Another sterling preview of Pitt’s nemesis North Carolina by Rich in SC.
This match-up is last of three teams I expect Pitt to lose. If I had to rank them by severity, It is Clemson, North Carolina (UNC) and then Miami.
On to the review. Of course, the schedules.
A big ACC match-up to start the season – North Carolina (UNC) @ Virginia Tech (VT). The 11/6/21 game against Wake Forest is an Out of Conference (OOC) game. UNC was blessed with a bye before their game against Notre Dame.
What about recruiting?
As usual, the 2019 transition recruiting class was Mack Brown’s low point but he flipped QB Sam Howell from Florida State on the December signing date. Brown has stepped up UNC’s overall recruiting. A solid numerical Rival’s ranking (NNR) of 5.70 and 5.737 up from Larry Fedora’s last two class of 5.650 and 5.643.
It’s not like Fedora downfall at UNC was lousy recruiting, he was a lousy coach (though Pitt fans would disagree with my assessment). But Fedora did not leave the cupboard bare when he got the axe.
Any transfer portal (TP) entries?
Just one and he is a good one from Tennessee.
Based on his 24/7 reranking, Chandler lived up to his Rivals high school 4* ranking. He is the first player Mack Brown has plucked from the TP.
Who are the players to know?
As usual, I start with returning 2020 All ACC selections. With the announcement of the 2021 preseason all ACC 27 member team, I have marked those selections in bold. This is followed by additional names not on the returning list but on the Athlon 2021 preseason selections.
A few notes. TP entry Ty Chandler is on the Athlon list. There are two players with the last name “Fox”. “Toman” a LB and his younger brother DT “Tomari”.
That wraps up the recruiting, TP entries and names to know portion of my review. On to the player losses.
Who did UNC lose to the NFL?
The loss of Round 2 selection Javonte Williams was unexpected. That loss led to the TP pickup Ty Chandler from the Tennessee fire sale. Chazz Surratt was recruited as a QB. He made the switch to LB and the rest is history. Surratt’s older brother (Sage) was an undrafted free agent WR in the same draft.
By my count, UNC lost 19 players to the TP. This is on top of the 10 players lost after the 2019 season.
The 2020 4-star Ray Rose is one of 25 2020 recruits who entered or left the ACC TP. That number consists of 21 players who left an ACC team. Louisville (5), VT(4) and Boston College (3) lost the most. Another four transferred in with VT taking two (though one is a Rivals ranked walk-on) and Georgia Tech and Louisville one each. The 25 players are 10.6% of the 235 players who either left or entered the ACC thru the TP.
One last thing on UNC – QB snaps.
I should have realized this earlier but I am adding this now.
UNC had 849 total offensive plays while Pitt had 814 offensive plays during the 2020 season. Sam Howell was responsible for 87.48% of UNC’s 357 total pass attempts. His total run/pass attempts of 440 was 51.83% of the 849 total offense plays. Kenny Pickett’ were 78.12% and 50.74% respectively.
If Howell does get injured 2020 Rivals 5.8 4* Jacoby Criswell is the main backup. There is also a 2021 Rivals 5.9 rated 4*. But just because you are a 4* does not mean you are a star. Ask any of the eight Rivals 4*s in the portal.
That wraps it up on the review buy I have a bonus stat to share.
Someone asked for a ranking on ACC QB’s. I already had the NCAA 2021 for ACC passing efficiency rankings. I tweaked that data by adding yards per attempt (Y/A) and yards per completion (Y/C) but without rankings.
The NCAA has requirements for a QB to be ranked. The first requirement is that the QB has to appear in 75% of total team games played and attempt at least one pass. The second requirement is the QB must attempt (over all games the QB played in) an average of 15 passes per game played.
The second requirement usually cuts only the QB’s on triple option teams. The first is a little trickier especially in the covid 2020 season. The ACC had teams playing 9, 10,11 or 12 games. Not a problem with 12 games where 75% of 12 is 9. The tricky part is a team playing 11 games is that 75% of 11 is 8.25. Hendon Hooker of VT got caught in this requirement. He only played in eight games.
The below chart shows every ACC QB who during the year that was ranked at one time or another. I also color coded any player who is no longer with an ACC team.
Sorry for the long winded explanation but I like to spell out all the details of how stats are developed and how to interpret them. I am not a fan of one-off stats.