On Monday during his presser, Tar Heel head coach Mack Brown said that the team was done bringing in players from the portal for this semester. However, on Saturday, the team welcomed one of their original transfer targets from when the window first opened, leading some to wonder if the next addition may not be far off. They didn't have to wait long for their suspicions to be confirmed.
As first reported by Inside Carolina, Georgia State transfer safety Antavious Lane closed out his official visit to Chapel Hill with a commitment on Sunday night. Lane spent the first four years of his college career with the Panthers where he was one of the most productive defensive players in the Sun Belt. He will enroll and join the team in the summer with two years of eligibility remaining.
After redshirting as a true freshman in 2019, he would earn second team All-Sun Belt as a redshirt freshman despite playing in just eight of the team’s ten games. He finished that 2020 season with 55 total tackles, six pass deflections and four interceptions, the latter of which ranked inside the top ten nationally.
The following season, as a sophomore, Lane was named a first team All-Sun Belt member in what was a historic season for him and the program. He led the conference in solo tackles (61) and interceptions (5), setting the Panthers' record for interceptions in a season on the way to helping the team win their most games since moving up to the FBS level.
This past season was a bit quieter for Lane, but it was still a solid one. He once again led the Sun Belt conference in solo tackles (62) and finished with 87 total tackles, two interceptions and one pass deflection on his way to third team All-Sun Belt honors.
Lane's addition continues the team’s offseason overhaul of the defensive back room. The team lost six players from the room to the portal and has parted ways with cornerbacks coach Dré Bly in the past month. Three of the nine players that enrolled for the spring semester which started on Monday are members of the defensive backfield, including fellow safety Derrik Allen. While Allen is a helpful addition to a safety group that has struggled mightily over the last couple of years, he will likely be more of a rotational piece than a full-time starter. Lane will have to navigate with the jump in competition from the Group of 5 to the Power 5 level, but it’s hard to imagine he won’t have a legitimate to win one of the starting jobs for the team with his ability to tackle and make plays on the football. This defense is badly in need of playmakers on the back end and he certainly fits that description and could help to create more turnovers for this team.