Kaimon Rucker, Omarion Hampton ranked amongst Top 100 returners

Next year is bound to be interesting for the UNC football team.

There’s no more Drake Maye in the pocket, slinging the football at lightning-fast speed or using his legs to evade pressure. There’s no more Tez Walker on the outside, catching insane passes then blazing past the secondary.

Oh – there’s also the transfer portal, which has seen 2023 defensive starters Kedrick Bingley-Jones and Tayon Holloway leave.

There’s two players who you should be excited about next season: Kaimon Rucker and Omarion Hampton.

Rucker made a name for himself by driving the ballcarrier backwards, as he led North Carolina with 15 tackles for loss in 2023. Hampton was tied atop the NCAA leaderboard in rushing yards around Thanskgiving, but that title went to Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II.

With how productive they were last season, both Rucker (59) and Hampton (65) were named amongst CBS Sports’ Top 100 returning players.

Let’s see what CBS sports had to say about Hampton:

Hampton led the ACC with almost six yards a touch en route to a 1,500-yard, 15-touchdown season,” Blake Brockermeyer said. “The bruising back added another 30 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown. Hampton had 36 explosive runs and excels in the zone scheme where he can cut back at the lineman’s heels. Excellent feet and tough to arm tackle. An area for improvement? He had three fumbles last season.”

Now onto Rucker’s rundown:

“Rucker is somewhat undersized but doesn’t let that keep him from the quarterback (8.5 sacks, 15 TFL in 2023),” Brockermeyer said. “He plays with a demonic edge and is a great team leader. North Carolina has plenty of raw talent on defense, but Rucker is one of the few who has put it all together.

Fans will not get to see Rucker participate in the Spring Game on Saturday, April 20, but there’s a strong chance they’ll see Hampton, who’ll be one of college football’s best backs in the fall.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire