As I wrote about a few days ago North Carolina’s coaching staff will be reshuffled in the new year as Blake Anderson and Walt Bell have decided to head out from Chapel Hill. Well, yesterday the official UNC Athletic Site told us that the offensive line will be different in 2014 as well, with junior center Russell Bodine declaring for the National Football League.
University of North Carolina junior offensive lineman Russell Bodine has decided to forego his final season of eligibility and will enter the 2014 NFL Draft. A native of Scottsville, Va., Bodine was a two-year starter, primarily at center. He also saw action at left guard in 2013.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play in the NFL and I feel I’m ready to take the next step in my playing career,” said Bodine. “I have been thinking about this for several weeks, weighing all my options and discussing it with my parents and the coaching staff. I feel it is the right time to move forward.
“I want to thank the coaching staff at North Carolina for helping me become a better player and person. I’ve had the opportunity to play in both a pro-style offense and a spread offense and I think that will enhance my opportunities at the next level.”
Bodine averaged 73 snaps per game in 2013 and was an honorable-mention All-ACC selection.
“We wish Russell the best as he takes the next step in athletic career,” said head coach Larry Fedora. “He has been a good player for us over the last two years, starting every game on the offensive line, and has a bright future ahead of him.”
I am definitely not one to say whether someone should head on to the next level or not. But truth be told this move by the junior does surprises me. And does so for several reasons. First off, I am always looking around at any and all mock drafts out there, looking at where any of the Tar Heels might end up. This season there is plenty of linemen in it, and I am not sure if Bodine will be finding his way to a high round pick. Or better said, I am not sure if leaving early is going to be the best move for the young man. Secondly, ranking which was the biggest problems on the offensive side in 2014, the line would probably be top of those rankings. This past season the line gave up 21 sacks and was not able to be strong enough, or gel well together, to let the running game develop.
With senior offensive tackle James Hurst also gone for 2014 the line will once again be in need of a pair of players to step up to take their place. In the depth chart freshman Lucas Crowley was behind Bodine, while redshirt freshman John Ferranto backed up Hurst. In all head coach Larry Fedora has three lineman coming in next season. It will be interesting between the players that are already at UNC and the ones coming in what the coaching staff can do to fill the missing spots and improve them from this season’s performance.