The first game week for 2021 Tar Heel football season is here. While there is a lot of excitement about the possibilities of this season, the team does face a really tough game on the road against Virginia Tech on Friday. That opener just got a little bit tougher with the news on Monday morning.
The team announced earlier this morning that veteran receiver Beau Corrales will not be available to play for the team in Blacksburg. He had sports hernia surgery earlier in the offseason after the injury cost him the second half of last season and has been working his way back, but according to Mack Brown as of a couple of weeks ago he had yet to be a full participant in camp. It is unknown if this is the same injury that is hindering him from returning or if it is another injury.
Corrales having to miss this game is definitely a tough blow for a receiving corps that lacks experience after all they lost in the offseason. Corrales was one of the only offensive weapons that played a major role for the team in their last trip to Blacksburg two years ago. The good news is that this is something that the Tar Heel staff has likely been preparing for over the last few weeks and the talent at the position is capable of making things happen. Josh Downs is now the clear leader of the unit, as the rave reviews keep rolling in. On the outside, upperclassmen Emery Simmons and Antoine Green have had good offseasons judging by the staff's comment and they, along with Justin Olson are supposedly ready to step up and play a major role. Sophomore Khafre Brown was rumored to be a question mark, as well, but Mack Brown has said multiple times that he is “well” and there haven’t been any reports that he has been limited. Corrales’ absence also likely means a better chance for the Tar Heel tight ends to make an impact, mainly super senior Garrett Walston.
This was some tough news to hear on Monday morning as the Tar Heels are now down a veteran receiving option that has a strong repore with Sam Howell. However, this is a scenario that likely hasn’t caught this staff off guard and is something that they have been almost certainly game planning for for a while now. The bigger concern is the status of starting center Brian Anderson, who we’ll hopefully get an update on later today.