This game will have a plethora of talent and plenty of pro prospects to keep an eye on tonight. Both teams tonight have overcome so much this season. It will come down to whatever coach can motivate his team the most.
North Carolina has multiple defensive pro prospects and a few on the offensive side of the ball.
The Volunteers are very young but very confident. They too, like the Tarheels have a very good defense. There have not been too many low scoring games, but this game could easily have a more pro-like score when that final gun sounds in the 4th quarter.
Join after the jump and we will take a look at some of the potentially great pro candidates.
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR THE TARHEELS:
1. T.J. Yates - QB: Yates could catapult his drat stock tonight with a solid performance. Yates has already moved up the boards quite a bit as the season has progressed. He could fair to be a nice mid round to late pick up in the 2011 NFL Draft.
2. Shaun Droughn - RB: Droughn has already shown what he is capable of with a long touchdown run. He is explosive and has nice moves out of the backfield. He has shared time, but is perfectly capable of making some pro teams squad as a number two running back.
3. Dwight Jones - WR: With Greg Little not able to go in this one, Jones should be the go-to guy for Yates. If the Tarheels can sustain the run, then that should open up the passing game and play action pass quite a bit. Jones could be a nice pick up as an undrafted free agent.
4. Quinton Coples - DT: Copes presence has been felt by opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines throughout the his career at North Carolina. He will be a huge obstacle for the Volunteers freshman offensive lineman to overcome and contain.
5. Quan Sturdivant - LB: Sturdivant has dropped a bit as far as his draft stock is concerned. However, he still has a great opportunity to boost it back up through this game and the NFL combine.
6. Kendrick Burney - CB: Burney already has a pick in this game but fumbled it on the return back. Burney is going to be a top prospect at his respective position. I had him rated fairly high heading in to the year, but since he has dropped a bit for me. If he can continue on like this in this bowl game, he may find himself back up there for me.
7. Deunta Williams - S: I still believe that Williams is one of the best safeties in the nation although most have dropped him quite a bit. Williams needs to play well tonight or he may find himself being drafted later on. Should that occur, it could be a great steal for which ever NFL team grabs him.
Players out for N.C. - Bruce Carter - LB, Greg Little - WR, Robert Quinn - DE.
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR THE VOLUNTEERS:
1. Tyler Bray - QB: Bray got the start over Simms and so far has not done real well. We will see if he can get it turned around in the second quarter. If not, we may see Simms come in for relief. Bray has had mild success getting it Luke Stocker who happens to be one of the best tight ends in the nation. Keep getting it to your guy Bray and you may live to fight another day.
2. Tauren Poole - RB: Poole is just shy of 1000 yards, and has a chance to go over in this game. Poole has good hands out of the backfield and will need to find a way to beat North Carolina's extremely fast defense. The young offensive line will either make or break Poole's opportunity to get over 1000 tonight.
3. Denarius Moore - WR: Moore has been the best for the Volunteers as far as receivers go. He managed to grab 46 passes for 912 yards with 9 touchdowns. He averages over 21 yards a catch and is a big play threat that Bray will need to get the ball to in order to give the team a chance to win.
4. Luke Stocker - TE: Some of the talking heads had Stocker as the number one rated tight end in the nation at the beginning of the year. I had him rated high, but he is not going to be the best of his position once draft time comes around. Given that, Stocker has all the tools to have success in the NFL. He can certainly prove most pundits wrong and break out by carving out his own future.
5. Prentiss Wagner - CB: Wagner had 5 interceptions for 73 yards with three defensive touchdowns. When this guy pluck the ball from the air, he may not be a Deion Sanders, but he definitely has the ability to take one back to the house. Yates will have to be aware of Wagner's presence on the field or he could find himself running after Wagner high-stepping his way in for 6.
Author's Note: I will add commentary to each player as the game is on progress. Just wanted to get this posted for those who wish to discuss the game.
Coverage: ESPN/ ESPN3