The 2020 Tar Heels will enter the summer having to replace just five starters from a year ago, leaving them with one of their most veteran teams in years. One position that they will have to find a new starter at, though, is the nose tackle position that Aaron Crawford took the bulk of the snaps at a year ago. With an unclear starter and some depth questions here, some Tar Heel fans have begun to toss around the idea that the team should look to add a veteran option from the transfer portal. So the question is, do the Tar Heels need to add another defensive tackle for the fall? To answer that question we have to answer three other key questions that will help to lead us to the answer.
What Does the Position Look Like Now?
Don’t get wrong, the position isn’t in terrible shape, but another veteran would be welcome. Rising sophomore Jahlil Taylor was the player that many look to at the position after he held down the backup role a year ago behind Crawford, but an injury just prior had him scheduled to be out for all of fall practice. While it seems like the injury isn’t a major concern, the fact that he hasn’t been able to rehab on campus over the past few months leaves a question mark about exactly where he is at health wise. The recent lower body injury to true freshman Kedrick Bingley-Jones, a guy who had added the necessary weight to compete for a role at nose tackle, leaves him out indefinitely and it’s still unclear what exactly the status of redshirt freshman Wisdom Asaboro is after he missed all of his true freshman season rehabbing from an injury and was another player that was scheduled to miss the entirety of the spring prior to the cancellation of spring practice. That leaves true freshman Clyde Pinder Jr., who will arrive on campus in the fall, as the lone fully healthy player that we know will play the position. It’s looking more and more likely that Xach Gill will have to kick inside for his junior season, but even if he does, he has no experience at nose tackle, meaning he will need time to adjust, something he won’t have if the season starts on time.
Are There Options Out There?
The Tar Heels might not need someone who can come in and start right away, but if they are bringing someone in, they need a player who can contribute this season. The problem is, there just aren’t a lot of names in the transfer portal that fit that description. Guys like Oklahoma transfer Michael Thompson, Texas transfer D’Andre Christmas and Penn State transfer Ellison Jordan were all highly rated coming out of high school, but haven’t seen much playing time at the college level. Wyoming transfer Javaree Jackson would be an interesting name to look at, as he has one year of eligibility remaining and in his first full active season in 2019, he finished with 35 total tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. Another interesting name that is in the portal is South Alabama transfer Tyree Turner, a former all-conference player who had 129 total tackles, 21.0 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks in his three years in the middle of the Jaguars defense. Overall, it seems like pretty slim pickins here.
Is There Room For a Transfer?
This is the most important question here and the answer right now seems like a no. According to the 247Sports scholarship distribution chart, the Tar Heels currently have 89 scholarship players on the roster, a number they have to get to 85 before the season begins if that number is accurate. With this being the case, it would be a major shock if the Tar Heels were to pursue a transfer defensive tackle in this class.