MOBILE, AL – The University of North Carolina has long been known as a basketball haven as it has produced such legendary figures on the hardwood such as Michael Jordan and James Worthy.
On the gridiron, the Tarheels have produced standouts such as Hall-Of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor and in recent years has produced standouts such as Dre Bly, Alge Crumpler, Connor Barth, T.J. Yates, Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn and Greg Little.
Current players such as linebacker Zack Brown and wide receiver Dwight Jones hope to add to North Carolina’s burgeoning tradition of sending first-round talent to the NFL.
After is display of speed, athleticism and raw talent, can defensive end Quinton Coples join the list?
Coples, a 6’6, 280-pound senior out of Kinston, N.C. would have two sacks—one nullified by a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty—on Boise State Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore in the third quarter, would come back and sack Moore on the next play for five yards.
One team who could use his services in the top five would be the Cleveland Browns, who ranked among the lowest in the league in quarterback sacks with 32.0, would be tempted to pair Coples up with second-year defensive end Jabaal Sheard.
During his junior season in 2010-11, Coples would record 59 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss and lead the Tarheels in sacks with ten. Coples’ production would drop in his senior year in Chapel Hill as he would have 55 tackles, 15 for a loss, 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles
Coples would have six tackles, two QB hurries, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble in North Carolina’s 30-27 victory over Tennessee in the 2010 Music City Bowl.
Coples would display some of his All-ACC form in the Senior Bowl for the South in Mobile and raise his stock by being one of the standout players during practice, drawing rave comparisons to former Tarheels standout, Julius Peppers.
For the team that is lucky to draft Coples, they hope that turns into the next Peppers, for opposing quarterbacks, they can only hope that he never reaches that potential.
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