Jon Heck Selected as Candidate for Outland Trophy

With the departure of Landon Turner to the NFL, the UNC offensive line is in need of a new leader.

Enter Jon Heck.

A member of the All-ACC second team in 2015, Heck was recognized last week as one of 70 players to watch for this year’s Outland Trophy–the award given to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman.

During his first three years as a Tar Heel, Heck has started 38 games–including all 14 last season.

Although he has been known in recent years as more of a pass-blocking specialist, the numbers show Heck’s made great strides in the run department as well.

His partnership with fellow veterans Turner and center Lucas Crowley helped UNC clear the way for a much-improved ground attack in 2015.

Elijah Hood ran for over 1,400 yards out of the backfield, while quarterback Marquise Williams nearly tacked on another 1,000.

Heck’s contributions to the Tar Heels may not be pretty, but they are much-needed–especially if the team wants to continue its winning ways again in 2016.

Of the 70 players nominated for the Outland Trophy, Heck is one of just 22 offensive tackles on the list.

By November, only six or seven semifinalists will remain in contention for the honor–before the final three candidates are chosen to attend the Home Depot College Football Awards in Atlanta on Dec. 8.

Trio of Tar Heel Seniors Named to Preseason Award Watch Lists

DALLAS – Three more Tar Heel football players were honored with the placement on Thursday’s preseason watch lists.

Core UNC veterans were spotlighted as senior safety Tre Boston and senior defensive lineman Kareem Martin are up for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. On the other side of the ball, offensive tackle James Hurst was named to the 2013 Outland Trophy Watch List as he prepares for his senior season.

Boston grabbed honorable mention All-ACC honors from the coaches and media last season. He led the team with 86 stops, featuring 49 solo tackles. The senior from Ft. Myers, Florida also snagged a team-leading four interceptions, including one that he took back for a touchdown in the win at Virginia.

Martin was recognized as second-team All-ACC in 2012, boasting 40 tackles, four sacks and eight quarterback hurries. He will be leading the Tar Heel defense in 2013 as the top returning player in both tackles for loss and sacks.

Both Boston and Martin will be gunning for the Nagurksi Trophy, which goes to the best defensive player in college football and is presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club. The award was created to compliment the Heisman Trophy Award which had never been presented to a defensive player.

Hurst is up for the Outland Trophy, which goes to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America.

Anchoring the Tar Heel offensive line since the second week of his true freshman season, Hurst is loaded with accolades for his play. A first-team All-ACC team member in 2012, Hurst is a preseason third-team All-America and first-team All-ACC selection by Phil Steele and is predicted as a second-team All-America team member by Sporting News.

On Friday, the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award (defensive backs) will be released.