WR/KR/PR Brandon Tate

2007 Statistics

Coach: Butch Davis
4-8, 1 year
2007 Record: 3-9
at East Carolina LOST 31-34
at South Florida LOST 10-37
at Virginia Tech LOST 10-17
at Wake Forest LOST 10-37
at NC State LOST 27-31
at Georgia Tech LOST 25-27
DUKE WON 20-14 (OT)

2007 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2008 Outlook

Like many first year administrations, Butch Davis and his staff made little headway with their new team’s dismal win total. It has been six years since a winning record was in place to end the season in Chapel Hill. During that span, only two seasons have featured defenses that allowed less than 300 points, and one of them was seen in 2007 (289). The 2007 point differential - the difference between how many points were allowed last year and how many were scored -was -35, the least separation of these two all-important numbers during the recent losing span. The proverbial and literal gaps are closing already. Struggling to get to .500 is part of the Tar Heel’s continued destiny, but climbing the ACC Coastal Division ladder is also a likely scenario.

As usual, Davis has more plans/players up his sleeve. The pieces are in place; whatever hand he was initially dealt, Davis’s first two recruiting classes have been bumper crops. This year, the JUCO infusions will surely help, but just as many eager, young freshmen are ready at the coaches’ command to prove their wares. When the coach is a national championship winner, you see guys giving 110%. That means the work ethic is in place, and it’s just a matter of time until the execution catches up with it.

QB T.J. Yates will improve after his freshman campaign proved much. On defense, the guy who will make this year a breakout effort will be Marvin Austin at DT. Nine returning starters on offense and eight on defense mean talent is already procured. The ability for this much experience and budding youth to mix could mean a huge year…or it could mean more incremental steps. The bottom line is, this team will be better, but how much remains to be seen.

The early part of the slate will define the 2008 Tar Heels. The rematch at Rutgers seems tough, but most of the hardest league games are Kenan Stadium. It equals a workable schedule for a winning year. Davis is building this program in his image, and fans will be happy sooner than later. But in a conference that is very competitive, there are no guarantees.

Projected 2008 record: 6-6
QB - 3 DL - 3.5
RB - 2.5 LB - 3
WR - 4.5 DB - 4
OL - 3.5 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: T.J. Yates, 218-365-18, 2655 yds., 14 TD

Rushing: Johnny White, 95 att., 399 yds., 0 TD

Receiving: Hakeem Nicks, 74 rec., 958 yds., 5 TD

Scoring: Brandon Tate, 7 TD, 42 pts.

Punting: Terrence Brown, 64 punts, 41.4 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: Trimane Goddard, 59 tot., 41 solo; Charles Brown, 59 tot., 43 solo

Sacks: E.J. Wilson, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Deunta Williams, 3 for 84 yds.

Kickoff returns: Brandon Tate, 39 ret., 24.1 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Brandon Tate, 23 ret., 9.4 avg., 1 TD


DB Deunta Williams
OFFENSE: Scott Lenahan-C, Connor Barth-K
DEFENSE: Hilee Taylor-DE, Kentwan Balmer-DT, Durell Mapp-WLB, Kendric Williams-CB

The good news is that Butch Davis’s second year should mean the troops are ready for more than merely adjusting to a new system. The steady advancements of Freshman All-American T.J. Yates give the Tar Heels a solid hurler around which to grow. The bad news is that all of this happened despite coordinator John Shoop. Shoop coached Yates to his current level (QBs coach), so his presence isn’t all bad. History has told a different story on Shoop. Drops in production seen in Shoop’s stints at Oakland (OC in 2006 when Raiders finished last in the NFL for total offense) and Chicago (2001-03, as Bears lost yardage per game in his successive years there) have us skeptical of his ability to bring much to Davis’s schemes. But whatever – as long as Yates keeps rising up the learning curve, this offense can grow. 6’5 Yates drops back and rarely runs, and his 18 INTs mean decision-making still needs tweaking. But the promise he showed with his 59.7% completion rate (when foes knew the 107th-ranked running game couldn’t deliver) is the sliver of hope for this offense to be better. Junior Cam Sexton led the team in 2006, and his work with passing coach Tom Martinez (Tom Brady’s guy) in the off-season means Yates will be on a short leash. Mike Paulus is the by-default third-stringer, but that’s only due to his inexperience when compared to Yates and Sexton.

After their struggles, the RB unit has much to prove. A WR-athlete with a prep background as a RB, Greg Little was a member of the Tar Heel receiver corps last year prior to being tapped at RB. An athlete beyond most found at this level, Little should be a 1,000-yard guy. Houston and ex-QB Bobby Rome will vie for second-back face time, with Rome being tapped due to his soft hands and Houston due to his north-south approach/success. Last year’s No.2 Tar Heel runner, Anthony Elzy bumps into that same second-back role, too. Overall, there are too many big backs and not enough few little quicksters. All-ACC Brandon Tate is deadly in the open field, and last year he got the ball handed to him about once a game with great effect.

A senior now, Tate is one of the leaders on offense with his deep threat abilities. Foes will feel artificially intoxicated turning their heads to cover Brooks Foster, especially when Hakeem Nicks is distracting them since Nicks is now that ‘go to’ type which foes always need to mark. 6’6 RS frosh Rashad Mason and 6’4 senior Kenton Thornton offer tight end-like qualities. True TE Richard Quinn has hands for grabbing passes, but his size makes him wanted for his blocking just as much. Pianalto seems to go into pattern more (had 24 catches compared to Quinn’s four).

Targets abound for Yates to find, and he should find plenty of time to hit them with so many upperclassmen returning to start (four). The (new) fifth guy is LG Byron Bishop for now, but he will have to stay sharp to hold off bigger/younger combo of Pelc and Bishop. How Reynolds stays at right tackle when LT (ex-TE) Kyle Jolly grades out 10 points lower (88% vs. 78%) remains a mystery. Darity is the run-blocking specialist needed inside, while Stahl bumps to center, where his brand of leading-by-example can be the OL undertone as he calls the blocking schemes. The elements and players seem in place, and even Shoop cannot seemingly fail as long as consistency can be established.


WR Hakeem Nicks


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB T.J. Yates-So (6-3, 210) Mike Paulus-Fr (6-5, 215)
FB Bobby Rome-Jr (5-11, 250) Anthony Elzy-So (5-10, 210)
RB Greg Little-So (6-3, 210) Ryan Houston-Fr (6-2, 255)
WR Hakeem Nicks-Jr (6-1, 210) Kenton Thornton-Jr (6-4, 230)
WR Brandon Tate-Sr (6-1, 195) Brooks Foster-Sr (6-3, 205)
TE Richard Quinn-Sr (6-4, 250) Zack Planalto-So (6-4, 240)
OT Kyle Jolly-Jr (6-6, 300) Carl Gaskins-Fr (6-5, 295)
OG Bryon Bishop-Sr (6-3, 300) Alan Pelc-So (6-6, 325)
C Aaron Stahl-Jr (6-3, 290) Lowell Dyer-Jr (6-3, 280)
OG Calvin Darity-Sr (6-3, 300) Kevin Bryant-Fr (6-7, 350)
OT Garrett Reynolds-Sr (6-7, 310) Mike Ingersoll-So (6-5, 295)
K Jay Wooten-Fr (6-3, 185) Trase Jones-So (6-0, 185)



The same eerie feeling comes over fans when they realize their other hands-on leader, first-year defensive coordinator Everett Withers, was the DC for the worst defense in the bowl subdivision last year – Minnesota. Then, upon viewing Withers’ strong résumé, a different emotional conclusion is likely made. His time under Jeff Fisher at Tennessee (NFL) compliments Withers’ accomplishments at BCS schools Texas and Louisville…this Charlotte native seems like a good fit, especially as the DB specialist. There is much more to work with here than in Minnesota, and UNC’s No.35 total defense returns eight legitimate starters. Sadly missed will be Hilee Taylor, so meddle will be tested to see who fills the leadership void he left. Inside, it will be up to Mullins and Thomas to battle it out for one of the assignments, each getting time depending on the down and distance needed – Thomas is used on runs so Mullins’ ability to penetrate and use his quickness can be banked upon when those qualities are needed (plays that take longer to develop). The big news is Marvin Austin and his readiness to build on his Freshman All-American campaign. This former No.1 DT prospect has the physical skills to dominate at the next level, so seeing a future NFL star in his developmental stages makes it worth following the Heels’ DL. Considering the DL’s outside size, rushing the passer will be a challenge. Wilson has proven abilities, but as the best DE, he will get extra attention. Powell is the lone speedster in the DE crew, making his development into a sack artiste crucial.

The linebackers are a ragtag bunch, no more exemplified than by MIKE Mark Paschal. After losing his starting status to now-departed Wesley Flagg (left during off season), Paschal earned it back by the end of 2007 and proved his range in his 17-tackle performance against Duke. Stacked behind Paschal are true frosh speedster Kevin Reddick and special team sensation Ryan Taylor, so Mark has to stay on his game. Senior SAM Chase Rice is back after being lost in the ’07 opener to an ankle injury, but he lost his assured starting nod to Bruce Carter. As just a true frosh thrown in over his head, Carter was admirable in his effort as he climbed the learning curve and proved to be on top of things by season’s end. Their battle benefits the entire D; each will see time. Quan Sturdivant was the other true freshman who saw starting time when Rice went down, but Sturdivant earned Freshman All-ACC honors to secure the continued start at WILL. Learning to play together is all the LBs have to do so all of their size and speed can be brought to bear.

Ex-QB Trimane Goddard has carried his leadership skills to this side of scrimmage. His return in 2007 from two separate foot injuries in 2006 proved Goddard is back up to speed. Trimane is the lone senior on the DB two-deep, so his health is vital. Deunta Williams won the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year vote; the former WR will complete a formidable pair of safeties. JUCO standout Melvin Williams, here for the entire spring, brings much needed experience to this group. Many will label the corners as a comical unit since Charles Brown and Richie Rich are vying for one of the starts. Brown’s nine starts as a frosh will go a long way toward securing him the slot, but Rich is a proven open-field tackler looking to prove his switch from RB midway through 2007 was worth the staff making. Under Withers, this possible marginal dimension (coverage) should be OK. Burney can do the job, even at 5’9, of the other corner, though, speedy Jordan Hemby returns from his 2006 knee troubles to push Burney and the position to new heights. Last year’s No.27 pass defense is poised (with so many starters back) to be even better.

Overall, the defense itself is on the verge of making some major waves. Finishing ranked 35th in the nation for total defense was only good enough for 8th place in the ACC; ergo, you can see how good the stoppers have to be if UNC wants to ride its defense to new heights.


DB Trimane Goddard


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Greg Elleby-So (6-4, 285) Darrius Massenburg-So (6-3, 280)
DT Aleric Mullins-Jr (6-3, 295) Cam Thomas-Jr (6-4, 325)
DT Marvin Austin-So (6-3, 295) Tydreke Powell-Fr (6-3, 310)
DE E.J. Wilson-Jr (6-2, 265) Darius Powell-So (6-2, 230)
SLB Chase Rice-Sr (6-3, 220) Bruce Carter-So (6-3, 220)
MLB Mark Paschal-Sr (6-0, 230) Ryan Taylor-Jr (6-3, 240)
WLB Quan Sturdivant-So (6-2, 230) Kennedy Tinsley-Jr (6-0, 220)
CB Charles Brown-So (5-10, 190) Richie Rich-Jr (5-9, 195)
CB Kendric Burney-So (5-9, 180) Johnny White-So (5-10, 205)
SS Trimane Goddard-Sr (5-11, 195) Da'Norris Searcy-So (6-0, 200)
FS Deunta Williams-So (6-2, 195) Melvin Williams-Jr (6-0, 205)
P Terrence Brown-Sr (6-3, 190) Jay Wooten-Fr (6-3, 185)




Terrence Brown is the kind of consistent performer that can give the Tar Heels an advantage in their field position battles. Laurinburg’s Jay Wooten looks like he will become a solid contributor, but replacing K Conner Barth is a tough prospect since Barth only missed from outside the 50. Brandon Tate earned 1,155 total return yards for UNC in 2007; hopefully, the number of kick returns can go down as Tate’s average goes up. As the school’s greatest all-time return specialist, Tate is a valuable commodity.