Eric Russell

Ebron Continues To Be UNC's Bright Spot

Created on Nov. 03, 2013 9:30 PM EST

Tight end Eric Ebron has been a bright spot for the North Carolina Tar Heels in an otherwise-dreary season.

Outside of victories over Boston College and North Carolina State, North Carolina (3-5) hasn't had much success. There are problems on defense and on offense.

Ebron isn't one of them. Not only did he have 11 more receptions and 200 more yards than he had through seven games last season, he also has the sixth-most receiving yards in the ACC. His 669 yards easily puts him among the Top 50 pass-catchers in the nation.

Ebron's versatility and 6-foot-4, 245-pound frame have many — including ESPNU and — calling the junior the top tight end prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. He has been one of the few consistent performers for North Carolina, compiling 60-plus yards in seven of the eight games this season. In a 27-23 loss to Miami, he had eight catches for 199 yards. Against Boston College (4-4), he had four catches for 67 yards.

But Ebron can't disguise the team's other issues.

The Tar Heels' first problem has been the defense. While the Tar Heels intercepted Stephen Morris four times in the near upset of Miami, they gave up big chunks of yardage through the air and on the ground. Even in the victory against Boston College, the Eagles' Andre Williams got free for 172 yards on the ground without the benefit of having any real passing threat to keep the Tar Heels' defense honest. 

The running game also has been a liability. The Tar Heals average only 102 yards per game, making them the 111th-ranked rushing attack in the nation. Most of the offense comes from its 19th-ranked passing game (third in the ACC), and the offense is ranked 65th in the nation. 

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