Six Tar Heels Sign NFL Contracts

UNC has now gone two consecutive years without having a player selected in the seven-round NFL Draft.

Guard Landon Turner earned first-team All-American honors for his play during his senior season for the Tar Heels but, somewhat surprisingly, that did not translate into hearing his name called in the draft. Turner was projected as a mid-to-late round draft pick entering the festivities, but a selection never came.

However, that does not mean Turner won’t have a chance to play at the next level. Shortly after the draft’s conclusion, UNC announced that Turner had agreed to a contract with the New Orleans Saints; a situation that is likely better overall than being selected late in the draft because the destination becomes the player’s choice rather than being chosen by a team that may not be a good fit.

Turner was not the only Tar Heel that agreed to a contract after the draft’s final pick.

Turner will be joined in New Orleans by senior linebacker Jeff Schoettmer. Shakeel Rashad, who lined up next to Schoettmer in the heart of a much-improved UNC defense last season, agreed to a contract with the Houston Texans.

Senior running back Romar Morris signed with the New York Jets and wide receiver Quinshad Davis agreed to terms with the Detroit Lions. Davis caught more touchdowns in his time at Carolina than anyone in program history, and he will be lining up alongside former Tar Heel tight end Eric Ebron in Detroit.

UNC head coach Larry Fedora tweeted out on Sunday that quarterback Marquise Williams had signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

While no UNC players have been selected in the last two NFL drafts, that is almost sure to change next year. The 2015 team won the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division while relying on a lot of young playmakers and they will very likely be filling out NFL rosters in the years to come.

UNC Offensive Lineman Russell Bodine Forgoes Final Season to Enter NFL Draft

CHAPEL HILL– UNC offensive lineman Russell Bodine has decided to forego his senior season as a Tar Heel and enter the 2014 NFL Draft, joining his classmate Eric Ebron in his decision.

Bodine has started two years for Carolina, mostly at center, but he also played some at left guard in 2013.

Bodine says playing in the NFL has always been a dream and is ready to move on the next level in his career. Bodine says he is thankful for all his years at UNC for “helping me become a better player and person.”

“It’s been a dream of mine to play in the NFL and I feel I’m ready to take the next step in my playing career,” says Bodine.  “I have been thinking about this for several weeks, weighing all my options and discussing it with my parents and the coaching staff.  I feel it is the right time to move forward.

“I want to thank the coaching staff at North Carolina for helping me become a better player and person.  I’ve had the opportunity to play in both a pro-style offense and a spread offense and I think that will enhance my opportunities at the next level.”

Bodine averaged 73 snaps per game in 2013 and earned an honorable mention for All-ACC selection.

“We wish Russell the best as he takes the next step in athletic career,” says head coach Larry Fedora.  “He has been a good player for us over the last two years, starting every game on the offensive line, and has a bright future ahead of him.”

Heel’s Bernard and Williams Go 2nd And 3rd Rounds In NFL Draft

CHAPEL HILL – UNC’s Giovani Bernard was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 37th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.  Brennan Williams followed, selected by the Houston Texans with the 89th pick.

Carolina has produced three of the first 37 picks in this year’s draft, the most for the Tar Heels since 1998.

No. 7 pick Jonathan Cooper, and No. 28 pick Sylvester Williams, were drafted Thursday night in the 1st round.

Giovani Bernard

Bernard was the first running back picked in the draft and the first time Carolina has had the first running back taken in the draft. However, it’s the lowest pick the first-running back has been selected in draft history.

Bernard had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2011 and 2012.  He elected to skip his final two years and go-pro following his sophomore season.

As a senior, Bernard rushed 184 times for 1,228 yards and 12 touchdowns, had 47 receptions for 490 yards and five touchdowns, and 16 punt returns for 263 yards and two touchdowns.  He set a UNC single-season record with 198.1 all-purpose yards per game.

Brennan Williams

Williams and Cooper are the first UNC offensive linemen duo to be selected in the same draft since 1985.

Williams earned honorable mention All-ACC accolades for his play in 2012 despite missing the final four games with shoulder surgery.

The offensive tackle had a career-high 23 knockdown blocks to help the Heels rush for 339 yards in the win over Virginia Tech last season.

Williams’ father, Brent, played in the NFL from 1986-93 with New England, Seattle and the New York Jets.