One of the biggest concerns that arose during fall camp and was voiced by Mack Brown was the depth in the secondary. The spring game put those concerns into perspective, as the Tar Heels had just two safety active. They will be tested even more so in fall camp after the news today that another member of the secondary will not play this season.
News broke on Friday afternoon that sophomore cornerback Bryson Richardson will miss the entirety of the 2019 season following successful surgery after suffering a torn achillies during a team workout on Monday afternoon. Richardson was one of the two safeties to play in the spring game and enters off of a true freshman season where he played in all eleven of the Tar Heels games both on defense and special teams. He finished 2018 with four total tackles, one interception and one pass deflection. Richardson was expected to be an important member of the Tar Heel secondary at both cornerback and safety.
The emergence of DeAndre Hollins in the fall at the nickelback will help to ease the concern at cornerback, as will early enrollee Storm Duck’s flashes on the outside. Safety is the big concern, as Richardson looked poised to end up in one of the two-deep spots and will now have to be replaced. It doesn’t help that both starters at safety, Myles Dorn and Myles Wolfolk, both were limited or did not participate in spring camp due to injury. Junior D.J. Ford had a strong spring, which is helpful, but the fact of the matter is, a freshman or walk-on will now have to step into one of the two-deep spots. Khadry Jackson is the favorite after being with the team in the fall as an early enrollee true freshman, but he may be needed at linebacker or a hybrid position. If not Jackson, that will leave redshirt freshman Javon Terry and true freshman Giovanni Biggers as the scholarship players, and Graham Eklund and Drew Homschek as the walk-on’s on the roster. One of them may have to emerge as a rotational option at safety, especially with both Dorn and Wolfolk having injury issues throughout their career.