Updated: Aug 9
The Tar Heels just completed their sixth practice of fall camp this morning in Chapel Hill as they get another day closer to the kickoff of an important season for the program. That preparation will now take place without two members of the team, who the program announced will be out indefinitely with lower-body injuries.
A team’s spokesperson released the news to the media this morning that junior cornerback Lejond Cavazos and true freshman guard R.J. Grigsby will both have surgery on lower-body injuries and there is no timetable for either player’s return. Cavazos, who started the last three games in 2022, was in a battle for the primary backup role behind Alijah Huzzie and Marcus Allen while Grigsby was pushing to work his way into the two deep at one of the guard spots.
With Cavazos out, the battle for that top rotational spot at outside corner will likely come down to grad transfer Armani Chatman and redshirt freshman Tayon Holloway. Chatman has the advantage of experience, having started 25 games for Virginia Tech in his four seasons in Blacksburg, but Holloway is making a push. When speaking to the media on Monday, Huzzie pointed to Holloway as one of those guys that could be set to breakout this year and Mack Brown’s comments about him back in the spring seem to suggest he is coming along nicely.
Meanwhile, the interior of the offensive line still has a lot of depth that will mitigate the loss of Grigsby. Ed Montilus, who started all 14 games last season, looks like he will be the primary backup to Jonathan Adorno and Willie Lampkin who appear to have positioned themselves to hold down the starting role. Redshirt freshman Zach Rice is the other name that will probably be listed on two deep as a guard, but don’t count Malik McGowan out here either.
Losing a guy that might have been the first to rotate in at the cornerback spot hurts and an early injury for a true freshman always stings because it stunts growth. The good news is that this doesn’t appear like it will have a dramatic effect on this upcoming season because of the depth that has been amassed, something this Tar Heel staff deserves a lot of credit for.