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Heel Tough Blog: Which OL Transfers Should Tar Heels Be Talking To?

In Mack Brown’s media availability on Tuesday, he said that the Tar Heels are still looking for help along the offensive and defensive lines. While the team did land some help on the offensive line later that day in the form of DIII transfer Zach Greenberg, the team is still in need of help in this room. Here is a look at some of the names that the team should still be considering in the portal.

C Vincent Murphy- Western Kentucky

@VinnieMurphy76- Twitter

There are too many reasons for the Tar Heels not to be involved in his recruitment. For one, bringing in a legitimate starting center would allow the team to keep Willie Lampkin at right guard, a position he thrived in with the team this season. The bigger reason, though, is just how productive Murphy was this year for the Hilltoppers. He had an outstanding year in pass protection, allowing zero sacks and six quarterback pressures this season. He also had a really strong year in run blocking, grading out at a 66.3, a mark that would have been second amongst Tar Heel offensive linemen this season. Murphy began his career at South Carolina before transferring for playing time and his game against Ohio State this season shows he can play at the power conference level. This one should be a no-brainer for this staff to at least pursue.

IOL Geirean Hatchett- Washington

Christopher Hook- Getty Images

Hatchett was a part of college football's top offensive line this season and while he wasn’t a full-time starter for the team, this is a player that is still worth taking a shot on to be a possible starter at right guard. Hatchett started four games this season for the Huskies, looking very solid in the first two against California and Arizona before really struggling and being benched against Arizona State following a rough game against Oregon. He graded out really well as a run blocker, but had his issues in pass protection. In the last five games that he saw action in, he allowed at least one pressure, although none of them resulted in a sack. He is far from the sure thing that other members of the Washington offensive line that are in the portal are, but it certainly worth taking a shot on with where the Tar Heels are at right now the guard spot.

OT Jacob Rizy- Harvard

Harvard Athletics

The Tar Heels have experience with dipping into the portal for Harvard offensive tackles and it might be worth trying this pipeline one more time. Rizy has had back-to-back all-conference seasons out of his left tackle spot, grading out at a 67.4 or higher in each of the three major categories in back-to-back seasons. He has allowed just two sacks and thirteen total pressures in the last two years, something that no one else on this list has been able to do. Rizy was more productive than Spencer Rolland was when he was at this level, so this is worth the risk.

IOL Will McDonald- Coastal Carolina

Dave Jensen- Getty Images

The Tar Heels went the Coastal Carolina route last year to find some help on the offensive line and it wouldn’t be a bad option again this offseason. McDonald wasn’t nearly as productive as Willie Lampkin was in his time with the Chanticleers, but he still had two very solid years as a starter. He never graded out lower than a 60.8 in any of the three major categories and this year, he took a major leap as a pass protector. His struggles against UCLA, the Chanticleers lone game against a Power 5 team this past season is a little bit concerning, but this is still someone that Randy Clements should be strongly considering.

OT Luke Newman- Holy Cross

M. Anthony Smith- Getty Images

Newman is one of a few FCS players that will show up on this list and for good reason. He had an amazing 2023, allowing grades out at 80.0 or above in all three areas according to PFF. He allowed just one sack and five quarterback pressures in 326 pass protection reps and had a really good showing in the game against Boston College, the one FBS opponent the team faced tonight. There could be some concern about this year being a one year flash in the pan, but that doesn't mean that he isn’t worth taking a shot on.

IOL Raymond Pulido- Arizona

Arizona Athletics

Pulido is another player out of the Pac-12 that the Tar Heels should be taking a look at. In his first season at the college level this past year, he played 329 snaps, the majority of which came late in the season when he became Arizona’s starter at right guard. He was forced to play left tackle in the bowl game against Oklahoma and really struggled, but he had some really solid starts out of that right guard spot. His run blocking grade of 45.7 according to PFF is concerning, but there is still a lot of upside for him as a younger player. The Tar Heels may want someone who is a little more experienced, but this is still someone the staff should be considering.

OT Micah Sahakian- Cornell

Cornell Athletics

Sahakian is a name that isn’t getting a lot of buzz in the portal right now because of where he played, but he had a fantastic season in the Ivy League this year. He graded out above an 85.0 in all three categories according to PFF and did not post a pass protection grade lower than 71.0 in any of his ten starts this season. In 397 pass protection reps, he allowed just one sack and four total pressures. Considering the level of competition, it is a risk, but this would certainly be worth considering what the room looks like right now.

OT Jalen Travis- Princeton

Princeton Athletics

Travis is one of two players on this list that has an offer from the team at this point and is also one of the biggest risks. While he had a really good year this year, allowing just one sack and three total pressures, his production came in just six games after an injury in the team’s second game. He still appears to have taken a nice leap this past season and could be worth taking a chance on to give the room some experience at the position.

IOL Quantavious Leslie- Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky Athletics

Leslie was one of the names that the Tar Heels were tied to early in the process and it’s one that the team needs to revisit. He has been very solid for the Hilltoppers in each of the last three seasons, especially in pass protection where he has graded out at 79.8 or higher according to PFF in each of those years. He is one of the weaker run blockers on this list, which is why he is so far down, but he is a guy that could be worth taking a flier on to at least compete for the left guard spot.

IOL Darrell Simmons Jr.- Iowa State

Iowa State Athletics

Simmons Jr. is one of the biggest risks here, but may be worth bringing in just to compete with those that are already on the roster. He had three really solid seasons to begin his career at Iowa State out of the left guard spot, but lost his starting job this season after three games. His grades in all of the major categories are similar to what we have seen from the Tar Heel offensive linemen recently, which means he shouldn’t be guaranteed a starting spot, but bringing him in as someone to compete with the inexperienced guys on the roster wouldn’t be the worst idea.

OT Jakiah Leftwich- Georgia Tech

Kelly Quinlan- JacketsOnline

This appears to be the player that the team is tied to the most right now, but there is a reason that we have him at the bottom of this list. He has never played more than 347 snaps in a season, meaning he has never been a full-time starter. His struggles as a run blocker and inconsistencies in pass protection is the reason why he hit the bench in the middle of the season and eventually led to him entering the portal. So far in his career, he has allowed three sacks and 28 total pressures in 381 pass protection reps and posted a sub-55.0 grade in both of his seasons where he has seen action. This should be a last resort option for the team, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here.


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