North Carolina football suspended 13 players for the sale of school-issued sneakers, which occurred back in January. That’s a big chunk of the roster that will miss at least one game; of that group, though, nine players will miss four games.
In that group of nine, quarterback Chazz Surratt, who was possibly in line to start the opener against Cal, seems to draw the most attention. However, there’s a bigger piece UNC will be without for a third of the season: defensive end Malik Carney.
Carney will sit against East Carolina, Central Florida, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.
Malik Carney is one of the most experienced players on North Carolina’s roster, and a disruptor off the edge. Now a senior, Carney enters the 2018 season with 11 career sacks, including 5.5 in 2017, and 20.5 tackles for loss. Carney was one of 18 ACC players last season with at least 12 tackles for loss.
Carney, who forced two fumbles a season ago, also led UNC with 12 run stuffs — tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage — according to Football Study Hall.
Sophomore defensive end Tomon Fox, a promising player, is also suspended for four games, too. The NCAA allowed UNC to stagger the suspensions of Carney and Fox, who had four sacks and two run stuffs in 2017.
Fox will sit out against Miami, Syracuse, Virginia and Georgia Tech.
For all of North Carolina’s struggles last season, and despite the injuries, UNC’s defensive line ranked 25th in the FBS in Havoc Rate (6.8 percent), per Football Study Hall. This is bad news for a defense that ranked outside the top 75 nationally in both rushing and passing S&P+, according to Football Study Hall.