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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: North Carolina
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  The UNC football program received some bad news, as they'll be without fifth-year senior and special teams captain British Brooks for the season. The injury woes continue for the UNC football program. First, it was wide receiver Antoine Green, who will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks with a collarbone injury. Now not only will the Tar Heels be without one of their top wide receiver targets, but they'll also be missing one of the players who was expected to make a big impact both in the backfield and on special teams this season.

Late on Saturday night, it was announced that fifth-year senior running back British Brooks will miss the entire 2022 season. The program is calling it a "lower-body injury," as the injury occurred during the team's practice earlier in the evening. This is devastating news for Brooks, as he was set to finally get his opportunity to shine in the Tar Heels backfield. After bursting onto the scene late last season, Brooks was slated to lead the UNC football program's running back room, one that is full of both talent and inexperience. His loss also drastically hurts the special teams unit, as he served as the captain of this group in each of the previous two seasons. For his work on special teams, Brooks has earned back-to-back special teams MVP awards for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. - Keeping It Heel


rSr/2023 RB British BrooksNorth Carolina
News Source: Keeping It Heel
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  Since coach Mack Brown returned to North Carolina in 2019, quarterback Sam Howell is the only freshman to start his first game as a Tar Heel. Offensive tackle Zach Rice and receiver Andre Greene will have a chance to add to that number this season. Rice leads the list of six first-year players for Carolina who could earn their way into the rotation and make an impact as freshmen. There's a common theme among those newcomers: Enrolling in January gave them a prolonged transition period and has them poised to play early. "If you just think, they've been through a semester now - three semesters of college really because you've got two in the summer and one in the spring - so they understand going to class," Brown said. "They've been through an offseason program and they've also been through a program with your strength staff, but also your nutritionist. So they've changed who they are with their bodies. And probably, most importantly, they had 15 days of spring practice with their coach. So they're so far ahead of the guys that come in and late June or early July." Rice, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound native of Lynchburg, Va., was ranked as the top offensive tackle in the Class of 2022 by 247Sports.com.

He's competing with Harvard transfer Spencer Rolland to start at right tackle. Even if he does ultimately lose that competition, he's assuredly going to be in the offensive line's rotation. Offensive line coach Jack Bicknell shaped part of his philosophy during his time in the NFL, where he usually had just seven active players so they all had to learn how to play multiple positions, and Rice has quickly taken to it. Fifth-year senior guard Ed Montilus said Rice is "naturally, pretty good." "You can move him around anywhere - guard, tackle - he just has a little bit more to learn with the technique," Montilus said. "But I think he's going to learn it pretty quick because he showed it throughout the spring that he's coming along pretty quick. I think he's doing a good job." - Raleigh News Observer


Fr/2026 OT Zach RiceNorth Carolina
News Source: Raleigh News Observer
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  North Carolina Coach Mack Brown said senior receiver Antoine Green will miss the next six to 10 weeks due to a shoulder injury suffered over the weekend. The announcement is a cause for concern for the Tar Heels who were already inexperienced at receiver. "We get Antoine Green hurt on Saturday, it was a hitch and he turned inside and he got hit just running," Brown said. "So now he's out for six to 10 weeks. Hopefully on the six side of that - we're 20 days from (the season opener), hopefully, he'll be back by Notre Dame." Brown said Green had surgery on Sunday and was back sitting in on team meetings on Monday.

Green was second on the team behind Josh Downs with 31 receptions and 612 yards with five touchdowns last season. His best performances came over the final six games when he caught 20 passes including a 108-yard, two-touchdown outing at Pittsburgh. With Green out, Justin Olson has the most receptions from last season of the remaining receivers. Olson, a sophomore, played in every game but caught just nine passes for 143 yards and a score. But Brown said he wasn't going to make excuses for their inexperience. "Injuries happen, it could have happened in the first quarter of the first game," Brown said. "So you've got JJ Jones; you've got Dre Greene; you've got Gavin Blackwell; you've got Kobe Paysour; you've got Doc Chapman, Justin Olson. We've got to make sure that we get them enough work to get them in shape, and not get them so much running - because they're thinner - that they get dead legs." - Raleigh News Observer


rSr/2023 WR Antoine GreenNorth Carolina
News Source: Raleigh News Observer
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  When the news of Antoine Green's collarbone injury broke, those around the UNC football program held their breath as they awaited further news on the injury. On Monday, head coach Mack Brown provided the media with an update, one that isn't favorable for the Tar Heels. Brown announced that Green underwent surgery on Sunday night, a procedure that will sideline him for a period of six to 10 weeks. If all goes well, the hope is that the fifth-year senior will be able to return to action when the Tar Heels take on Notre Dame on September 24 in Chapel Hill.

This is a blow for the UNC football program, as they'll begin the season without one of its most viable offensive options. Green is coming off a season in which he was second on the team in receptions (31), receiving yards (612), and receiving touchdowns (5), while also finishing No. 12 nationally with his 19.7 yards per reception average. His big-play ability will certainly be missed, especially with the Tar Heels installing a new starting quarterback into the system. The hope is that his recovery will be a successful and speedy one, as the team will get a boost once he's able to officially return to the lineup at some point this season. - Keeping It Heel.com


rSr/2023 WR Antoine GreenNorth Carolina
News Source: Keeping It Heel.com
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  North Carolina wide receiver Antoine Green is expected to be out 6-10 weeks after injuring himself in a scrimmage, Evan Abramson of Spectrum NC 1 reports. Best case: if all goes well he could only miss three games. Coach Mack Brown is hoping to have the wide receiver back for the fourth game of the season against Notre Dame in late September. "We get Antoine Green hurt on Saturday, it was a hitch and he turned inside and he got hit just running," Brown said. "So now he's out for six to 10 weeks. Hopefully on the six side of that - we're 20 days from (the season opener), hopefully, he'll be back by Notre Dame." Green was second on the team behind Josh Downs with 31 receptions and 612 yards with five touchdowns last season. His best performances came over the final six games when he caught 20 passes including a 108-yard, two-touchdown outing at Pittsburgh. - Newsobserver.com

rSr/2023 WR Antoine GreenNorth Carolina
News Source: Newsobserver.com
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  Heading into what could be his final season in Chapel Hill, could Josh Downs make some UNC Football history before he departs? Before his time with the UNC Football program officially comes to an end, standout wide receiver Josh Downs has the potential to re-write some of North Carolina's receiving records. As he prepares for his junior season, Downs has earned a ton of preseason recognition, most recently being named to the Walter Camp Award Watch List. After a very strong sophomore season, the Suwanee, Georgia native has put himself in the mix as one of the top potential available wide receivers in next year's NFL Draft.

However, Downs still has at least one more season in Chapel Hill and has some unfinished business to take care of in the process. Downs has the ability to challenge the school's receiving yards and receiving touchdowns record. Here's where the records currently stand compared to Downs' career numbers at North Carolina: Last season, Downs recorded 1,335 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. As he only would have to make a small jump in yards (114 yards more to be exact), he'd have to find the endzone almost double the amount if he wishes to challenge the record in a single season. - Keeping It Heel.com


Jr/2024 WR Josh DownsNorth Carolina
News Source: Keeping It Heel.com
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  2022 PRESEASON WALTER CAMP PLAYER OF YEAR PLAYER TO WATCH: Josh Downs, WR, junior, North Carolina,...Downs set program records in 2021 with 101 receptions and 1,335 receiving yards. He ranked third in the ACC (13th nationally) averaging 9.8 yards per punt return. - North Carolina Football

Jr/2024 WR Josh DownsNorth Carolina
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  2022 PRESEASON CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD WATCH LIST: Myles Murphy, North Carolina, Junior DT,...A second team All-ACC selection in 2021, Murphy started all 13 games on the defensive line and ranked second on the Tar Heel defense with eight tackles for loss and four sacks last season. The Greensboro, N.C., native had 38 total tackles, three pass breakups and a hurry. Murphy has also been placed on the watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Outland Trophy. - North Carolina Football

Jr/2024 DT Myles MurphyNorth Carolina
News Source: North Carolina Football
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  2022 PRESEASON PATRICK MANNELLY AWARD WATCHLIST: Drew Little, UNC,... Little has been named to the watch list for the Patrick Mannelly Award presented annually to the player judged to be the best FBS long snapper. Little, a product of Richfield, N.C., is a second team preseason All-ACC selection according to Phil Steele. He has handled snapping duties for the Tar Heels the past three seasons and has compiled five tackles in his collegiate career. - North Carolina Football

Sr/2023 LS Drew LittleNorth Carolina
News Source: North Carolina Football
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  2022 PRESEASON OUTLAND TROPHY WATCHLIST: DT Myles Murphy, North Carolina,...North Carolina junior defensive lineman Myles Murphy has been placed on the preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Outland Trophy. Murphy had 38 total tackles, three pass breakups and a hurry last fall. Murphy registered a career-high six tackles and a half TFL in the Duke's Mayo Bowl. - North Carolina Football

Jr/2024 DT Myles MurphyNorth Carolina
News Source: North Carolina Football
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  2022 PRESEASON BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY WATCHLIST: DT Myles Murphy, North Carolina,...Murphy was a second team All-ACC selection as a sophomore in 2021. He started all 13 games on the defensive line and ranked second on the team with eight tackles for loss and four sacks. The Greensboro, N.C., native had 38 total tackles, three pass breakups and a hurry last fall. Murphy registered a career-high six tackles and a half TFL in the Duke's Mayo Bowl. - North Carolina Football

Jr/2024 DT Myles MurphyNorth Carolina
News Source: North Carolina Football
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  Coming off a sophomore season in which he set North Carolina program records in receptions (101) and receiving yards (1,335), wide receiver Josh Downs was the leading vote-getter among all players selected for this preseason recognition. Not only was Downs selected to the team as a wide receiver, but was also voted in as the team specialist. Downs has earned a ton of preseason recognition thus far, and rightly so. As he burst onto the scene during the 2021 season, the Tar Heels' top offensive target has put himself into the conversation of being considered one of (if not the) best wide receivers in their entire country.

Expectations are very high for the Preseason All-American and Maxwell Award Watch list recipient, as he'll be called upon to lead the UNC football program's offense this season. With Sam Howell departing for the NFL, North Carolina has some questions about the quarterback position. However, with a lethal weapon such as Downs in the mix, his presence and playmaking ability will be a valuable asset for whoever ends up throwing him the football. - Keeping It Heel.com


Jr/2024 WR Josh DownsNorth Carolina
News Source: Keeping It Heel.com
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  2022 PRESEASON RAY GUY WATCHLIST: Ben Kiernan - University of North Carolina,...Kiernan (6-2, 215) was born in Dublin, Ireland and lived there 15 years before moving to North Carolina, where he was a punter and kicker for Wakefield High School. As a junior last season (2021), Kiernan finished the season with a 43.7 average on 45 punts, landed 12 punts inside the 20 and seven punts were 50 or more yards. In 2020 he averaged 43.7 yards on 34 punts, landed 16 inside the 20 and eight went for 50 or more yards. His four punts in the Orange Bowl against No. 5 Texas A&M averaged 43.8 yards. - North Carolina Football

Sr/2023 P Ben KiernanNorth Carolina
News Source: North Carolina Football
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  North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs strolled into the main ballroom of ACC Kickoff media day in an off-white suit he picked from several options mailed to him by the clothing store Express. Playing the role of star player comes with looking the part, too. And frankly, who else is going to do it for the Tar Heels this season? They're breaking in a new quarterback after three-year starter Sam Howell left for the NFL. Their new starting running back is a former walk-on with just one career start to his credit. Their offensive line looks to replace four players from its rotation last season.

Carolina enters the season with a lot of unknowns on offense, and Downs is the only definitive answer. "We played a few teams last year, and their defensive coordinator would come up to me and tell me that their game plan was to stop me," Downs said. "So I feel like a lot of people, when they look at our offense, their main goal may be to stop me. But if that is their main goal, we have other guys that can step up." Downs set school records with the most single-season receptions (101) and yardage (1,335) and fell one game short of tying the school record of nine consecutive games with a touchdown held by Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice. If Downs comes anywhere close to replicating last season, the junior from Suwanee, Ga., could have a chance to turn pro, although he said that's far from on his mind right now. "I'm not really just looking forward to going to the league next January, I'm just focused on the season," Downs said. "We have a big task at hand. We got a lot of people to prove wrong. And if we if we don't play up to our ability, and if I don't play up to my ability, none of this matters." - Raleigh News Observer


Jr/2024 WR Josh DownsNorth Carolina
News Source: Raleigh News Observer
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  2022 PRESEASON BILETNIKOFF AWARD WATCH LIST: Josh Downs, North Carolina,...Downs enjoyed a record-setting sophomore season in 2021 with 101 receptions and 1,355 receiving yards, both school records, and scored a touchdown in eight-straight games, one short of the school standard. - North Carolina Football

Jr/2024 WR Josh DownsNorth Carolina
News Source: North Carolina Football
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