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North Carolina Football: Top 5 Impact Freshmen for 2011

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IIJune 20, 2011

North Carolina Football: Top 5 Impact Freshmen for 2011

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    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com
    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com

    The North Carolina Tar Heels will look to rebound from a disappointing 2010-11 season which saw many impact player suspended. 

    Luckily for Tar Heel Nation, Butch Davis and company welcome in a highly ranked recruiting class this year.

    The class of 2011 is ranked by ESPN as the 16th best class in all of college football.

    While normally freshmen cannot be counted on to make a difference in their first season, this Carolina class is different, as it is loaded with potential early impact players.  

    The North Carolina Tar Heels will look to rebound from a disappointing 2010-11 season which saw many impact player suspended. 

    Luckily for Tar Heel Nation, Butch Davis and company welcome in a highly ranked recruiting class this year.

    The class of 2011 is ranked by ESPN as the 16th-best class in all of college football.

    While freshmen normally cannot be counted on to make a difference in their first season, this Carolina class is different, as it is loaded with potential early-impact players. 

1. Eric Ebron

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    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com
    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com

    Tight end Eric Ebron checks in a 6'4" and 225 pounds and should provide a huge target in the passing game as a freshman.

    He was an All-State performer as a senior at Smith High School in Greensboro, NC, and that talent level should carry over to Chapel Hill. 

    He'll need to work on his blocking if he wants to ever make it to the next level, but his pass catching skills will have him on the field early in his career as a Tar Heel.

2. Marquise Williams

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    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com
    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com

    Although Bryn Renner is likely to start at quarterback for the Tar Heels, it may be difficult to keep quarterback/athlete Marquise Williams off the field for very long.

    Renner doesn't have much in the way of experience, having thrown just two passes in his collegiate career so far. 

    Williams stands 6'3" and 215 pounds and has both the arm and the legs to make an impact this season. He completed a ridiculous 67 percent of his passes as a senior at Mallard Creek High in Charlotte for 45 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. 

    Even if it's not at quarterback, expect Butch Davis to find ways to get the ball into this playmaker's hands this season. 

3. Kiaro Holts

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    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com
    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com

    Kiaro Holts can use to put on a few pounds if he wants to be an NFL tackle, but he'll do just fine for UNC this year. 

    Standing at 6'6" and just (feels weird to say that) 275 pounds, he doesn't have ideal size for a tackle just yet, but he certainly has the frame to fill out.

    Considered one of the best run blockers in his class, Holts will be clearing the way for a Carolina backfield that sees 2009 leading rusher Ryan Houston return from suspension. 

    Holts is a good foot athlete, which will help him in his pass protection as well. 

4. Travis Hughes

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    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com
    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com

    Travis Hughes was a two-way All-District star at Kempsville High in Virginia Beach, VA in 2010, racking up 1,227 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground.

    However, the defensive side of the football is likely where he'll make his impact in Chapel Hill.

    Hughes is a sideline-to-sideline type of linebacker who can make all the plays. He doesn't cut an imposing figure, but he hits like one. 

5. T.J. Thorpe

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    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com
    Photo Courtesy of maxpreps.com

    T.J. Thorpe is a ridiculous athlete who can play at pretty much any position on the field.

    You can line him up as a quarterback, wide receiver or running back and he will be able to make things happen. 

    He is extremely fast, able to beat defenders to the corner and has the quickness to make them miss in the open field as well. Right now, his versatility is his best asset, but if he wants to make it in the NFL, he'll likely have to settle on a position.

    Luckily for North Carolina, he doesn't have to worry about that yet, and he'll just be able to throttle the ball up and down the field for touchdowns. 

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