Updated: Aug 20
The Tar Heels are steaming towards their August 27th opener in Kenan Stadium against Florida A&M and we at the Heel Tough Blog are getting you ready the way that we always do with our in-depth positions previews. Today, we look at the unit that has been projected to become a big part of the offense for the last couple of years and may finally do so this year, the tight ends.
This is easily the deepest and most talented that the unit has been in a while. Junior Kamari Morales had an outstanding start to his 2021 season, especially as a target in the red zone, but slowed down a bit as the season went along. With the passing game potentially being more tight-end-oriented, this could allow him to make a more consistent impact, something that could help out whichever quarterback wins the job. If he could become more of a consistent third-down target, that would help potentially take this offense to the next level. In terms of what he brings to the table as a run blocker, he has become the team’s best blocking tight end, meaning he will be on the field for the vast majority of the season.
Sophomore Bryson Nesbit is one of the most talked about players on this Tar Heel offense heading into the season and for good reason. In his limited snaps a year ago, he showed some nice flashes and he has built on that this offseason. He will certainly be looked at as someone that can provide help in the red zone and will be another guy to whom the quarterbacks can feel confident in throwing those 50/50 balls. He showed in the spring that has the ability to play in the slot or even outside, a versatility that is proving to be very valuable for this team with the injury to Antoine Green throwing a wrench into their plans this past weekend. Regardless of where those snaps come from, Nesbit is expected to have a much more substantial role in this offense this season.
The depth of this unit this season is strong thanks to the continued progression of sophomore John Copenhaver. His performance in the passing game was never the concern with his game and that continues to be his biggest area of strength. However, he has made clear strides as a run blocker and has become a nice third option at the position in this room. With Nesbit possibly being needed to split out wide right now, there could be some reps available early in two tight end sets, which we’ve heard that the team wants to use more of this season.
Sophomore Kendall Karr finally appears to be healthy after injuries derailed his first two seasons and even slowed him a bit in the spring. That has left him behind some of the other guys that we have talked about so far, but he does still provide this team with a talented depth piece that still has a lot of untapped potential.
Behind Karr will be two walk-ons this season. Junior Will Crowley returns for his fourth season with the team, while true freshman Jake Young joined the group as a preferred walk-on this summer.