Heels Add Big-Time Receiving Threat

When Zack Pianalto enrolls in a couple weeks, North Carolina will be adding a dangerous receiving target at the tight end position.

"I'm a receiving tight end," said Pianalto. "I think my strengths are my route running ability and my hands. I feel like I can run good routes and catch the ball very well."

Springdale (Ark.) head football coach Kevin Johnson believes Pianalto is a solid all-around tight end.

"He's a big target – he's about 6-5, 230-225 [pounds], and he runs extremely well," said Johnson. "He's a tremendous blocker, he has real good hands, he runs real good routes, and he's a threat when he gets the ball in the open field."

In Springdale's offensive system, Pianalto was never really used as a true tight end.

"We classify him as a tight end, but he's never played the traditional tight end position," said Johnson. "He's always stood up and split out as a flanker. We've never put him at a true tight end; he's always been a stand up receiver."

If not for breaking his collarbone twice, Pianalto would have been a vital weapon in Springdale's offense this past season.

"This year, he was hindered by injury – broke his collarbone in July," said Johnson. "Going into the season, he was going to be our featured receiver."

Pianalto first broke his collarbone during a 7-on-7 passing tournament in Hoover, Alaa. He returned for two games and caught 12 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. During the second game, Pianalto re-injured his collarbone.

Pianalto said he has been reassured that the injury isn't reoccurring and he'll be ready in time for North Carolina's spring practice.

"I'm 100-percent right now," said Pianalto. "It was one of those things where I didn't give it enough time to heal. It will be 100-percent for spring ball."

As a junior, Pianalto was used mostly as a blocker as Springdale was graced with three receivers who went on to sign with Arkansas (Andrew Norman, Ben Cleveland and Damian Williams). Pianalto, however, caught 14 passes for 323 yards on the year.

Zack Pianalto Profile

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