Trend continues with UNC Football: Emery Simmons, Kristian Varner enter transfer portal

Following the loss at Notre Dame, two more North Carolina football players — Emery Simmons and Kristian Varner — have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal.

Simmons ranks third on UNC’s roster this season with 243 receiving yards and 11 receptions, tied for fourth-most. Of course, the nearly half of North Carolina’s passing game has come via Josh Downs, who has 70 of North Carolina’s 155 receptions this season.

Following the departures of Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome, after the 2020 season, it seemed like a lot of opportunities would come available in UNC’s pass game. However, the Howell-to-Downs connection has become an overwhelming priority.

Simmons was a 3-star recruit in the 2019 recruiting class, Mack Brown’s first class after returning to North Carolina. During his three-year career, Simmons caught 30 passes, including three for touchdowns.

Varner, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive lineman, was also a part of that 2019 class. Varner took a redshirt year in 2019; he then played in three games during 2020 season.

For 2021, though, Varner functioned mostly as depth along the defensive front. He appeared in six games this season, while recording two tackles.

Two weeks ago, Clyde Pinder, another UNC defensive lineman, also transferred out of the program. As Ross Martin from Inside Carolina notes, this is a bit of a (small) trend in recent weeks for UNC. Five players have entered the transfer portal since mid-October, including wide receiver Khafre Brown and running back Josh Henderson.


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