top of page

Heel Tough Blog: Three Defensive Starters Being Monitored Leading Up to ACC Championship Game

Bob Donnan- USA Today Sports

On Friday, the Tar Heels suffered a second-consecutive loss that took some of the steam out of what had been a remarkable season. They will have a chance to atone for those losses on Saturday when they meet the Clemson Tigers in Charlotte in a rematch of the 2015 ACC Championship Game. They may have to do so without three starters in their defensive backfield, though.

The team released news before Mack Brown’s Monday presser today that cornerbacks Tony Grimes and Storm Duck and safety Cam’Ron Kelly will be monitored throughout the week due to injury. Grimes missed Friday night's game vs. NC State with an upper body injury and Duck exited just before the start of the 4th quarter with an upper body injury of his own. As for Kelly, he left the game early in the second quarter with a lower body injury and did not return. Now, all three will head into the game questionable, meaning that the depth could be tested heavily on Saturday.

At safety, the team will roll with a combination of Don Chapman and Will Hardy if Kelly can’t go alongside Giovanni Biggers, who also exited the game on Friday with an undisclosed injury. Chapman has been arguably the team’s best overall safety this season and Hardy has shown some nice flashes throughout the season at both safety and nickel corner. With the success that the duo had against NC State, they could get more reps even if both starters are active.

Meanwhile, the team is in a much more uncertain spot at corner. Sophomore transfer Lejond Cavazos and true freshman Marcus Allen did some good things on Friday night, but neither has played just many significant snaps so far this season. The hope is that at least one of the veteran starters can go, but if they can’t, Friday’s performances should at least give people a little bit of confidence heading in.

This Tar Heel defense has struggled nearly the entire season, but they have taken some small steps over the past couple of weeks due to the play of the defensive backfield. The hope is that injuries won’t derail that progress and instead help in the search for more consistency and depth.


bottom of page