The main news of the day on Monday was the announcement that three Tar Heels will sit out the bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft, but that wasn’t the only piece of news worth noting. Two Tar Heels who were expected to enter the transfer portal at some point this offseason officially entered their names on Monday afternoon.
The first player to announce his intentions to transfer was quarterback Jace Ruder. Ruder, who participated in senior day festivities prior to the Western Carolina game back on December 5th, was expected to enter the transfer portal while he is on track to graduate in the spring. Today, he made it official via social media, also confirming that he will have four years of eligibility remaining, basically giving him a full restart to his career. Ruder finishes his career with 98 yards passing and a 1-0 touchdown-interception ratio and 40 rushing yards on 11 carries.
The other player who announced his decision to enter the transfer portal on Monday was kicker Noah Ruggles, another player who was honored back on December 5th. Ruggles was a key special teams member for the team back in 2019, handling all but five of the team’s place-kicking opportunities before losing his job this offseason to graduate transfer Grayson Atkins, who has confirmed he will return for a second year in Chapel Hill with the COVID-19 exceptions in place. Ruggles, who was 45-45 on extra points and 19-27 on field goals as a sophomore in 2019, will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Considering that both of these players held backup roles on this team this season, these moves won’t have a major effect going forward next season. As we mentioned above, Atkins is returning for another season with the Tar Heels in 2021, while the team is also expected to return both Jonathan Kim and Noah Burnette behind him. At quarterback, sophomore starter Sam Howell will of course be back, while true freshmen Jacolby Criswell and Jefferson Boaz will also return. The Tar Heels will add 2021 4✮ PRO Drake Maye to the mix, as well, in January.