Updated: Jan 21
For the second time this week and the seventh time this offseason, a Tar Heel is entering the transfer portal. This time it is junior defensive end Nolan DeFranco who will be looking to go elsewhere to finish his career.
DeFranco posted the news on his Instagram account earlier this evening, saying he plans to graduate in the spring and then pursue a graduate transfer for his final year of eligibility. In his four year career in Chapel Hill, DeFranco was never able to become a significant part of the rotation at defensive end, failing to register a tackle in three active seasons on the field. This past season, DeFranco played just six snaps, all of which came in garbage time of the blowout win against Mercer.
While DeFranco never had a major impact on the field, the Tar Heels are losing some depth along the defensive line, an area that the Tar Heels are rather thin at with all that was already departing. The good news is, the Tar Heels have an influx of true freshmen heading their way in the fall, but this unit continues to get younger by the day. There is a lot of talent here, though, and spring camp will be filled with plenty of great battles for snaps, headlined by the starting nose tackle and 4i-tech spots that were left behind by Aaron Crawford and Jason Strowbridge.
DeFranco’s loss isn’t a major blow, but the concern along the defensive line grows any time someone leave that already thin group. Landing Temple transfer Quincy Roche would be huge, but that‘s far from a guarantee at this point. Some new names must now emerge for defensive line coach Tim Cross, who has some work ahead of him this offseason.