No. 14: Greg Ellis
*Publisher's note: THI is ranking the top 25 football players in UNC history, gauging each player solely on their careers as Tar Heels. NFL accomplishments do not factor into these rankings.
Name: Greg Ellis
Jersey #: 87
Honors: Two-time All-American in 1996 & 1997; Honorable mention All-America in 1995; 1997 first-team All-America; Three-time, first-team All-ACC.
Notable Stats: 32.5 career sacks (UNC’s all-time leader); 50 career tackles for loss of yardage; 134 career tackles; 83 career QB hurries.
In Closing: One of the key players on perhaps UNC’s best defense in the modern era, as the Tar Heels finished No. 2 in the nation on that side of the ball in his junior and senior seasons. Ellis’ consistent reliability as one of the nation’s top pass rushers was key, but he also made the rest of the Tar Heels' talented line even better. Those two Carolina clubs combined to go 21-3 and finished ranked in the top 10 of the national polls. Finalist for the Lombardi Award in 1997.
He was voted by his teammates as a team captain his senior season in which UNC allowed just 217 total yards and 11.5 points per game. His 32.5 career sacks are still the all-time record at UNC and is the fourth highest total in ACC history. The Tar Heels led the ACC in total defense in each of Ellis’ last three seasons. Ellis blocked an Arkansas field goal in the 1995 Carquest Bowl and he scored a touchdown against Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl in his last game as a Tar Heel.
Ellis’ best game as a Tar Heel came in 1997 when the Tar Heels visited Clemson late in the season. He recorded 14 tackles, four of which were for a loss of yardage, and two of them were sacks.