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August 22, 2011The departure of players like Hunter Furr, Mywan Jackson, and Brandon Willis from the Tar Heel roster has created a void in some ways this summer in North Carolina's training camp, but it's also created new opportunity for others.
Head coach Everett Withers took advantage of the situation by providing five new scholarships to deserving veteran UNC players to put the program back at its maximum of 85 scholarships.
"There's some guys who have been working their butts off since I've been here---guys like Matt Kolojejchick, Mark McNeill, Adam Curry, Peyton Jenest and Pete Mangum," Withers said.
"We feel good and the team feels good about those guys getting them (scholarships), and we're ready to move forward," he added.
Mangum is a senior, and Kolojejchick, Jenest, and Curry are all juniors. McNeill is a redshirt freshman.
Withers had particularly good things to say about Mangum, a guy that has been invaluable for the Tar Heels on special teams in recent seasons, and who also saw action last year in the defensive rotation at times.
"Pete is a guy who has been over there in my group a lot with the DBs, and he's worked his butt off. He's earned the scholarship," Withers said.
McNeill came to UNC as a dual-sport athlete, as he also plays on the Tar Heel lacrosse squad in the springtime.
McNeill's football scholarship is a bit of a formality, as he has already been on a lacrosse scholarship during his time at UNC, but the redshirt freshmen would have automatically counted towards the football program's 85-scholarship limit once he stepped in the field on a game on Saturday.
The fact that McNeill has put himself in position to potentially play makes it worth the Tar Heels officially making him one of their scholarship players for 2011.
"Mark has been an unbelievable lacrosse player, and he's come out here for us and just busted his butt. So we just felt, 'Why not?'" Withers said. "Our players respect him an awful lot. So they kind of expected it (that he'd go on scholarship)."
Kolojejchick first showed off his talents last spring, as he got a chance to work out with the two-deep in the offensive backfield and had a solid Spring Game. He's currently one of the backups in UNC's rotation of tailbacks who could very well see action this fall.
Jenest is currently running with the second-string offensive line at left guard, behind junior Jonathan Cooper, while Curry is a backup defensive end who could also see the field this season.