Three Tar Heels out for season
CHAPEL HILL — Three players on North Carolina’s preseason two-deep depth chart have suffered season-ending injuries, Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora said Wednesday.
Safety Sam Smiley (toe), bandit Shakeel Rashad (knee) and wide receiver Dalton Stogner (knee) were all injured during the first week of training camp, which began Aug. 1.
“Any time you lose one guy it’s concerning,” Fedora said. “To lose three — that’s why you’re constantly talking about depth, building that depth and doing the things that it takes depth-wise.”
Smiley, a sophomore, was battling with freshman Dominique Green for the starting strong safety spot opposite preseason all-ACC free safety Tre Boston. Green also missed Wednesday’s practice with an undisclosed injury.
Smiley made five starts and recorded 26 tackles last season, including 11 against Louisville, though he also missed five games with a foot injury.
Sophomores Rashad and Stogner were both listed as backups entering training camp. Rashad made 18 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, as a true freshman and started at bandit in the 2012 season finale against Maryland. He played in every game but one, when he was suspended after colliding with Duke receiver Conner Vernon while running onto the field during a stoppage of play. He tore his knee during a tackling drill.
Stogner was a walk-on who didn’t play last season but worked his way onto the depth chart with a solid spring. He also suffered a season-ending knee injury as a high school senior.
Wednesday was the team’s eighth practice. The team is three weeks away from the season opener Aug. 29 at South Carolina.
“We’ve had three season-ending injuries, but it’s camp – we’re holding up,” Fedora said. “There’s a lot of bumps and bruises and guys are banged up and they’re pushing through it. Hey, at this point you’re eight practices in. You’re tired, you’re sick of hitting each other, you’re sore, your body doesn’t think it wants to go anymore, but your mind can tell it what to do and it will.”