Updated: Jan 21
For the first time this offseason, the Tar Heels have landed a transfer commitment for the 2020. It’s not the transfer prospect that many have been hoping to see commit, but the Tar Heels will be bringing in a transfer kicker for the second straight season.
This season it will come in the form of Grayson Atkins, formerly of the FCS ranks where he starred at Furman University the past three seasons. In his career with the Paladins, Atkins hit 33 of his 41 field goal attempts, setting the school record for field goal percentage at 80.4%. Atkins attempted 138 extra point attempts in his career, as well, converting on 132 of those. He was rewarded with FCA First Team All-American honors for his efforts as a junior this past year, one that saw him hit on 48 of his 50 extra point attempts and converted 13 of his 15 field goal attempts.
His services will be welcome after the Tar Heels struggled to find consistency from Noah Ruggles. Ruggles closed the season strong after getting benched after the loss to Virginia Tech, but still finished the season just 19-27 on field attempts and just 3-9 on field goals longer than 40 yards. Meanwhile, Atkins was 7-8 on kicks of 40 yards or longer this past season, including a long of 55, which he hit in the game against Western Carolina.
The concern about Atkins will be his consistency on extra points, but that’s something the staff will try to get ironed out quickly when he arrives to campus in the summer. Don’t be shocked if there is a battle between Ruggles and Atkins that extends into the season or if the duties are split during the season.
This is the first time that the Tar Heels have dipped into the transfer portal this year and at this point it seems highly likely that it won’t be the last. Could Quincy Roche be next. Stick with the Heel Tough Blog for all of the latest.