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Heel Tough Blog: 2023 Position Previews- TE

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

David Jensen- Getty Images

It has been a while since the Tar Heels could say that they boast one of the top tight end units in college football, but it’s hard not to put them in that category this year. The team has three different players that could start for just about any program in the country, including a guy that is being labeled as one of the top draft prospects at the position. Here is a look at this loaded position group that will be a huge part of the success of this offense.

Sophomore Bryson Nesbit will lead the unit after the best receiving season since Eric Ebron left campus. He is the team’s leading returning receiver after hauling in 35 catches for 507 yards and four touchdowns a year ago. He has taken major strides as a blocker, grading out at 73.7 in run blocking last year according to Pro Football Focus. There is a chance that he could be the primary target for Maye early as he works to establish more familiarity with the two transfers and if he can avoid getting banged up like he did last year, he could build upon his production on the way to All-American honors.

Graduate senior Kamari Morales gives Maye a second reliable pass catching tight end. Last year, he became the first Tar Heel tight end to reach the double-digit touchdown mark for a career and he continued to thrive as a weapon in the short passing game. His run blocking needs some improvement and he needs to finish as strong as he starts seasons, but what he brings to the table as a safety value and a red zone threat makes him a valuable piece of this passing game.

Junior John Copenhaver is the third member of the group and is the best run blocker of the three. He graded out with 64.2 for the season and did not grade out lower than a 54.4 in a single game in 2022. As a receiver, he didn’t get a ton of passes thrown his way but when he was targeted he made the most of it, including making some big plays in clutch time. Expect him to have a similar role this season.

True freshman Julien Randolph will join the trio for fall camp. He will have a good chance to settle in and learn without the pressure of having to play early and could make his impact this fall on special teams.

The unit will have three walk-ons this year. Redshirt freshman Deems May III made the conversion from defensive end back in the spring and fellow redshirt freshman Cal Tierney and true freshman Cort Halsey will be a part of the room when camp starts next week.

Projected Depth Chart

#18 Bryson Nesbit, So.

#88 Kamari Morales, Sr.

#81 John Copenhaver, Jr.

#80 Julien Randolph, Fr.

#82 Deems May III, RFr.

#89 Cal Tierney, RFr.

#87 Cort Halsey, Fr.


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