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North Carolina Football: 2020 Tar Heels Season Preview and Prediction

North Carolina Football: 2020 Tar Heels Season Preview and Prediction

North Carolina Football: 2020 Tar Heels Season Preview and Prediction

Mack Brown’s return to Chapel Hill was a smashing success — even though it included six heartbreaking losses. The Tar Heels played in their first bowl game since 2016 and closed the season with blowout victories over NC State (41–10 on the road) and Temple (55–13 in the Military Bowl). More importantly, Brown injected energy into a program that needed it. UNC sold out its season ticket allotment before the season and finished with a top-20 recruiting class after it. And Brown is just getting started. The Tar Heels return 10 starters on offense, including record-setting quarterback Sam Howell, and have an improving defense with talent and experience in the back seven.

UNC went 3–6 last season in games decided by seven points or fewer, losing those six contests by a combined 26 points. With small improvements, the Tar Heels can dream big.

“Our goals are different,” Brown says. “Last year, we were trying to beat somebody. Last year, we were trying to finish games. Last year, we were trying to get to a bowl game. This year, we want to win the league.”

Related: Athlon Sports' College Football Top 25 for 2020

Previewing North Carolina’s Offense for 2020 

UNC’s Air Raid attack returns most of its significant contributors after ranking second in the ACC in total yards (474.0 per game). Howell, the reigning ACC Rookie of the Year, is the headliner after throwing a school-record 38 touchdown passes and finishing second in the league in passing yards and passing efficiency. He should be more of a threat as a runner this season now that UNC has some depth behind him.

Speaking of running, the Tar Heels have a dynamic 1-2 punch in tailbacks Michael Carter and Javonte Williams. They combined for 1,936 rushing yards last season (1,003 for Carter), and both could push for 1,000 yards in 2020. Carter is shifty with a school-record career average of 6.0 yards per carry, while Williams is a punishing runner who rarely is tackled by the first defender.

UNC’s receivers are equally dangerous, led by the twosome of Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown. Both players posted at least 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches last season, and Brown led the league with 20.3 yards per reception. Beau Corrales provides a big, physical target on the outside, and Garrett Walston returns after seizing the starting job at tight end.