#20 North Carolina Football 2020 Preview

North Carolina Tar Heels
Overall Rank: #20
#2 ACC
 North Carolina Logo
Coach Mack Brown’s return to North Carolina went quite well in year one. The Tar Heels went 7-6 overall and crushed Temple in the Military Bowl. With plenty of talent returning and another impressive recruiting class, the hopes are very high that this could be the second best team in the ACC.
2019 Record: 7-6, 4-4
2019 Bowl: Military Bowl vs. Temple (W 55-13)
Coach: Mack Brown (76-52-1 at North Carolina, 251-128-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Phil Longo
Defensive Coordinator: Jay Bateman, Tommy Thigpen
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Michael Carter, RB, 1,003 yards
Passing: Sam Howell, QB, 3,641 yards
Receiving: Dyami Brown, WR, 1,034 yards
Tackles: Chazz Surratt, LB, 115
Sacks: Chazz Surratt, LB, 6.5; Tomon Fox, LB, 6.5
Interceptions: Myles Wolfolk, DB, 3
Other Key Returnees: RB Javonte Williams, WR Dazz Newsome, WR Beau Corrales, LB Jeremiah Gemmel, DB D.J. Ford, DB Storm Duck
Key Losses: RB Antonio Williams, OL Charlie Heck, S Myles Dorn, LB Dominique Ross, DT Aaron Crawford, DT Jason Strowbridge
North Carolina sported a potent offense last season, ranking second in the conference in total offense and scoring offense, tallying over 33 points per game. This year should be even better. Quarterback Sam Howell threw for 3,641 yards and 38 touchdowns. More impressive than those numbers is the fact that he was just a freshman and completed 61.4 percent of his 422 pass attempts while throwing a mere seven interceptions. All of Howell’s favorite targets are back too. Dyami Brown is the big play receiver and averaged over 20 yards per catch. Dazz Newsome led the squad with 72 receptions and Beau Corrales is a steady third option. The ground game will again be led by Michael Carter and Javonte Williams. Those two split carries last season and combined to rush for 1,936 yards and eight scores. The biggest problem last season was the inexperienced offensive line. With four starters back, that is no longer a concern and this could be one of the more potent offenses in the country.
The defense returns plenty of talent and should finally have enough depth across the board to see a boost in production. The pass rush should be in decent shape with linebackers Chazz Surratt and Tomon Fox leading the charge, but the Tar Heels will need to find a few new big bodies to occupy the defensive front. There are some young, talented options. Meanwhile, Surratt will take charge of the unit after tallying 115 tackles in 2019. The secondary returns mostly intact, with Myles Wolfolk leading the way. The unit as a whole does have room to improve, but their experience should now be beneficial.
The Bottom Line:
North Carolina has all the pieces to be a serious contender in the ACC. It will not take long to find out if UNC has hopes of making an impact on the national level too. They start the season with a trip to UCF before playing Auburn in Atlanta. If they can win those two games, they could be favored the rest of the way through the regular season. That is because the Tar Heels avoid Clemson in the regular season. The biggest conference games figure to be against Virginia Tech on October 10th at home and a trip to Miami two weeks later. With such a potentially friendly schedule, North Carolina could be one of the surprise teams of the 2020 season.
Projected Bowl: Orange Bowl
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 188.2 (38th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 285.8 (25, 3)
Total Offense: 474.0 (12, 2)
Scoring Offense: 33.1 (30, 2)
Rushing Defense: 143.5 (51, 7)
Pass Defense: 229.6 (71, 7)
Total Defense: 373.2 (49, 6)
Scoring Defense: 23.7 (44, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.62 (19, 3)
Sacks: 2.38 (49, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.85 (113, 9)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#38 Chazz Surratt