While Tuesday afternoon brought about the latest bit of attrition for this 2019 Tar Heel football team, Tuesday evening provided a bit of good news for the program.
Transfer place kicker Michael Rubino announce via Instagram that he will transfer to Carolina for his final season of eligibility. Rubino comes to Chapel Hill after a four-year stint at Appalachian State under Scott Satterfield. After redshirting his first year on campus, Rubino took over the starting place kicking job as a redshirt freshman, connecting on 15 of his 21 field goal attempts and 47 of his 48 extra point attempts. He would win the starting again as a sophomore, but was eventually replaced midseason by Chandler Staton following an abysmal game against Coastal Carolina. Prior to that, he had connected on 8 of 11 field goal attempts, but also missing two of his 20 extra point tries. Rubino was never able to regain his starting job back and eventually announced his intent to transfer back in February.
Rubino will join what should be an exciting kicking battle in the fall. Sophomore Noah Ruggles returns from last season, but lacks any major experience, as he has attempted just two extra points and no field goals so far in his career. Still, with him being the starter for the Heels currently in spring camp, he will have a bit of an edge heading into fall camp. Rubino and true freshman Ben Kiernan should both enter the race in August when they arrive on campus. However, there is a chance that Kiernan could be needed at punter, so this could end up being a two horse race between and experienced Rubino and a young, but talented Ruggles.
This is the first time that Heels have dipped into the transfer market for the first time since 2017, when they brought in Brandon Harris to compete for the starting quarterback job. With everything that has happened in the secondary for the Heels, don’t be shocked if the Heels go shopping once again before fall camp.