Saturday is senior day in Chapel Hill and Mack Brown announced the players that will be honored against the Wofford Terriers in the 2021 home finale. While Sam Howell is the biggest storyline from the group, there are still some noteworthy things to take away from the rest of the group that will play their final game in Kenan this weekend.
➤Four of the team's five snap leaders along the offensive line were amongst those named in the group. While the unit hasn’t been great as a whole, losing this many guys would be a challenge for the unit that would be lacking heavily in experience. Brown did say that both Joshua Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan will get evaluations from NFL scouts before making their decisions official, but he appeared to say that if the guys get draftable grades, they will likely be gone. The good news is that Brian Anderson looks as if he will be back and Quiron Johnson is also looking into options for his return in 2022, as well. The Tar Heels were going to have to take a serious look at the transfer portal this offseason for offensive line help and this makes it even more important than it was before that they find some help there.
➤Of the notable absences from the list, the most significant were Beau Corrales and Antoine Green, who both appear as if they will be hoping to return next year. With Howell heading to the NFL and the Tar Heels now tasked with finding a new starting quarterback for the first time since 2019, having these veteran options back on the outside would be huge, especially if Green can continue to build on his strong finish to the season. Combining these guys with Josh Downs and the trio of current first-year receivers that will have a chance to continue to mature gives the Tar Heels a pretty solid outlook for next year’s receiving corps.
➤Jeremiah Gemmel’s name being on the list means that the future at linebacker will begin next season. We saw Power Echols play a significant role in the game against Wake Forest and thrive in those reps and he is likely the favorite to slide into that spot next to Cedric Gray next season. This will also likely mean a bigger role for fellow true freshman RaRa Dillworth next season, something that should really excite Tar Heel fans with some of the rave reviews that he has gotten in the recruiting process and early in his time on campus. Losing Gemmel’s leadership hurts, but there is a lot of talent that will be in place to fill the void.
➤Kyler McMichael leaving early was definitely a bit of a surprise and does remove an experienced piece from the corner room. This isn’t really an issue, but it could become one if Storm Duck was to enter the draft early, which is a possibility where some of the draft experts are ranking him on their boards right now. The good news is that DeAndre Hollins appears as if he will be back and Tony Grimes is guaranteed to be back, but the experienced depth could thin out quickly here.