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The Daily Tar Heel

Analysis: Veteran transfers look to make impact on both sides of the ball for UNC

Walker, Tez.jpg
UNC junior wide receiver Devontez 'Tez' Walker (9) runs with the ball during a UNC football practice on Aug. 3, 2023. Photo Courtesy of Carolina Athletics.

After ending the 2022 season on a four-game losing streak, the North Carolina football team looked to the transfer portal.

The Tar Heels picked up multiple players on both sides of the ball that will look to fill key gaps left after last season. Here's a look at some of the veteran transfers:

Alijah Huzzie

Junior defensive back Alijah Huzzie played at East Tennessee State for four years before transferring to UNC and has two years of eligibility remaining. He tallied 179 tackles to go with 12 interceptions during his time with the Buccaneers.

Huzzie was named a first-team Football Championship Subdivision All-American and first-team All-Southern Conference last season. The year prior, he was named a Freshman All-American and second-team All-SoCon. Expect Huzzie and Allen to assume leadership roles in the secondary this season.

Derrik Allen

Graduate safety Derrik Allen joins McCollum as another Georgia Tech transfer. In his three seasons with the Yellow Jackets, Allen tallied 46 tackles and snagged an interception.

Allen began his collegiate career by redshirting a season at Notre Dame before transferring to Georgia Tech. The 3-star transfer joins his brother, sophomore cornerback Marcus Allen, in the Tar Heels' secondary.

With the departure of defensive backs Storm Duck and Tony Grimes to the transfer portal, Allen should see plenty of snaps as a veteran starter. 

Willie Lampkin

Junior offensive lineman Willie Lampkin transferred from Coastal Carolina and has two years of eligibility left. He started 38 games for the Chanticleers and was named the Sun Belt Offensive Lineman of the Year last season.

Lampkin accounted for 20 knockdown blocks as a sophomore. As a first-year, he had 27 pancake blocks while only allowing one sack. As the starting right guard, Lampkin will be critical in protecting redshirt sophomore quarterback Drake Maye in the pocket as well as facilitating a successful run game.

Nate McCollum

When former wideout Josh Downs declared for the 2023 NFL Draft, it wasn't clear who could serve as another veteran target for Maye. Then, junior wide receiver Nate McCollum transferred from Georgia Tech.

After redshirting his first year with the Yellow Jackets, McCollum played another two years at Georgia Tech and has two years of eligibility remaining. During his stint in Atlanta, he accounted for 778 yards on 75 receptions and four touchdowns.

McCollum started ten games for the Yellow Jackets and hauled in 60 receptions as a sophomore. In April, he caught a 37-yard pass from Maye for a touchdown in North Carolina's spring game.

Devontez Walker

In addition to McCollum, junior wide receiver Devontez "Tez" Walker joins the receiving corps as another offensive threat after two seasons with Kent State.

Walker started his collegiate career with N.C. Central, but transferred to Kent State after the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19. In his stint with the Golden Eagles, he racked up 1,045 yards, 63 receptions and 12 touchdowns.

Additionally, Walker was awarded first-team All-MAC honors last season. Depending on his eligibility appeal outcome, Walker should be an integral part of the Tar Heels’ offense and serve as another reliable target for Maye.


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