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Heel Tough Blog: Tar Heels Another Defensive Player to the Portal

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The Tar Heels lost their first player of the second transfer window on Wednesday and it didn’t take long for them to lose their second.

Earlier this afternoon, announced that sophomore JACK Gabe Stephens has entered the portal. Stephens has yet to play in his two seasons in Chapel Hill while fighting through injury issues and trying to add weight. This was his first full spring at the JACK position but it appears by all indications that he was buried on the depth chart.

The JACK spot for this defense still appears to be in really good shape, especially for this season. Kaimon Rucker and Amari Gainer will dominate the majority of the reps there in 2023, as they hope to help the Tar Heels get more pressure on the quarterback. True freshman Tyler Thompson was someone that Mack Brown was pleased with in the spring and fellow early enrollee Jaybron Harvey looked really good on Saturday late in the scrimmage. Malaki Hamrick, who will miss this entire season due to injury, is also expected to be a major part of the unit moving forward once he returns from his significant lower-body injury.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a significant departure for this Tar Heel defense, but it just continues to add to the turnover that the defensive side of the ball has seen this offseason. The good news is that the staff has done a really good job of replenishing the unit, even finding upgrades at certain positions.


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