ACC Preseason Top 50 Players of 2013: #14, Eric Ebron

North Carolina’s Eric Ebron is #14 in Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 50 Players for 2013

North Carolina’s Eric Ebron is #14 in Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 50 Players for 2013

Less than one week until college football kicks off! In the past, we’ve limited these lists to just the top 25 players, but this season, we’re upping our game to 50. So just about every day until the season starts, there will be a new player profile up here as we count down to the top ACC player for 2013.

Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus “completely bulletproof” — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.

No. 14, Eric Ebron, TE/North Carolina (Last Season: NR)

In a quick-release offense, a tight end can be among the most important players on the field, and that’s certainly true when it comes to Eric Ebron and UNC. Now a junior, the huge (6’4″ and around 250 pounds) tight end is being hyped at one of the best in the country at his position. And why not? He’s built like a tank and can keep pace with most wideouts. Whether he’s up against linebackers or defensive backs, there are mismatches galore all over the field, and there are few tight ends built to exploit them like he can.

Ebron also appears to have the mental makeup to succeed at this level and beyond, despite some bumps in the road as a freshman. In a recent feature with Fox Sports Carolinas, Lauren Brownlow was able to get inside Ebron’s head and what she found was an intriguing character — focused, but introverted; humble, but still keeping some lofty goals in mind. North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora’s put up 12 touchdowns as a goal for Ebron, and instead of shying away from it, he’s set his own goal of 15. But his top priority is simply improvement, and unexamined improvement at that. As he told Brownlow:

“I’d rather live my life in the dark and improve without people telling me I’m improving or telling me I’m this or telling me I’m that. I’d rather see it for myself or hear it from the people that actually matter… You get tired of everyone telling you what you are. … I don’t like to listen to All-ACC this and All-American that. I’d like to go out and prove it instead of having it all come to me.”
And given the fact that he’s only played tight end for two years now, it’s amazing all this praise is just coming to him at all. But here we are. Ebron’s physical gifts are enough to propel him to honor after honor this season, but what about the Heels? With two of last year’s top four receivers gone, he’s become even more essential to this attack, and with his abilities to excel in short- or long-yardage situations, he should be able to take a lot of pressure off of QB Bryn Renner. He’ll also lighten the load for deep option wideout Quinshad Davis and halfback A.J. Blue too, who showed himself capable of catching balls out of the backfield last season. We’d also be remiss not to point out that Ebron’s a highly capable blocker who regularly opens holes along the outside for UNC rushers. Needless to say, he’s the total package, and despite his desire to stay anonymous, there’s simply no way that’ll be the case by the time this season’s over.

Previously:

#15 James Wilder Jr., RB/Florida State

#16 Lamarcus Joyner, CB/Florida State

#17 Stephen Morris, QB/Miami

#18 Michael Campanaro, WR/Wake Forest

#19 Ross Cockrell, CB/Duke

#20 Jeremiah Attaochu, DE/Georgia Tech

#21 Devonta Freeman, RB/Florida State

#22 Nikita Whitlock, NT/Wake Forest

#23 Kareem Martin, DE/North Carolina

#24 Kevin Parks, RB/Virginia

#25 Logan Thomas, QB/Virginia Tech

#26 Jack Tyler, LB/Virginia Tech

#27 Morgan Moses, OT/Virginia

#28 Antone Exum, CB/Virginia Tech

#29 Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB/Boston College

#30 Tre’ Jackson, OG/Florida State

#31 Zach Laskey, RB/Georgia Tech

#32 Quinshad Davis, WR/North Carolina

#33, Kyle Fuller, CB/Virginia Tech

#34 Senorise Perry, RB/Louisville

#35 Rashad Greene, WR/Florida State

#36 Jamison Crowder, WR/Duke

#37 Bryan Stork, C/Florida State

#38 David Sims, RB/Georgia Tech

#39 Terrence Brooks, FS/Florida State

#40 Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State

#41 A.J. Blue, RB/North Carolina

#42 Dyshawn Davis, LB/Syracuse

#43 Phillip Dorsett, WR/Miami

#44 Demetrious Nicholson, CB/Virginia

#45 Jason Hendricks, S/Pittsburgh

#46 Darryl Cato-Bishop, DE/NC State

#47 Devin Street, WR/Pittsburgh

#48 Quayshawn Nealy, LB/Georgia Tech

#49 Vic Beasley, DE/Clemson

#50 Brandon Linder, OG/Miami

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