North Carolina: Countdown to Kickoff 2013



The Tar Heels return all four starters from last season's secondary, including S Tre Boston and CB Tim Scott, both of whom earned honorable mention All-ACC honors in 2012 … Senior QB Bryn Renner enters the season needing 2,922 passing yards to pass T.J. Yates (2007-10) as the school's all-time leader and 15 touchdown passes to move past Darian Durant's total of 68 (2001-04) as UNC's all-time leader in that category … TE Eric Ebron's 40 catches in 2012 were a single-season high for a UNC tight end and quadrupled his total of 10 as a true freshman in 2011 … UNC kickers have made 176 consecutive extra points, the third-longest active streak in the nation behind Texas Tech (215) and Washington (178) … Returning PK Thomas Moore has contributed 50 consecutive PATs to the streak (12-of-12 last season and 38-of-38 in 2011) … Syracuse holds the NCAA record for consecutive PATs with 262 (1978-89) … Larry Fedora's eight wins in 2012 were the most by a Tar Heel first-year head coach in a regular season.

Numbers & Notes

3 - Three North Carolina players were named to the preseason All-America teams announced by Phil Steele’s Pre-season Football Magazine. Junior P Tommy Hibbard was named to the 2nd-team while senior T James Hurst was named a 3rd-team All-America and junior TE Eric Ebron was tabbed to the fourth team. Hibbard, Hurst and Ebron all earned 2nd-team All-ACC honors last fall.

16 - Sophomore WR Quinshad Davis tied the ACC single-game record for pass receptions in 2012 when he made 16 catches against Virginia for 178 yards. The 16 grabs, though, were the most by an ACC freshman, breaking the former mark set by Georgia Tech’s Robert Lavette in 1981.

38 - After making just 23 catches in the  first eight games of his career, UNC freshman WR Quinshad Davis had 38 receptions in the final four games of 2012 to finish with 61 catches, the 2nd-highest single-season total by an ACC freshman.

40.6 - In his first year as North Carolina’s head coach, Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels set school records for most points scored (487), highest scoring average (40.6) and most yards per game of total offense (485.6).

154.59 - The career pass efficiency rating of senior QB Bryn Renner. If he maintains this pace that would  break the current career pass efficiency record of 151.15 set by Florida State’s Chris Weinke during the 1997 to 2000 seasons.

2012 In Review
Despite a post-season ban which kept the Tar Heels from going bowling, North Carolina football made some important positive strides in its first season under new coach Larry Fedora... The high-scoring Heels adapted to Fedora’s fast-paced offense well enough to set school records for most total points in a season (487) and most points per game (40.6) along the way to compiling an 8-4 overall record--the Heels best since 1997--and a 5-3 ACC mark which tied for the best record in the Coastal Division...UNC was led by versatile TB Giovani Bernard, QB Bryn Renner and consensus All-America G Jonathan Cooper...Bernard, a 2nd-team All-America pick who declared as an early entry into the NFL Draft, finished 2nd nationally in punt returns (16.44), 4th in all-purpose yardage (198.1), 5th in scoring (11.4) and 11th in rushing (122.80)...He became only the 2nd player in ACC history to top 1,000 yards rushing in both his freshman and sophomore years...Renner completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,356 yards, 28 TDs and only 7 interceptions and ranked 3rd in the ACC in pass efficiency...Cooper, who captured the ACC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy, was the first UNC player to be named a finalist for the Outland Trophy...Cooper and Bernard were named first-team All-ACC along with T James Hurst, DT Sylvester Williams (a first-team All-America by Pro Football Weekly)and LB Kevin Reddick...TE Eric Ebron, PK Casey Barth, DT Kareem Martin and P Tommy Hibbard earned 2nd-team All-ACC honors while Renner, T Brennan Williams, G Travis Bond, CB Tim Scott and S Tre Boston were Honorable Mention.

Who’s Gone
With the exception of Florida State, no other ACC team lost as much this past year as UNC with 10 starters lost, including five on offense in Cooper, Bernard, Williams, Bond and 2nd-leading receiver WR Erik Highsmith...Defensively, the Heels will be without their top two sackmen in Sylvester Williams and Reddick, as well as LB Dion Guy and Ram Gene Robinson...Additionally a replacement will have to be found for Barth at placekicker.

2013 Preview
The heart of UNC’s explosive offense, QB Bryn Renner returns for his final season as a starter...One of the most accurate passers in ACC history (66.67%), Renner enters with a career pass efficiency rating of 154.59, 5th-best among all active players nationally and a mark which, if maintained this fall, would be the best career mark in ACC history... A key for UNC this year will be rebuilding an offensive line that returns only All-ACC T James Hurst and C Russell Bodine...Sophomores Landon Turner, started 4 games last fall at guard, and Kiaro Hoits emerged from spring as starters at right guard and tackle, while redshirt freshman Caleb Peterson leads senior David Collins for the left guard position....Though he missed spring with injuries, junior TE Eric Ebronshould be one of the best at his position nationally, with junior TE Jack Tabb also playing a major role...At tailback, Bernard’s playmaking ablities will be missed but senior TB A. J. Blue (433 yds), sophomore TB Romar Morris (386 yds) and true freshman TB Khris Francis performed well in the spring and will be joined by incoming freshman T.J. Logan... UNC’s receiving corps should be effective with both Quinshad Davis (61 catches) and Sean Tapley (26 catches) returning, they are joined by juniors Reggie Wilkins and Nic Platt, and sophomores T.J. Thorpe, Damien Washington and Kendrick Singleton... Defensively UNC returns two starters on the line in DE Kareem Martin and DT Tim Jackson...Joining them will be a trio of junior DTs in Shawn Underwood, Devonte Brown and Ethan Farmer while sophomore Shakeel Rashad and junior Norkeithus Otis return to the Bandit position...Junior Tommy Heffernan (72 tackles) leads a linebacker corps which includes junior Travis Hughes (38 tackles), and a pair of redshirt freshman in Nathan Staub and Dan Mastromatteo...The secondary returns four starters including CBs Jabari Price (76 tackles, 9 PBUs) and Tim Scott and Ss Tre Boston (86 tackles, 4 interceptions) and Darien Rankin...Rankin, though, missed the spring with an injury, and sophomore Sam Smiley emerged as the starter at strong safety...Junior Brandon Ellerbe also came out of spring as the starter at Ram ....CBs Terry Shankle, T.J. Jiles and Alex Dixon are also competing for playing time.