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Heel Tough Blog: Corey Gaynor Returning for 2023

Jim Dedmon- USA Today Sports

Yesterday was a bit of a news dump day around Tar Heel football, as Mack Brown hosted a presser to put a wrap on the team’s transfer class. In the process, he also revealed the future plans of some players on the current roster. One of those whose decision was revealed was offensive lineman Corey Gaynor, who was mulling his NFL Draft stock.

Gaynor, who just concluded his first season with the Tar Heels after transferring in from Miami, was weighing his options with the draft while also waiting on a waiver claim to the NCAA to be processed. On Monday, Brown announced Gaynor will not only forego the opportunity to head to the NFL, but that his waiver from the NCAA has been approved and he will be returning for the 2023 season.

Getting Gaynor back is a big bonus for a Tar Heel offensive line that will be looking to take another step forward this season despite a third different offensive line coach in the three seasons. He will now anchor the unit after the loss of starting left tackle Asim Richards to the NFL Draft, a challenge Gaynor seems ready to take on. This past season, he graded out as the second best run-blocker and pass protector amongst the team’s five starters. He also tied for the fewest sacks allowed and let up the fewest quarterback hurries of those five starters. The main issue that Gaynor has to get cleaned up is the penalties after he finished with eight this season, the second most of any player on the team.

Gaynor’s return is also huge for the outlook of the rest of the unit. Coastal Carolina transfer Willie Lampkin to will now be able to move back to guard where he will likely take over for Ed Montilus, who is vacating the left guard spot by retiring from football. That leaves the left tackle spot as the only position that heads into the offseason as a legit unknown. It will be interesting to monitor that battle this offseason, especially after Brown said that the team could add some more help from the portal in the spring.


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