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Heel Tough Blog: Tar Heel Linebacker Enters the Portal

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Peyton Williams- Getty Images

The Tar Heels lost their first player in what has been an active start to the transfer window around college football earlier this morning in Jacolby Criswell. Now, just a few hours later, the team has lost a second player, this time on the defensive side of the football.

Just a short time ago, sophomore linebacker RaRa Dillworth announced via social media that he is entering the transfer portal. He was the primary rotational option behind starters Cedric Gray and Power Echols, playing 119 snaps this season, including seven last night in the ACC Championship Game. He finished this season with 13 total tackles, including 1.5 for a loss and a sack in eleven games. He closes his Tar Heel career with 19 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack in 23 games.

His departure is a tough one for a linebacker group that is already rather thin behind Gray and Echols. True freshman Sebastian Cheeks, who was lost early in the season for the year because of an upper body injury, will now be expected to step up and be that top rotational option. Fellow true freshman Deuce Caldwell will also be a part of the group that will need to step up after not playing many defensive reps so far this season. The incoming recruiting will help to restock the unit a bit, but they may need some of them to be prepared to play early if needed.

The loss of Criswell earlier this morning was an easy one to stomach because of the depth at the position and the expectation that he was going to enter at some point. Dillworth’s move, however, was much more unexpected and is a blow to a defense that needs as much pure talent and depth as possible. According to Mack Brown’s comments on Friday night, more moves like this may be on the way in the next few days, as well.

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