UNC: QB Renner to have season-ending surgery

AARON BEARD (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner has taken his last snap for the Tar Heels. His focus now is helping his team continue its late push for a bowl game and recovering in time for NFL predraft workouts.

The school said Renner will have surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder Wednesday at UNC Hospitals to repair a detached labrum and a broken bone in the shoulder. He suffered the injury when he was hit by two defenders on a scramble late in the third quarter of the weekend win at rival North Carolina State.

''It's tough, you know?'' Renner said as he fought back tears after Tuesday evening's practice. ''Just the fact that it's over kind of sunk in. It's been a good five years. ... I'm sorry for getting emotional but this team means a lot to me. I gave it all I had for five years. It's just tough right now.''

The injury means redshirt sophomore Marquise Williams, who had been rotating with Renner in a growing role the past few games, will become the full-time starter. Redshirt freshman Kanler Coker now inherits the backup job as the team tries to redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky.

''It's tough, man, because I look up to him and I love the guy,'' an emotional Williams said after practice. ''He always encouraged me to be better. Words can't express (his) influence on my life.''

Renner had led North Carolina (3-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) to two straight wins following a 1-5 start, restoring hope that the Tar Heels can become bowl eligible. The Tar Heels host Virginia (2-7, 0-5) on Saturday.

''I'm going to do everything I can,'' Renner said. ''I'm going to be right beside Marquise doing everything I can to help him through this process and get this team to a bowl game. That was my goal when we started 1-5, to be 1-0 every week. We can do that as a team.''

Renner said he will be in a sling until around mid-December, then will start some range-of-motion exercises as he begins rehabbing ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine.

The injury ends the college career of one of the program's top passers, whose career spanned an NCAA investigation into the program that led to the firing of Butch Davis as coach and the eventual hiring of Larry Fedora from Southern Mississippi before last season.

Renner, a native of West Springfield, Va., threw 28 touchdown passes as a junior and 26 in 2011 - the highest two single-season totals in school history. He ranks third in program history behind T.J. Yates and Darian Durant in four career stat categories: yards passing (8,221), touchdowns (64), completions (668) and attempts (1,005).

Renner is the ACC's third-leading passer, throwing for 252 yards per game. He had thrown for 10 touchdowns with five interceptions this year, missing the loss at Virginia Tech with a foot injury.

Team medical staff popped Renner's shoulder back into place after he took the hit against the Wolfpack. He returned to play two snaps in the fourth, completing a 9-yard pass to T.J. Thorpe for a first down.

Renner said he didn't realize the extent of the damage, and offensive coordinator Blake Anderson said Renner was pushing to return to the game immediately after the injury.

''Situationally I felt like it was OK, but in the back (of my mind), I wasn't completely sure of how safe we were being with him and it just didn't make sense to keep him out there,'' Anderson said. ''I was hoping and praying it would be minor and he'd be fine next week.

''Under the circumstances, I'm glad we didn't do any more injury to him. I wouldn't have been able to sleep or look at myself if we had hurt him worse.''

InsideCarolina.com was the first to report the severity of Renner's injury.

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