No. 24: Bracey Walker
*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: Bracey Walker
Jersey #: 27
Honors: First-team All-America 1993; Two-time All-ACC, first-team in 1993, second-team in 1992; National Special Teams Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated 1993; MVP of the Peach Bowl 1982.
Notable Stats: 263 career tackles; four career interceptions; 14 career pass break ups; four career blocked punts.
In Closing: Few Tar Heels entertained fans with their spirit, passion and obvious love for the game like Bracey Walker. The gifted safety came along when Mack Brown’s Tar Heels were ascending into national relevance, and Walker, with how he played the game, drew eyes generating plenty of a attention. His explosion onto the scene raised UNC’s profile in one of the most thrilling and important bowl victories in the program’s history.
Walker was the Defensive MVP of the 1992 Peach Bowl (played on Jan. 2, 1993) as the Heels defeated Mississippi State 21-17. He blocked two punts in that game, returning one himself for a touchdown and the other set up one. Walker also broke up a pass late in the game, deflecting so it was intercepted by the Tar Heels’ Cliff Baskerville, who returned it 44 yards for the game-winning score. That win set up a 10-win season in 1993 for the Heels, the first of three double-digit victory campaigns in a five-year stretch.