UNC Football releases depth chart for Duke's Mayo Bowl

The UNC Football program rolled out a depth chart for the Duke's Mayo Bowl affected by high-profile departures for the NFL and transfer portal.

Mack Brown coaching at the Duke's Mayo Kickoff Classic
Mack Brown coaching at the Duke's Mayo Kickoff Classic / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

The roster has undergone considerable upheaval since the UNC Football program's regular season-ending loss to NC State. That was quantified for the first time on Thursday when the Tar Heels released their depth chart for the Duke's Mayo Bowl on December 28 against West Virginia.

The most notable change, of course, is at quarterback. With Drake Maye declaring for the NFL Draft, the path was cleared for redshirt freshman Conner Harrell to make his first career start. Harrell has made a good account of himself mostly in the latter stages of games, with his best showing in UNC Football's 59-7 thrashing of Campbell on Nov. 4. Offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey told Inside Carolina that Harrell would have a lot on his shoulders, but believes he's up to the challenge.

The Tar Heels will be very thin at two other offensive slots, tight end and wide receiver. With Bryson Nesbit and Jon Copenhaver injured and Kamari Morales in the transfer portal, the UNC Football program will have no scholarship tight ends making the trip to Charlotte. The only tight end on the depth chart to have caught a pass is redshirt freshman Deems May.

At wide receiver, Tez Walker's departure for the NFL and Kobe Paysour's foot injury means a lot will be on UNC's fourth-leading receiver in 2023, Nate McCollum. Lindsey believes the McCollum that showed up in spring practice and the early part of the season has shown up in the last few weeks ahead of the bowl game.

On defense, the linebacking corps has been shuffled considerably, with Cedric Gray declaring for the NFL Draft. Power Echols moves from Mike linebacker to Gray's old slot at Will linebacker, though defensive coordinator Gene Chizik told Inside Carolina that Echols has practiced in both slots for some time. True freshman Amare Campbell moves to the Mike position.

The secondary is going to be missing valuable experience due to star (linebacker/safety hybrid) Alijah Huzzie still recovering from an upper-body injury. His replacement will be true freshman Kaleb Cost; according to Chizik, the Duke's Mayo Bowl represents "a great opportunity" for him. Chizik said that another true freshman, Tre Miller, should also see time after turning the corner from injuries that dogged him most of the year. Considering that they'll be up against West Virginia's spread offense, this reshuffled secondary is going to be tested very early.

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