Sunday was a crazy day around Tar Heel football ahead of the official opening of the transfer portal today, with four players announcing their intentions to head elsewhere. This morning another veteran member of the defensive front joined that group in the portal.
As first reported by Rivals.com, JACK end Chris Collins is entering the transfer portal for his final season of eligibility. This season, Collins was a key rotational piece for the first half of the season, before taking over the starting role at the JACK position after the season-ending injury to Noah Taylor. He finished the season with 20 total tackles and 0.5 a tackle for loss in 392 snaps played. He closes his Tar Heel career with 69 total tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 1,405 snaps over his five seasons in Chapel Hill.
The future of the JACK position was in question heading into the day, but this move almost guarantees that the team will have to go into the portal to add some veteran experience on the edge. Sophomore transfer Jacolbe Cowan and true freshman Malaki Hamrick will likely be tasked with filling the shoes of Collins in the bowl game and are the incumbents that will have the best shot to play a major role there next season. Redshirt freshman Gabe Stephens remains on the roster to provide deeper depth, but the door will be open immediately for members of the upcoming early signing class like Jaybron Harvey and Tyler Thompson to earn at least rotational roles. Grad senior Noah Taylor has submitted a waiver attempt, as well, that he is waiting to hear back on.