Although it seemed like an extremely quiet week around the Tar Heel football program, there were quite a few small storylines. Let’s take a look at the Tar Heel football storylines that you may have missed this week.
Toe Groves Wins Muscle Milk Male Athlete of the Year
Groves received the award on Tuesday and the football program made the official announcement yesterday afternoon. The junior receiver received the award from the Collegiate and Professional Dietitians Association for having a new nutritional diet that helped him to improved as a male athlete. Groves has gone from 160 lbs. during his freshman season to 187 lbs. in the spring. Last year, Groves played in nine games as a sophomore a year ago, catching ten passes for 183 yards and a touchdown after missing all but one game in his first two seasons on campus. Groves is currently listed as a backup on the projected two-deep and should have a chance to improve upon his numbers from a year ago.
Former WR Thomas Jackson Transfers to Louisville
Earlier in the offseason, there were some rumors that Thomas Jackson could return to the Tar Heel football program for a sixth year after receiving an extra year of eligibility. As made official Friday, though, Jackson will head to Louisville for his final season of eligibility. At Louisville, Jackson will have the opportunity to play under his former Tar Heel wide receiver coach Gunter Brewer, who took a job at the same position on Scott Satterfield’s staff earlier this offseason after a two year stint as the Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers coach. Jackson caught 40 passes for 401 yards and eight touchdowns in his four year Tar Heel career.
Six Players Receive Athlon Sports Preseason All-ACC Honors
Athlon Sports 2019 College Football Preview has officially hit newsstands around the country and six Tar Heel have made the outlets preseason All-ACC teams. Left tackle Charlie Heck is the Heels only member of the first team, after he graded out as the top returning offensive tackle in the ACC according to Pro Football Focus. Four Tar Heels landed on the second and third teams, as defensive tackle Jason Strowbridge (36 ttkl, 8.0 TFL, 5.0 scks, PD) and punt returner Dazz Newsome (19 PR, 15.1 avg, TD, 6 KR, 20.8 avg) both earned second team honors following strong 2018 seasons, while third team honors went to running back Michael Carter (84 rush, 597 yds, 2 TD) and tight end Carl Tucker (16 rec, 265 yds, 2 TD). The final Tar Heel to receive preseason recognition was defensive end Tomon Fox (27 ttkl, 8.5 TFL, 2.5 scks, 2 FR), who received an honorable mention. Cornerback Patrice Rene (31 ttkl, 2 INT, 5 PD) and nickelback Trey Morrison (46 ttkl, 5.5 TFL, 2.0 scks, 4 PD) are the biggest names to be left off the list.
Major 2020 Target Sets His Commitment Date for August 3rd
2020 4✮ DT Kedrick Bingley-Jones officially set his commitment date on Sunday evening. The Providence Day senior had 52 total tackles and 8.0 sacks in the first eight games a year ago, prior to Providence Day’s coaching staff cutting off the updating of stats. As of the moment, Carolina, Ohio State and NC State are seen as the favorites for Bingley-Jones, but there are others who continue to try and battle themselves into the race. The last 247sports crystal ball was in favor of the Heels, so the staff is clearly making a strong impression.
Heels Make Top Team Lists For Two 2020 Prospects
Two 2020 prospects narrowed their decision down this week, starting with 2020 3✮ OLB Choe Bryant-Strother. The Atlanta, GA area native has Carolina among his top ten that contains Michigan, Miami, Nebraska and Georgia Tech among others. 2020 3✮ ATH T Lee, an Arizona State commit, followed that up the next day by announcing that, while he will remain committed to Arizona State, he will focus on four schools over the next few months as he takes his official visits. Carolina will join Louisville and Nebraska as teams that will continue to try to flip his commitment from Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils.
Heels Miss Out on Three 4✮ RB’s
Two of the Heels targets at running back will be heading somewhere besides Chapel Hill to play their college football. 2020 4✮ RB Jo’Quavious Marks had the Heels in his top schools list, but on Monday, he announced his commitment to Mississippi State. Friday, 2020 4✮ APB Jabari Small announced his top six, which did not contain the Heels. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, 2020 4✮ APB Jahymr Gibbs committed to Georgia Tech, a move that was a bit unexpected, especially for the Heels who were in good standing with the Dalton, GA product. One name to now keep an eye on for the Heels at running back in the 2020 cycle is 3✮ RB D.J. Jones from Fayetteville, NC, who the Heels offered back in April.
Two Major Tar Heel Targets Receive Opening Finals Invitation
Nike officially began handing out The Opening Finals invitations earlier this week. Two major Tar Heel targets were among them as 2020 4✮ OLB Trenton Simpson and 2020 4✮ DT Jacolbe Cowan both received their invites over the past two days. The two major in-state targets will head to Frisco, TX in late to compete in what is highly regarded as the best offseason camp series’ finale.