The injury bug has already bitten the Tar Heels at this position. Returning starter Anthony Perkins, is out for the season with a knee injury, and underwent surgery in April to repair the damage. He is expected to miss all of the 2001 season.
While the Tar Heels are scrambling to replace Perkins, the other starter at defensive tackle is Ryan Sims, a leader on the team and a standout defensive tackle. Coach Bunting said of Sims, "I think Ryan Sims is going to have one heckava senior year."
Sims finished seventh on the team in tackles last season with 26 solo stops and 26 assisted tackles. He added six sacks and nine tackles for loss. He also proved he was one the most dedicated workers during the off-season in the weight room.
The leading candidate to replace Perkins is Will Chapman, a 6-4, 271-pound sophomore who earned the starter's position on the depth chart coming out of spring practice. A former walk-on, Chapman seems to have a knack for making plays when on the field last season.
Depth at tackle, like at the defensive end position, is tenuous. Jonas Seawright, a 6-6, 305-pound redshirt freshman, and Eric Davis, a 6-3, 263-pound junior, currently fill the reserve spots at defensive tackle. Coach Bunting said of his depth problems there," We really need a couple of young players to step up. Donti Coats and the other guys that play that position have got to step up…the Jonas Seawrights of the world, we have asked him to step it up, and I think he has made a step up, Eric Davis, he did nice job today [at the spring game] and made some plays. But Jonas Seawright is a big kid that we need, and he really needs to help us."