LB Larry Edwards

2003 Statistics

Coach: John Bunting
13-24, 3 years
2003 Record: 2-10
at Wisconsin LOST 27-38
at NC State LOST 34-47
at East Carolina WON 28-17
at Clemson LOST 28-36
at Maryland LOST 21-59
at Georgia Tech LOST 24-41

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

After back-to-back horrendous seasons, including an unheard of loss to rival Duke, head coach John Bunting is on the hot seat, in need of improved results and fast. Another two-win season will not be tolerated in Chapel Hill. He has made changes within his coaching staff and he has reeled in a second consecutive highly regarded recruiting class. But in order for the coach to keep his job and see the fruits of those labors, he needs his team to win football games.

Will there be improvement? Definitely. Will they contend for an ACC title? Probably not…yet. But they are moving in the right direction. Clearly, the offense is loaded with talent. Scoring points will not be an issue. The question will be, as usual in Tar Heel country, can they hold their opponents to a reasonable amount of points? For the first time in two years, the answer will (more often than last time around) be yes.

While beating the Miami's and Florida State's will be a little too much to ask, the Tar Heels will be right there with just about every other ACC team. Their conference home opener against Georgia Tech will be a key for this young ball club - a victory would provide the confidence to carry the Heels to bowl contention. Certainly, there will be growing pains along the way, but there will be many more enjoyable Saturdays for North Carolina fans. Most importantly, however, they will begin to recapture a little bit of their lost Tar Heel pride.

Projected 2004 record: 3-8
QB - 4 DL - 2
RB - 3 LB - 1.5
WR - 2.5 DB - 2
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Darian Durant, 389-234-10, 2551 yds., 18 TD

Rushing: Ronnie McGill, 128 att., 654 yds., 7 TD

Receiving: Jarwarski Pollock, 71 rec., 745 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Ronnie McGill, 7 TD, 42 pts.

Punting: David Wooldridge, 27 punts, 45.1 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Mahlon Carey, 96 tot., 61 solo

Sacks: Alden Blizzard, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Mahlon Carey, 2 for 0 yds.

Kickoff returns: Mike Mason, 25 ret., 26.0 avg., 1 TD

Punt returns: Jarwarski Pollock, 6 ret., 6.8 avg., 0 TD


QB Darian Durant
OFFENSE: Bobby Blizzard-TE, Jeb Terry-OG, Jupiter Wilson-OG, Willie Parker-TB, Brandon Russell-WR, C.J. Stephens-QB, Dan Orner-K
DEFENSE: Devllen Bullard-LB, Dexter Reid-FS, Michael Waddell-CB, Derrick Johnson-CB, Michael Harris-SS, Chris Hawkins-CB, John Lafferty-P

Perhaps no player personified the notion of the "tragic hero" more the Darian Durant in 2003, as the now senior quarterback rewrote the Carolina record-books. He did this while playing on a team that simply couldn't keep opponents out of the end zone. Heading into 2004, there is finally hope in Chapel Hill, and most of it centers on the talents of Durant. A threat with both his arm and his feet, Darian is capable of taking a team on his shoulders and simply winning football games. Having started for two plus seasons in Chapel Hill, Durant will combine his experience and natural talents to become one of the ACC's elite players. If anything does happen to Durant, North Carolina could be in trouble. Junior Matt Baker has the tools, but didn't show much real-game competence in spring drills. And redshirt freshmen Roger Heinz lacks the experience necessary to compete at this level - developmental needs in the actual season will be disastrous.

Running Back
Of the positives that came out of 2003, the discovery of Ronnie as a true "home run" threat out of the backfield. And if this spring was any indication at all, it looks like McGill is ready to pick up right where he left off. Ronnie has the size and speed to become a special football player in his sophomore season; in fact, as long as the offensive line holds up, he has the stuff to become a thousand-yard back. Making the skies even brighter blue for Carolina fans is the presence of Chad Scott, a productive rusher, and, more importantly, a dynamic pass catching threat. Leading the way for the North Carolina thoroughbreds will be fullback Madison Hedgecock, a converted defensive end. The coaching staff is excited about his potential, and they feel that his time spent on the defensive side of the ball will really help him read and react to opposing defensive schemes. A strong ground game will be a time-of-possession key for keeping Carolina's much-maligned defense off the field in extended durations.

Wide Receiver
As if Darian Durant wasn't dangerous enough already, he suddenly has an arsenal of weapons at his disposal. With a mix of veterans and underclassmen, head coach John Bunting has been able to add speed, speed, and more speed on the outside. This unit is led by the diminutive veteran Jawarski Pollack. While he may be small in stature, he's certainly big on talent. This senior receiver is Durant's favorite target and is the man who will keep the chains moving. Pollack will be joined by the athletic Derrele Mitchell and a pair of super sophomores - Mike Mason and Adarious Bowman. It's Mason and Bowman that have so many North Carolina fans revved up about the 2004 season. Mason is a burner who excelled in limiting playing time as a true freshman, while Bowman has coaches drooling over his 6-4 frame and outstanding straight line speed. These two will be serious playmakers.

Tight End
The tight end spot is one of the only question marks in Carolina's loaded offense. Senior Jon Hamlett contributed 11 catches last season and should have the inside track on winning the starting job. He has the size and skill to succeed, but he will have competition. That competition will come in the person of Lewis Burnham, a talented sophomore. Given the amount of speed this team presents on offense, our money is on the veteran Hamlett to win the job and provide a reliable target for the playmaking Durant.

Offensive Line
With a blossoming high octane offense, it will be an absolute necessity for the Tar Heels to continue the kind of offensive line play that led to an ACC-best 4.7 yards per carry average in '03. And for that, I have two words: Jason Brown. North Carolina's senior center will set the tone for the entire line. This blue-chip NFL prospect is an excellent run blocker and didn't (himself) allow a sack last campaign - he's not about to start now. This kid is tough, talented, and loves to play football…what more could you ask for? Paired with Brown will be two returning tackles, so chemistry is there from the start. The big boys protecting Durant on the outside have plenty of experience and are certainly solid (23 sacks allowed). If the line has a weakness, it's definitely at guard. The team is replacing both guards. Keep in mind however, that playing alongside the talented Jason Brown should help whichever interior linemen win the starting jobs.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are going to put points on the board. Their quarterback is going to be one of the stars of the ACC, and he's going to be complemented by a terrific running game. As the team fights to regain its lost respectability, they will do so behind this soon-to-be dynamic unit. There is speed at quarterback, running back, and on the edge. In 2003, they averaged 29 points per tilt, and they will improve with so much added experience at most key positions. They will challenge defenses to match up with their athleticism. 25 turnovers will be an excessive amount if again reached (especially due to their marginal defense), so not making mistakes will be just as important for winning the ball as achieving big plays.


WR Jarwarski Pollock


Returning Starters in bold
QB Darian Durant-Sr (5-11, 217) Matt Baker-Jr (6-2, 209)
FB Madison Hedgecock-Sr (6-3, 260) Rikki Cook-Jr (6-0, 260)
TB Ronnie McGill-So (5-11, 206) Jacque Lewis-Sr (5-10, 190)
Chad Scott-Sr (5-9, 196)
WR Derrele Mitchell-Jr (6-3, 212) Adarius Bowman-So (6-4, 217)
WR Jarwarski Pollock-Sr (5-8, 170) Mike Mason-So (6-0, 189)
Jesse Holley-So (6-3, 190)
TE Jon Hamlett-So (6-5, 247) Scott Brumett-Sr (6-2, 255)
OT Willie McNeill-Sr (6-5, 291) Brian Chacos-Jr (6-4, 297)
OG Kyle Ralph-Jr (6-4, 295) Arthur Smith-Jr (6-4, 273)
C Jason Brown-Sr (6-3, 328) Steven Bell-Jr (6-3, 285)
OG Charlston Gray-Fr (6-3, 299) Scott Lenahan-Fr (6-1, 296)
OT Skip Seagraves-Sr (6-5, 280) Patrick Hope-Fr (6-3, 271)
K Heath Martin-So (5-10, 184) ..



Defensive Line
The line is going to be the strength of this defense. But what does that mean on a team that ranked 116th (out of 117 teams) for total defense? Surprisingly, it means much. After mixing and matching starters along the line for the last two seasons, new co-coordinators John Gutekunst and Marvin Sanders appear to have finalized a solid starting unit. Isaiah Thomas and Chase Page each came into his own by last November. They will control the middle and help bolster a run defense that was atrocious in 2003, allowing 227 yards per game at a rate of 4.9 yards per try. The biggest change, however, is found at defensive end where newcomer Kalif Mitchell is drawing rave reviews. He spent the spring wreaking havoc in the offensive backfield and possesses the combination of size and speed that has people buzzing on the Tar Heel sidelines. His pass rushing skills will be just what the doctor ordered for a team that really struggled to upset the rhythm of opposing offenses.

Freshmen Larry Edwards was clearly a revelation for coach Bunting and his staff in the prior year. He led the front seven with 89 tackles and should become the unquestioned leader of the defense in 2004. The staff expects him to improve and ultimately explode upon the national scene. There is competition for the spots alongside Edwards, but the cupboard is filling up with talent. But whoever wins these jobs (smart money is on sophomore Fred Sparkman and junior Jeff Longhany) you can count on one thing: improved tackling. The new coordinators have been preaching that since the first day they arrived. And if spring practice was any indication, that emphasis is going to lead to better results.

Defensive Back
Some described last year's secondary as the worst they had ever seen on a college football field - opponents made plays at will, dominating UNC's secondary and converting at an intolerable 46% rate on third down, all the while averaging over nine yards per pass attempt as UNC managed a mere TWO INTs. TWO!!! So here is the question: Is there any reason for hope? Fortunately, the answer is yes. And a large part of this new found optimism is due to the addition of Marvin Sanders, the former Nebraska secondary coach. His Cornhusker secondaries covered well, forced turnovers, and wrapped up in tackling situations. All of those would be significant improvements for these Tar Heels. Sanders' influence was already seen in spring practice, where the secondary showed marked improvement and forced four turnovers in the official scrimmage. Watch for sophomore safety Kareen Taylor to make a push for starting time this fall, as his ball-hawking ways are something sorely needed in Chapel Hill.

The North Carolina defense completely imploded in 2003. UNC gave up over 200 yards per game both on the ground and through the air. But things are going to change this fall, for there will be tangible improvement. A simpler defensive scheme, an influx of youthful talent, and the maturation of several key contributors will help UNC's defense regain some respectability in 2004. But most importantly, this defense is going to give the team's high flying offense the chance to win football games.


SS Mahlon Carey


Returning Starters in bold
DE Khalif Mitchell-Fr (6-6, 297) Alden Blizzard-So (6-3, 257)
DT Isaiah Thomas-So (6-4, 318) Jonas Seawright-Sr (6-6, 335)
DT Chase Page-Sr (6-5, 288) Shelton Bynum-So (6-5, 300)
DE Tommy Davis-Jr (6-2, 256) Brian Rackley-So (6-5, 249)
SLB Tommy Richardson-Jr (6-1, 223) Jeff Longhany-Jr (6-3, 256)
Victor Worsley-So (6-1, 237)
MLB Fred Sparkman-So (6-2, 242) Melik Brown-So (6-1, 253)
Doug Justice-Jr (6-2, 246)
WLB Larry Edwards-So (6-3, 232) Tyson Graham-Fr (6-1, 221)
CB Jacoby Watkins-So (6-0, 170) Bryan Bethea-Fr (5-10, 178)
CB Lionell Green-Sr (6-1, 180) Quinton Person-Fr (5-11, 177)
SS Mahlon Carey-Jr (6-0, 216) Gerald Sensabaugh-Sr (6-2, 210)
FS D.J. Walker-So (6-0, 175) Kareen Taylor-So (6-0, 195)
P David Wooldridge-So (6-1, 190) John Choate-Fr (6-2, 185)



Heading into the summer, the placekicking job is not solidified. Heath Martin, a redshirt freshman, will battle several walk-on candidates for the chance to replace the strong-legged Dan Orner. We'll have to keep an eye on this competition as the season draws near.

As a freshmen, punter David Wooldridge started slowly, but finished off the year as (perhaps) the ACC's best punter. Over the second half of the season he averaged 45.1 yards per kick and nailed nine inside the opponent's 20 yard line. He is the unquestioned starter, and looks to be an all-conference candidate.

Return Game
The speedy Mike Mason will once again return kicks. Coming off a superb freshman campaign in which he averaged 26 yards per return, he is a threat to go the distance every time. Punt return duties will fall to the shifty Jawarski Pollock who is an adequate, if not dynamic return man. With the improved defense, coverage will improve from what were respectable 2003 numbers. These kinds of small, marginal (field position) gains will be the decisive factors for eking out a few extra wins.