Kevin Smith

UNC Projects For Better '14 As QB Williams Develops

Created on Jan. 06, 2014 9:09 PM EST

Things are looking good for the North Carolina Tar Heels after their 39-17 win over Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 28.

Even coach Larry Fedora has promised fans and alumni a better season in 2014.

Many anticipated the Tar Heels to have a down year after the NCAA discovered violations from the 2010 season and stripped them of five scholarships for each of the next three seasons.

Those predictions seemed accurate when UNC started the season 1-5. After their rough start, they won five of their next six games to reach and come out victorious in the Belk Bowl to finish the season 7-6.

The 2014 campaign certainly looks bright for the Tar Heels, although some important pieces from the 2013 season will be departing.

Perhaps most importantly, with the departure of senior quarterback Bryn Renner, sophomore Marquise Williams, who stepped in nicely when Renner got hurt earlier in the season, should be the full-time quarterback.

The recruiting class looks solid, with websites ranking it at the fringe of the Top 25. North Carolina's biggest commitment is running back Elijah Hood, who could split time with T.J. Logan, Romar Morris and Khris Francis. Logan led the team in '13 with 533 rushing yards.

UNC will be young. Of the 22 starters in the Belk Bowl, five were seniors and 13 were freshmen and sophomores.

The team will lose four defensive players, but the biggest loss will be on offense. Junior tight end Eric Ebron, the team leader in receiving yards with 973, announced his entrance into the NFL draft. Junior Jack Tabb, who had 119 yards on seven catches, likely will take over tight end duties.

Junior offensive lineman Russell Bodine also announced his intentions to turn pro.

Quinshad Davis leads a solid group of receivers. Ryan Switzer, a punt and kick returner, could fit in as the second option at wideout. The sophomore led the squad in punt returns with five.

Nonetheless, UNC should fit in nicely with the new-look ACC in 2014 (welcome in Louisville in all sports, and Notre Dame football).

If Williams continues to develop, the team should be able to avoid the horrible start that tanked the team's '13 season.

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