The Tar Heels finish 2021 spring practice with the annual Spring Game at Kenan Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Tar Heels will hold the Blue-White scrimmage to showcase the returning players—and freshmen getting a head start—for next season.
Obviously, quarterback Sam Howell will be one of the players to watch as he prepares for what might be a Heisman Trophy candidacy as a junior next season. The record-setting Carolina quarterback will be breaking in a whole new group of skill players, since many of the offensive weapons from last season will be hoping to hear their names called in the NFL Draft later this week.
Beau Corrales is the top returning offensive playmaker. The receiver returns for his super senior year. The team will also show off new running back Ty Chandler, a graduate transfer from Tennessee.
The defense returns several key players, including Tomon and Tomari Fox, a group of young linemen who got experience last season, and linebackers Jeremiah Gemmel and Eugene Asante.
The secondary also returns several key components.
Carolina also has several freshmen who enrolled early to get the chance to participate in spring, including promising quarterback of the future Drake Maye. The brother of Tar Heel basketball star Luke, Maye shunned Alabama to come to Carolina. Running back Caleb Hood could also help to fill the lack of star power at offensive skill spots.
On defense, lineman Keeshawn Silver is the marquee name among the freshmen. Linebacker Power Echols also promises to be a must see.
Players unavailable for the game today are:
Starting center OL Brian Anderson. He's at his brother's wedding this weekend.
Out injured are WR Khafre Brown (lower body), DB Storm Duck (lower body), OL Joshua Ezeudu (lower body), DL Tomari Fox (upper body), kicker Jonathan Kim (lower body) and DB Javon Terry (lower body)
Not playing (coaches decision) are linebackers Tomon Fox and Jeremiah Gemmel.
The teams are going through 45 minutes of drills before starting the scrimmage. Participating in the drills but not the game will be OL Wisdom Asaboro, OL A.J. Beatty and WR Beau Corrales.
Howell's first pass was a 26 yard sideline pass to Downs, who dropped it. Chandler gets his first carry on the second snap, going five yards.
Howell sacked to end the first drive. Jacolby Criswell is quarterbacking the second team. Hood opens with a 12 yard run.
We get our first look at Drake Maye. He looks to go deep but throws behind Kobe Paysour about 30 yards downfield.
Drake Maye scrambles 11 yards to the six for a first and goal.
Josh Henderson, who had 33 yards rushing on the drive, takes it in from six yards out for the game's first score. Redshirt freshman Noah Burnette misses the extra point.
Howell runs the same sideline pass to Downs as before and hits it this time for 48. Heels inside the 20.
Howell to Antoine Green for 13 yards and a score. Grayson Atkins hits the PAT and the Tar Heels (first team) leads Carolina (names are based on the end zone they're going toward), 7-6
After a pair of Eugene Asante end the backup offense's drive, Howell hits Emery Simmons in heavy coverage for 44 yards. Back into the red zone.
Howell goes for it on fourth and nine and Green picks up a pass interference. RB DJ Jones takes it in from one yard out to make it 14-7.
Drake Maye completes what would have been a 40-yarder,dodging the rush and hitting Justin Olson on the sideline. Refs rule Olson was out of bounds, however. Replays show that might have been the wrong call. No review in the spring game.
May moves the second teamers to the four but misses a fade in the end zone, long. Motion moves them back, and he misses Gavin Blackwell in the end zone on fourth down.
Jefferson Boaz with a nice play fake and runs 38 yards for the score.
Christopher Holliday gets an interception in the end zone to end it.