Last season, the Tar Heels followed up an ACC Championship Game appearance with an 8-5 year filled with its share of impressive wins and confusing losses. The team was not without talent. The NFL Draft confirmed that — six players heard their names called in April, including quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick.
Head coach Larry Fedora has proven he can win games, put up gaudy offensive numbers and produce professional-level talent. But, in 2017, can he do it again with a mostly new supporting cast?
The search for Trubisky’s replacement will draw the most attention, as most quarterback battles do. The two front-runners are Nathan Elliott, who won the backup job last year and is entering his third year in UNC’s offense, and Brandon Harris, a graduate transfer from Louisiana State with 15 starts to his name. Harris is the more mobile of the two, but Elliott, who was North Carolina’s best quarterback during the spring game by a mile, isn’t too far behind him.
Senior wide receiver Austin Proehl (43 catches, 597 yards) is Ryan Switzer’s heir at slot receiver and may play on the outside, too. He’ll get help from fellow senior Thomas Jackson, a former walk-on who always seemed to be in the right place at the right time in limited action last year. Redshirt first-year Juval Mollette stands at 6-foot-4 and will get his share of targets after a three-touchdown spring game.