UNC Football: Kaimon Rucker announces his return for a fifth season

The UNC football program welcomed back one of their best defensive players as senior linebacker Kaimon Rucker announced his return Friday morning.
Miami v North Carolina
Miami v North Carolina / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

Kaimon Rucker had a very strong season for the UNC football program in 2023. Rucker played in all 12 games this season and recorded 56 tackles, 8.5 sacks, one pass deflection, and one forced fumble. Rucker's 56 total tackles were the fourth-most on the team, and his 8.5 sacks were the most for the Tar Heels in 2023.

Rucker had some fun declaring his return to Chapel Hill on social media. After originally declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft in a video on his X (formerly known as Twitter) account, he came back and announced he would be returning to the UNC football program for one last ride.

Rucker already planned to play in the team's bowl game against West Virginia before making his decision to return on Friday. He was favoring a comeback to college over the NFL draft when talking to the media last week, according to Inside Carolina.

Rucker filled up the stat sheet in his fourth season with the Tar Heels. Although there were many to choose from, his most impactful game was against Pitt where he recorded seven total tackles and two sacks in a 41-24 win against the Panthers. Rucker recorded 2+ tackles in 11 out of the 12 games he played in and recorded at least 0.5 sacks in six games. It's safe to say that he was the saving grace on a defense that didn't have a great season.

The UNC football program will need Rucker to step up and make plays in their bowl game on December 27. The Tar Heels will be without All-American linebacker Cedric Gray and defensive lineman Myles Murphy, as they both declared for the NFL Draft. Gray lead the team with 121 total tackles and also had five sacks, four pass deflections, an interception and two forced fumbles. Myles Murphy had 23 tackles and one sack in 2023 for the UNC football program as well.

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