Shoulder injury ends career of UNC quarterback Bryn Renner
Bryn Renner met with the media Tuesday, as he has every week for the three seasons that he’s been the starting quarterback.
But this time there was no talk of last week’s game or next week’s opponent. Instead, the fifth-year senior fought back tears as he described the end of his career at North Carolina.
Renner is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery today at UNC Hospitals to repair a detached labrum and a fracture in his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which popped out of place during Saturday’s win over N.C. State.
“It’s tough, you know,” Renner said. “The fact that it’s over just sunk in. It’s been a good five years. I can’t thank the coaches and teammates (enough). All my brothers in the locker room mean a lot to me. Sorry to get emotional, this team means a lot to me. (I) gave it all I had for five years. It’s tough right now.”
Recruited by a coach he was never able to play for in Butch Davis, Renner persevered through the transition from a pro-style to an up-tempo spread offense, through NCAA sanctions that kept him from the postseason and through a four-game losing streak that threatened to derail this season from the start. Through it all, he has been one of the most productive quarterbacks ever to play for the Tar Heels.
Renner finished his college career with 8,221 passing yards — 20th in ACC history and third-most in UNC history — and 64 touchdowns, four behind school record-holder Darian Durant. His career pass efficiency of 151.22 is the best mark in ACC history and his career completion percentage of .665 ranks fourth.
“We’re disappointed to lose a senior leader and a great teammate like Bryn,” Fedora said. “He has meant so much to the Carolina program and I’ve enjoyed coaching him the last two seasons. He is one of the most prolific quarterbacks in school history and his contributions will be sorely missed.”
Backup Marquise Williams, a sophomore from Charlotte, will take Renner’s place under center when the Tar Heels (3-5, 2-3 ACC) face Virginia Saturday at Kenan Stadium (12:30 p.m., WRAL).
Williams made his first career start last month at Virginia Tech when Renner missed the game with a left foot injury and completed 23 of 35 passes for 277 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Even when Renner returned, Williams was given a larger role in the offense, and the dual-threat quarterback has led the team in rushing in both games of UNC’s current two-game winning streak.
Redshirt freshman Kanler Coker took reps with the second team during Tuesday’s practice and will back up Williams. Coker, a native of Flowery Branch, Ga., was rated the No. 72 quarterback in his class by Scout.com.
“I just hate that (Renner’s) not going to get to finish out the season like he wanted to finish it out,” offensive coordinator Blake Anderson said. “He firmly believed that he was going to help us win the next four games, win a bowl game and go out with some memories. And he’s got some great ones, but it was cut short.
“I feel okay with our transition without him. I feel like our players are prepared. I feel more comfortable about that than I do about what Bryn’s going through.”
Renner was injured in the third quarter against the Wolfpack when he was hit from both sides while sliding on a scramble. His shoulder was put back into place and he returned for two snaps in the fourth quarter before Williams took over for good.
Renner also injured his left shoulder in the middle of his senior year in high school, but he finished the season with his arm in a harness and then had surgery. Renner initially lobbied to use a harness this time, but that wasn’t an option after an MRI revealed extensive damage.
Renner hopes to start rehabbing by mid-December and be ready for the NFL scouting combine in April. First, he said he would do what he can to prepare Williams for the rest of the season and to ensure the Tar Heels made a bowl game.
“I’ve seen it all. Experienced it all,” Renner said. “I’ve accomplished a lot in my career, and one thing that I’m proud of is I gave 110 (percent) every time that I strapped it up on Saturdays. And that’s one thing I’m going to miss is Saturdays.”