Five Players Who Will Make a Difference For The Heels

Justin CrawfordCorrespondent ISeptember 4, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 13: Marvin Austin #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Kenan Stadium October 13, 2007 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. South Carolina won 21-15. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The North Carolina Heels have several very good starters, and some will be vying for conference, and even national, honors.

Let us take a look at five of those players who will have to play well if the Heels are to contend for an ACC Championship.


5. Deunta Williams

It is very important that Deunta Williams performs well in the Carolina secondary. Deunta will be the starting free safety and will be in control of an inexperienced secondary. He will have to clean up the mistakes of the cornerbacks.

If the Heels are to win, he will have to do his part to improve the pass defense.


4. Quan Sturdivant

Quan is a 6’2” 230 lb. middle linebacker with very good speed to compliment his strong tackling ability. He led the nation last season in solo tackles with 87; a very impressive stat.

Sturdivant will be the leader of a talented defense that much is expected from if the Heels are to win this season. Sturdivant needs to play well enough to get national attention if the Heels are to contend for the ACC championship.


3. Marvin Austin

Austin is quite simply a beast. He will play defensive tackle and anchor a defensive line that needs to pressure all of the quarterbacks they play. If the defensive line can pressure the opponents, and the linebackers fill the holes, the UNC defense will not give up many points.

Austin will be a key component in maintaining the opposing team’s quarterbacks. Austin needs to perform like the star he is supposed to become if the Heels are going to win many games.


2. Greg Little

The only wide receiver with experience (albeit very little) is Greg Little. A converted running back, Little has speed and talent, but he was prone to drop passes last season. It goes without saying that the only returning wide receiver must play well and catch the ball.

Coach Davis will never know what he is going to get in the other receivers, but he needs to know that Greg Little will make the big plays. Furthermore, Little must train the other young receivers to have them ready for this season and for the future.


1. T.J. Yates

I know that it is cliché to say that the quarterback is the most important player on the team, but in this case it is true. T.J. Yates has to play smart, and make good passes for a very inexperienced offense to score points.

The Heels will not win many games if they do not put points on the board even with an outstanding defense. The good teams in the ACC will score points. Yates has a good running back to hand the ball off to in Shaun Draughn, but he must make smart decisions with his young receivers.

If Yates can do that, the Heels will be thinking about the ACC Championship game.

There are my five players who must perform if the Heels are to win in 2009. While all of the players on a football field are important, these five will be Coach Davis’ leaders on the field.

In a tough Coastal Division of the ACC, Davis will have to have good play from each and every one of these players to have a prayer at playing in the ACC Championship.