For the fourth time this week, the Tar Heels have received the news that one of their current players was entering the transfer portal. Shortly after lunchtime on Friday, senior cornerback Patrice Rene officially entered his name into the transfer portal according to the Tar Heels’ Rivals outlet, Tar Heel Illustrated. With the extra year of eligibility available to him due to the rules put in place prior to the 2020 season, Rene will be playing his sixth and final season somewhere besides Chapel Hill.
In his five seasons with the Tar Heels, Rene racked up 103 total tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions and 12 pass deflections and was one of the steady veterans on this defense his last three seasons on campus. 2018 was easily the most successful season of his career, as he finished as one of the top corners in the ACC, leading the conference in quarterback rating when targeted at just a 41.3 rating. He was set to be a big part of the Tar Heels secondary in 2019, but an ACL injury against Miami cut his season short, opening the door for the emergence of Storm Duck. With him unable to have a normal offseason to rehab, Rene wasn’t quite able to get to 100% until the early part of this season, opening the door for Kyler McMichael who started opposite of Duck in the opener. He still played an important role in the middle part of the season, stepping in for Duck when he went down with an injury early in the season and shining in rivalry matchups with NC State and Duke. Even with those strong performances, though, it wasn’t enough to hold off extremely talented true freshman Tony Grimes, who got his first career start against Notre Dame and never looked back. With Duck, Grimes and McMichael all scheduled to return next season, this is probably the best move for Rene, who, similar to K.J. Sails a couple of years ago, should be able to find a starting job somewhere and build himself a draft resume.
It’s hard to say this won’t have any effect on the Tar Heels going forward, especially with the amount of injuries that the unit has seen in the past couple of seasons, but this cornerback group is still in tremendous shape. The trio that we mentioned above will be the major contributors, but the depth behind them is both experienced and talented, as well. Both DeAndre Hollins and Obi Egbuna are expected to return after handling some significant snaps this season due to injuries and Javon Terry, who can play outside corner or safety, is also expected to return after opting out this season. The depth at cornerback right now is some of the best on this team, so there is plenty of reason to be confident that this won’t have a major impact on this team next season.