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Heel Tough Blog: Players to Watch in 2023 Spring Game

Saturday in Kenan Stadium, the Tar Heels will put a bow on spring practice as they take a step closer to a pivotal 2023 season. Key transfer additions, essential position battles and, of course, Drake Maye will all be on display in the event that will resemble what we saw from the team in the spring game a year ago in terms of the format. Plenty of different players will see the field in at least some capacity on Saturday and here are the seven guys that we think you should be absolutely be watching for.

Devontez Walker

Tar Heel Athletics

How can a guy that Mack Brown compared to Dyami Brown earlier this week not be on this list? Walker has been raved about as much as any player this fall, and that was capped with Brown's comments about him this week. His ability to take the top of the defense and his outstanding straight-line speed make him a spectacle to watch both before and after the catch. Expect him to be one of the guys that shines the most on Saturday.

Alijah Huzzie

Tar Heel Athletics

If Walker is the guy that Brown has raved about the most, Huzzie comes in a close second. The head coach has been extremely complimentary of the FCS transfer’s play so far this spring, especially his ability to play the football. He has shown some nice versatility, as well, splitting time between outside corner and nickel, both areas that the team could use upgrades in from this past season. It’ll be interesting to see if Huzzie can show everyone what the staff has been talking about all spring long.

Kedrick Bingley-Jones

Tar Heel Athletics

Injuries have prevented Bingley-Jones from being able to make an impact in his time at Carolina, but that has not been the case this spring. The junior is finally healthy and has gotten a chance to play some significant reps and Brown seems to be really enjoying what he has seen from him. It will be great to see Bingley-Jones out there battling for a role with this team after everything he has been through.

Beau Atkinson

Tar Heel Athletics

This Tar Heel defense is in desperate need of guys off the edge that can rush the passer and one player that Brown has pointed to in the spring has been Atkinson. The second-year freshman has been the most talked about of the depth guys on the edge and Saturday will be a chance for him to finish strong. Don’t be shocked if you see him playing a lot with the blue team and a good performance could set the stage for him to play a major role in the fall.

William Barnes

Tar Heel Athletics

You may be thinking, why isn’t this one of the younger guys on the offensive line? Well, it’s pretty simple: Barnes is playing the most important position along the offensive line this upcoming season. He is slated to be the team’s starting left tackle after making the move this spring despite struggling to hold up in pass protection at times at right guard in 2022. He needs to show Saturday the staff made the right move and that he can be trusted to handle a role that ultimately will go a long way in determining the success of this offense.

Tomari Fox

Tar Heel Athletics

This will be the first time in nearly a year that we will be able to see Fox in action since his suspension last year due to a banned substance. Brown talked a few times this spring about the impact that he will have on the defensive line group, one that is sorely in need of some difference makers. Fox could be a big piece of the puzzle, especially at that power end spot that feels like it fits him so well and hopefully he can show that to us on Saturday.

Andre Greene Jr.

Tar Heel Athletics

Greene Jr. was one of the returning players in the receiving corps that many thought would play a major role in the room this season. He had a relatively quiet spring, but came on strong in the final week and a half, with his best scrimmage coming in last Thursday. He should get a substantial look with both the first and second teams on Saturday and the hope is that he can prove himself enough to become that fifth member of the rotation in that receiver room.

Spring Game Preview Podcast


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