North Carolinas top DL absent from the depth chart: what to expect vs. Georgia

Dajuan Drennon looks unlikely to play against the Bulldogs

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports—USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora isn’t ruling Dajuan Drennon out of Saturday’s season opener against Georgia in Atlanta. Every other indication, however, suggests that the starting defensive end won’t be available for the 22nd-ranked Tar Heels.Drennon, UNC’s top returning tackler among defensive linemen, suffered a broken foot that required surgery during spring practice. Although he was expected to be ready to return by the start of fall camp, his name was conspicuously missing from the depth chart UNC issued on Monday.Coach Larry Fedora was evasive when asked about Drennon’s status for the Chick fil-A Kickoff Classic. “You know I don’t talk about injuries,” Fedora said.Drennon is a key member of a defensive line that was already a question mark for UNC. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound junior played in 12 games last season, making 39 tackles — including 5.0 for losses and 1.5 sacks.Junior Tyler Powell is listed as the starter at Drennon’s position, with sophomore Malik Carney and true freshman Tomon Fox backing him up.Defensive end isn’t the only position with uncertainty heading into the season opener. The Tar Heels’ depth chart lists three potential options at punter — senior Joey Mangili and sophomore Hunter Lent, both of whom saw action last season, and Australian freshman Tom Sheldon.”We’re going to put one out there on the first time we punt. I don’t which one it’s going to be yet,” Fedora said. “I don’t have a lot of confidence in anything right now.”Fedora is much more comfortable with the situation at right guard, where redshirt freshman Tommy Hatton and junior R.J. Prince have been battling to fill the biggest hole on an otherwise veteran offensive line in front of quarterback Mitch Trubisky.”I’d say right now we’ve got it down to a two-horse race,” Fedora said. “They both may play (against Georgia).”