For the first time in a while, there are a group of major storylines that we need to get you caught up on around the Tar Heel football program. Here are the headlines that you may have missed this week.
Tar Heels Predicted to Finish Third in ACC According to Media
The ACC released their preseason poll on Friday morning, just six days ahead of the start of the season for the conference. According to the media votes, the Tar Heels, who have hopes of making the ACC Championship game for the first time since 2015, will fall just short of that, landing in third with 1,682 total votes, putting them behind both the Clemson Tigers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This is the best preseason poll standing for the Tar Heels since the 2016 season, where they were predicted to win the ACC Coastal and play for the ACC title.
Three Tar Heels Named to Preseason All-ACC Team
The ACC released their official preseason team on Friday morning, as well, and three Tar Heels landed on the prestigious list. Both Dazz Newsome and Michael Carter are a part of the offensive unit, as Newsome joins Florida State’s Tamorrion Terry and Louisville's Tutu Atwell as the conference receivers and Carter is given the all-purpose first team honor. On defense, second team preseason All-American Chazz Surratt was the top vote getter at linebacker, receiving 106 votes, the second most of any defensive player in the conference trailing only Florida State defensive tackle Marvin Wilson.
Two Tar Heels Receive Conference POY Vote
While Clemson dominated the voting for conference player of the year, two of the Tar Heels stars did receive a vote to take home the prestigious honor. Surratt and quarterback Sam Howell both received one vote a piece, making the Tar Heels the only team outside of Clemson to have two players receive a vote.
Mack Brown Named to Dodd Trophy Watch List
The Tar Heels head coach received some preseason recognition of his own, landing on the watch list for the 2020 Dodd Trophy which will be given out by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Brown is one of just thirteen coaches nationally that will coach in the fall to be named to the watch list and one of the four ACC coaches on the list. The watch list was created through a selection process by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, taking into consideration each program's graduation rate, commitment to service and charity in the community, projected success for the 2020 season and Academic Progress Rate (APR). The Dodd Trophy, college football's most coveted national coaching award, celebrates the head coach of a team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity – the three pillars of legendary coach Bobby Dodd's coaching philosophy.
Heels in Top Four for Ingram-Dawkins
One of the Tar Heels top remaining targets in the 2021 recruiting cycle got a bit closer to a decision on Wednesday when 2021 4✮ DT Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins narrowed his decision from six down to four. Once again, the Tar Heels were able to make the cut for the top player in the state of South Carolina, who is still attempting to hold out hope for the opportunity to take official visits at some point this fall. As of right now, the Georgia Bulldogs would appear to be a slight favorite, but the situation may have become a bit more cloudy on Friday when 2021 3✮ DT Marlin Dean recommitted to the Bulldogs. The Tar Heels have some ground to make up here and must be able to get Ingram-Dawkins on campus for a visit at some point if they want to land his commitment, but the good news is they are at least hanging around.
Paysour Transferring to South Carolina For Senior Season
One thing that might help the Tar Heels chances with Ingram-Dawkins is the fact that his newest teammate is a current Tar Heel commit. As first reported by Joe L. Hughes II of the Gaston Gazette, the senior wide receiver who has spent the first three years of his high school career at Kings Mountain High School in Kings Mountain, NC has transferred to Gaffney High School in Gaffney, SC for the opportunity to play this fall. In his time at Kings Mountain, Paysour caught 158 passes for 3,382 yards and 46 touchdowns, helping to turn the Mountaineers offense into one of the best in the state of North Carolina. Paysour will be looking to give the Indians that offensive boost they need after falling short in the 5A upper state final game a year ago. The first game for Paysour in a Gaffney uniform will be on September 25th on the road against Carolina Forest, a team that played in the 5A lower state finals a year ago.
Cunningham Reveals Losses and Furloughs
We knew that COVID-19 would have an effect on the Tar Heels athletic department and on Thursday, athletic director Bubba Cunningham revealed some of the damage that has already been done. In a letter penned to the Tar Heel family, Cunningham revealed the department is expected to lose anywhere from $30 million to $52 million this year, meaning cuts will have to be made. Cunningham stated that the department has “already cut our sport budgets by 10 percent for 2020-21, implemented a spending freeze, halted non-essential travel and left 17 full-time open positions in the department unfilled.” Along with these moves, there are also scheduled to be some major salary cuts as well, with any coaches or staff members that make under $100,000 will be furloughed for 15 days, while anyone above $100,000 will see their salaries reduced until June 30, 2021. Cunningham closed the letter by stating all of these cuts still won’t be able to cover the losses for the department this year, meaning there may be more cuts coming at some point later on down the line.
Former QB Junior Edge Passes Away
Last Saturday, the Tar Heels lost one of its former players in former quarterback Junior Edge. In his three year career at Carolina from 1961-63, Edge amassed 2,448 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing 54.1% of his passes. Edge finished in the top two in the ACC in most major passing categories in both of his seasons as the starting quarterback in 1962 and 1963, including leading the conference in yards per attempt in both seasons. With Edge under center in ‘63, the Tar Heels were able to win their first ever ACC title, finishing the season 9-2 (6-1) and winning the Gator Bowl over Air Force to cap off his career. Edge passed away at the age of 79 surrounded by family members.