Ford, who was expected to compete for reps at the vacant safety spot left behind by Myles Dorn this preseason, is coming off a career year in 2019. He played in all 13 games a year ago for the Tar Heels, including seven starts in the defensive backfield. Ford finished the 2019 season with 54 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one interception, ranking sixth on the team in total tackles.
Terry played in all thirteen games a year ago for the Tar Heels as a redshirt freshman, playing 19 snaps. He finished the season with four total tackles, including a tackle for loss and one sack. Terry also played a significant role for the Tar Heels’ special teams unit.
Watts announcement is a bit shocking, as this will be his second straight season where he will sit out. Last year, Watts was forced to sit out following his transfer from Virginia Tech, but was able to work with the team in practice. The Tar Heels were excited about Watts being a part of the team this year after a nice start to his career with the Hokies back in 2017 and 2018.
While none of the players from this group were returning starters from a year ago, this is still a significant blow to this Tar Heel secondary. Ford looked primed to compete for significant reps at safety over the next couple of weeks, while Watts was expected to compete for a back up spot at corner. Terry is also a versatile player who was expected to help provide depth at both cornerback and safety. The good news for the Tar Heels is that this group was the deepest on the team heading into camp, so it was not a death blow. However, losing three members from the same position is still an obstacle the defensive staff will have to navigate.