL deals. The doubt of their return is now an afterthought, as both players will now look ahead to helping the UNC football program win games in 2024.