July Fourth is here. And there aren’t too many things more American than college football. For many in the Chapel Hill community, the popular slogan, “Go Heels, Go America!” comes to mind this time of the year.
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Those chants could be growing to a fever pitch come this fall if the preseason projections ring true for the Carolina football team.
Believe it or not, the 2014 ACC Football Kickoff, held at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, is less than three weeks away.
The newly expanded league (hello, Louisville!) will welcome the head coaches and select players from all 15 member schools on July 20-21 to face the media in the unofficial start of the college football season.
Of course, the brightest lights will shine on defending national champion Florida State and the Seminoles’ Heisman trophy winner, Jameis Winston.
But not far from the spotlight and still on the main stage, will be UNC, Head Coach Larry Fedora, and his high-powered, up-tempo offensive playmakers fielding questions on a possible date in Charlotte with FSU in the ACC Championship Game come December.
College football guru Phil Steele has UNC ranked No. 18 in his preseason prognosis in his annual preview publication. Only two ACC schools rank higher on his list – Notre Dame at No. 17 and FSU at No. 1.
Steele’s not going out on a limb there. Switzer earned first-team All-America honors as a freshman a season ago thanks to his five return touchdowns that tied the NCAA record.
On the ACC second team, athletic quarterback Marquise Williams, dynamic wide receiver Quinshad Davis and sturdy linebacker Norkeithus Otis have all been featured by Steele.
On Wednesday, Otis was added to the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Trophy Watch List. Playing at the bandit position in 2013, Otis registered 7.5 sacks and recorded 49 tackles, including 13 for a loss.
Otis is joined by teammate Travis Hughes in preseason recognition at the linebacker position. In addition, senior safety Tim Scott and elusive running back T.J. Logan snagged spots on Steele’s All-ACC team.
There’s plenty to look forward to on this Fourth of July for Tar Heel nation. With such a stable of high-level performers taking to the Kenan Stadium stage this fall, the patriotic showering of “Go Heels, Go America!” could be reverberating like never before.