UNC DT Farmer cleared to play

Aug. 28, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

North Carolina senior defensive tackle Ethan Farmer has been cleared to play, the program announced Thursday morning.

Farmer started all 13 games and had 30 tackles last year. The Tabor City native is the only member of UNC's defensive line who has started a game in college.

Farmer practiced with the team during training camp, but his eligibility was in doubt because of an academic issue, according to team sources.

His presence is a huge boost for a unit that already lost two expected contributors, senior Shawn Underwood and redshirt freshman Greg Webb, because of academic issues.

“Ethan’s the strongest guy on the team, by far,” guard Landon Turner said on Monday. “It sucks to block him. … We definitely need him back on the field because he’s such an anchor.”

UNC will still be short-handed in the season opener against Liberty on Saturday at Kenan Stadium (6 p.m., ESPN3.com).

Four defensive backs, including first-string cornerbacks Des Lawrence and Brian Walker, have been suspended for one game for a violation of team rules. That announcement came Wednesday night, one day after a Yahoo report described a group assault during training camp that led to a teammate suffering a concussion.