Most successful football teams know that games are largely won in the trenches.
Last season, the Tar Heels had high hopes for its defensive front. Led by then-senior Raymond Vohasek, North Carolina rostered many up-and-coming talents and serviceable backups that provided depth up to the team’s third unit.
But any preseason buzz about improvements on the defensive line failed meet expectations, as the Tar Heels tallied just 29 sacks and allowed over 2,300 yards on the ground — ranking in the bottom half of the ACC in both categories.
Despite last year's struggles, the Tar Heels hope to take a step forward in 2022. With many starters gaining another year of improvement, UNC is looking to control the line of scrimmage to inch closer to the top of the conference.
Here’s a look at a few players who could help lead the improvement of UNC’s play on the defensive line.
Fresh off his breakout season in 2021, junior defensive lineman Myles Murphy is poised to lead this year’s unit.
The second team All-ACC honoree played all over the line last season, but spent most of his snaps at defensive tackle. Due to his unique combination of speed and size, Murphy found himself in the opposing team’s backfield often, ranking second on the team in sacks and tackles for loss.
Coming into this year, the Greensboro, N.C. native said confidence is sky high, so much that he'll feel disrespected if he’s not double-teamed regularly this season.