The North Carolina Tar Heels finished 8-4 in 2012, compiling a 5-3 record in the ACC. 14 starters from last year's campaign return - six on offense, seven on defense, and the punter, Tommy Hibbard (5'10", 190, Jr.). Below is a look at who UNC will be counting on to make big plays against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Thursday night's nationally televised contest:
#2 QB Bryn Renner (6'3", 225, Sr.) - Renner was named Honorable Mention All-ACC last season after throwing for 3,356 yards and 28 TDs with only seven interceptions. This is his third season as the UNC starting quarterback, and second in Head Coach Larry Fedora's spread offense. Renner currently holds the ACC's highest career passing efficiency rating at .667. He is on the 2013 Davey O'Brien Award Watch List, the 2013 Maxwell Award Watch List, and is a candidate for All-ACC and All-American honors in his final season.
#21 RB/KR Romar Morris (5'10", 185, So.) - This is Morris' first season as the starting running back for North Carolina. Last year, as a redshirt freshman, Morris appeared in every contest, rushing for 386 yards and two TDs, while catching 12 passes for 204 yards and two TDs. Morris is a two-sport athlete, also competing in track and field. He ran the fifth-fastest 60-meter dash in school history at 6.85 seconds during the 2012-2013 indoor track season.
#14 WR Quinshad Davis (6'4", 205, So.) - South Carolina fans may be familiar with Davis, who was an All-American wide receiver at Gaffney High School in Gaffney, SC. In his first year up north, Davis tallied 61 receptions for 776 yards - both freshman records at UNC - while garnering honorable mention Freshman All-America honors. Davis was selected to Phil Steele's Third-Team Preseason All-ACC squad and is a 2013 All-ACC candidate in addition to being on the 2013 Biletnikoff Award Watch List.
#84 TE Eric Ebron (6'4", 245, Jr.) - Ebron set school records for a tight end in his sophomore season with 40 catches for 625 yards while being named Second-Team All-ACC. He is a member of Phil Steele's 2013 Preseason Fourth-Team All-America unit, the 2013 Preseason All-ACC squad, and is on the 2013 Mackey Award Watch List.
Of note along the North Carolina offensive line are #68 OT James Hurst (6'7", 305, Sr.) and #60 C Russell Bodine (6'4", 310, Jr.)
#95 DE Kareem Martin (6'6", 265, Sr.) - A Second-Team All-ACC selection last season, Martin racked up 40 tackles, including 15.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, eight quarterback hurries, and three pass breakups. He was named to the First-Team Preseason All-ACC team and is on the 2013 Hendricks Award Watch List, the 2013 Bednarik Award Watch List, and the 2013 Nagurski Trophy Watch List.
#10 S Tre Boston (6'1", 205, Jr.) - Boston led the Tar Heels with 86 tackles last year and also shared the team lead in interceptions with four. He earned honorable mention All-ACC honors in 2012, is a 2013 Preseason All-ACC team member, and is listed on the 2013 Nagurski Trophy Watch List and 2013 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List.
#7 CB Tim Scott (5'11", 190, Jr.) - In his sophomore season, Scott led UNC with nine pass break ups. He shared the team lead in interceptions with the above-mentioned Tre Boston and accumulated 48 tackles. For his efforts, he was awarded honorable mention All-ACC honors.
#9 LB Travis Hughes (6'2", 225, Jr.) - Hughes finished the 2012 season with 38 stops, 1.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one pass breakup, and one quarterback hurry. Phil Steele named him to his Fourth-Team Preseason All-ACC team.