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Heel Tough Blog: Tar Heels Portal Pursuit Update

The Tar Heels haven’t been the most active team in the transfer portal so far, but the team has started to publicly offer some players in the last couple of days. Here is a look at the guys that the team has offered and those that they have shorted some interest in at least so far.


Offers

Joey Slackman- Penn

Andy Lewis- Getty Images

The Penn defensive tackle transfer is one of the most popular names in the portal right now and the Tar Heels are one of the more than 25 teams that have already been in contact with him. Now, the staff has their work cut out for themselves with Slackman already holding offers from Michigan, Washington and Oregon amongst others. Over the course of the last two years, he has 97 total tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks and took home All-Ivy League honors last year. Clint Brewster of 247Sports has compared Slackman to Braden Fiske who has made a major impact on Florida State this year after transferring in from Western Michigan. This is a big fish that seems unlikely to land in Chapel Hill at this point.


Howard Sampson- North Texas

Marco Berrera- Cleburne Times-Review

The offensive line is a spot where the Tar Heels need to be aggressive in the portal with all that is departing and Sampson would be a nice start. The redshirt freshman has played in just four games in his career and has yet to start one, but he looks really good in the snaps that he took for the Mean Green at left tackle at the end of the season. He graded out about a 70 in each of the three major categories for offensive linemen according to Pro Football Focus, including a 76.8 overall grade. He has a strong connection with Randy Clements, who coached him in 2022, so you would have to believe that the Tar Heels are at a little bit of an advantage here. There is still work to do, though, with five other power conference teams having already offered.


Tyrane Stewart- East Mississippi Community College

East Mississippi Community College Athletics

Stewart is the first JUCO transfer that the team has offered in a while and would be a welcome addition to the corner room. In twelve games this season, he finished with 58 total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 12 pass deflections and two field goal blocks. The majority of the 28 offers that he has are from non-Power 4 schools, so it feels like the Tar Heels have a legitimate shot here if they prioritize him. The question is will they with some bigger names on the market?


Ethan Miner- North Texas

Christopher Leduc- Getty Images

The Tar Heels need to replace center Corey Gaynor this offseason and you can’t really do much better than Miner. His 82.8 grade was the second-best mark amongst centers in the FBS this season and he didn’t allow a single sack and only six pressures the entire season. This breakout season came after an up and down start to his career at Arkansas State, the school that he transferred from last offseason meaning there is no prior connection to offensive line coach Randy Clements like. Like Slackman, there is some stiff competition here starting with Arkansas and Mississippi State which already have visits scheduled. Penn State and NC State are also among those who have shown interest. The Tar Heels will have a fighting chance here, but they need to work fast to put themselves firmly in the running.


Interest

Nyland Green- Georgia

Scott Winters- Getty Images

Chad Simmons of On3 Sports said yesterday when Green entered the portal that the Tar Heels are one of three schools to watch for with him along with Arkansas and UCF. Green, a former top 100 player according to 247Sports Composite player rankings, has tremendous upside and would immediately be positioned to earn a starting role. He saw his most significant snaps this season, playing 94 over six games and he graded out well in coverage with a 77.9 mark on Pro Football Focus. There will probably be other P4 schools that will enter the fray, but the fact that Charlton Warren, who was his lead recruiter when he landed at Georgia, and Larry Porter, who was his lead recruiter at Auburn, should give the Tar Heels some legitimate hope here.


Kelly Akharaiyi- UTEP

Peter Joneleit- Getty Images

The Tar Heels interest in transfer wide receivers probably depends heavily on what decision Tez Walker makes on his future. Akharaiyi is a big play receiver who finished fifth nationally in yards per reception (21.5) and closed the year with four straight 100-yard receiving yards on the way to a 1,000-yard receiving season. He would be a welcome replacement for Walker if he was to leave, but that decision might take too long for the Tar Heels to be a factor here.

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