North Carolina Tar Heels College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense had a few meltdowns, it had a few key moments when it couldn’t hold on, and now star LB Chazz Surratt is gone, but there’s a chance this group rises up and becomes a whole lot more consistent.
Just about everyone else is back other than Surratt from a D that allowed 401 yards and 29 points per game. The pass rush was and will be fine, the run defense and the production against the run was solid, but there have to be more takeaways, more stops in the red zone, and more tackles for loss.
– Yeah, Surratt took his 91 tackles to the Minnesota Vikings, but the Tar Heels have linebackers. Eugene Asante has bulked up a bit to get to 220 pounds, and he showed a glimpse of what’s coming with a ten-tackle game in the bowl loss to Texas A&M.
225-pound Jeremiah Gemmel was second with 78 tackles, and hybrid Tomon Fox is a 265-pound pass rusher who’ll work in a variety of ways. He’s a linebacker with end size, and 290-pound Tomari Fox is an end with tackle size.
There’s a deep combination of tackles around 300-pound Raymond Vohasek on the nose. He’s a good enough interior pass rusher to be moved around with all of the other strong options to fill in where needed.
– No Tar Heel came up with more than one pick, but the secondary gets all the starters back from the bowl game starting with Trey Morrison, Don Chapman and Cam’Ron Kelly all solid tacklers at safety, and that’s just part of the puzzle – it’s a deep group to play around with.
The corners need to come up with more picks, but the combination of Tony Grimes, Kyler McMichael and Storm Duck is fantastic – they’re solid veterans who know what they’re doing.