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UNC defensive tackle Ethan Farmer cleared to play

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
Miami v North Carolina

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CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 17: Dallas Crawford #25 of the Miami Hurricanes is stopped by Ethan Farmer #96 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on October 17, 2013 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

A day after North Carolina suspended four defensive players for violating team rules amid hazing allegations, the Tar Heels received good news about the eligibility of a defensive starter.

After his eligibility was in question due to “an academic question,” senior defensive tackle Ethan Farmer was officially cleared on Thursday to play in the team’s season opener against Liberty on Saturday.

“We are thankful to have Ethan cleared to play and I know he’s excited to have this behind him,” head coach Larry Fedora said. “Ethan is our only experienced player and we’ll be counting on him for senior leadership in that group. He has practiced hard during the preseason and has not let this situation affect his preparation for the season.”

The 6-foot-3, 295 pound Farmer is the only returning starter for UNC along the defensive line, and according to Tar Heel Illustrated, the team was “completely in the dark” about Farmer’s status “until not long ago.”

Farmer will be a big boost for the Tar Heels’ defense, but with the coaching staff unsure if Farmer would be able to suit up, Tar Heel Illustrated described his repetitions in practice as “somewhat limited” while others prepared for potentially filling in for Farmer.

Farmer, a native of Tabor City, N.C., started all 13 games for the Tar Heels in 2013. He registered 30 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Farmer was a three-star recruit for the Tar Heels’ 2010 class.

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