Watch: Pete Nance highlights at the Blue-White scrimmage

UNC basketball fans got their first look at Northwestern transfer Pete Nance over the weekend at the Blue-White scrimmage.

The UNC basketball program took the floor for the first time in front of fans over the weekend in the Blue-White scrimmage.

The game was the first time UNC fans were able to see Northwestern transfer [autotag]Pete Nance[/autotag] in a Carolina jersey.

Nance transferred to UNC after averaging 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game for the Wildcats last year. He also shot 45.2 percent from three.

Nance will look to start alongside Armando Bacot in the front court and take over the role left open from Brady Manek.

It was reported that Nance had 11 points in Saturday’s scrimmage. Below are highlights of the afternoon.

While Nance is not the same player as Manek, he brings a good amount of versatility to the floor, especially in the mid-range.

“I’m somebody that that can do a little bit of everything,” Nance told reporters earlier this summer. “I can shoot, pass, dribble. I try to pride myself on being versatile and try not to have any flaws. I try to be a versatile defender, shoot the three, post up, push it on the break, and do a little bit everything.

“This is obviously a really good team with some really talented players. Being a versatile player, whatever the coaches need me to do, and whatever role they want me to fill. I think I’d be able to adapt to that easily because of my style of play, how I move the ball, share the ball, passing ability, and floor spacing. It was a really good fit.”

Regardless of the role that Nance plays throughout the season, his skillset is something that will immediately help UNC.

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Simeon Wilcher ‘could have something to prove’ with new ranking

UNC basketball commit Simeon Wilcher ‘could have something to prove’ with new ranking, according to one national analyst.

The summer recruiting cycle has come and gone and as the fall recruiting period slowly begins to amp up, that means it is time for a rankings refresh.

The 247Sports class of 2023 rankings were updated last week and saw a big change for UNC’s lone 2023 commitment. [autotag]Simeon Wilcher[/autotag] — who was a five-star guard — fell to No. 28 overall in the rankings.

Wilcher, who was previously No. 17 overall in the class, had not been lower than 20 since the 2023 class saw its initial rankings release.

247Sports analyst Brandon Jenkins took a look at some of the players who ‘could have something to prove’ with their new rankings, including Wilcher.

“Social media certainly had a strong reaction to North Carolina commit Simeon Wilcher sliding some in our most recent update. Obviously, Wilcher is still a very talented scorer with the ball in his hands and the 6-foot-4 combo guard played the end of the summer with an amped up level of energy. Keeping that end of summer energy up and valuing the ball on each possession will be the next step of his growth. Playing for one of the top teams in the country in Roselle (N.J.) Catholic will give him an opportunity to play in many big time events and if he carries over his momentum from the Peach Jam, Wilcher could be moving right back up.”

Wilcher suffered an ankle injury earlier in the summer that caused him to miss some time but he had started to play his best basketball of the summer late at Peach Jam. Through pool play of Peach Jam, Wilcher averaged 19.2 points, 5.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and shot 53.8 percent from the field for City Rocks AAU, He was also named MVP of Pool Play.

With the rankings drop, Wilcher is now the No. 7 combo guard and the No. 4 player in the state of New Jersey.

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Drake Maye puts on ‘one of the best first games’ Mack Brown has seen

UNC football quarterback Drake Maye put together ‘one of the best first games’ Mack Brown has seen in his debut.

One of the biggest questions marks coming into the 2022 season for the UNC football program was how [autotag]Drake Maye[/autotag] would perform as the full-time starter this season.

After three years of excellent quarterback play with Sam Howell, the Tar Heels turned the keys over to Maye in what turned out to be ‘one of the best first games’ head coach Mack Brown has ever seen as UNC took down Florida A&M, 56-24.

“Very proud of Drake (Maye). One of the best first games I’ve ever seen,” Brown said postgame. “He was poised. He was accurate. His running ability was good.”

The redshirt freshman Maye was not only sharp from the start, he maintained that poise throughout the entire game. He went 29-of-37 for 294 yards and five touchdowns. He added 55 yards on the ground as well.

Maye’s five touchdowns made him the first North Carolina QB to throw for at least five touchdowns in his first career start.

“I was a little anxious and I get nervous before every game regardless of who it is. So it felt good to be out there with the guys,” Maye said postgame. “I think y’all can see we’ve got a lot of talent, just need to it put together… There were some first-game jitters. I just kind of told myself that I’ve been practicing a year and a half for this. All this work I’ve done, it’s gonna pay off. Just trust the process and trust my teammates.”

The Tar Heels came into the season-opener fresh off of the news that expected starting wide receiver Antione Greene would potentially up to 10 weeks with an injury. Who would step into that role in Greene’s absence was an intriguing storyline. What Maye did, however, was get everyone involved to fill that role.

In total, 10 players caught a pass and seven players caught multiple. AP preseason Second-Team All-American Josh Downs did what was expected and that was leading the Heels with nine grabs for 78 yards. He added two touchdowns.

One piece to the passing game that wasn’t expected to be as popular as it showed up to be, was the use of numerous tight ends. The trio of Kamari Morales, Bryson Nesbit and John Copenhaver combined for eight catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

Maye’s ability to spread the ball across the field was something that Mack Brown was impressed with.

“I thought the fact that the ball was distributed to so many different people is another credit to Drake,” Brown said. “He went to the open guy. I think he had two balls that were short to Josh and other than that I don’t think he threw a bad ball. Maybe the overthrow to Gavin Blackwell and there was someone in his face then, but I thought him distributing the ball like that’s the reason so many guys caught it.”

Despite the numbers Maye put up, there were still some struggles — but that’s to be expected. The fact that he was able to not only work through those early issues but to far exceed expectations for his first career start, shows what North Carolina has under center moving forward into stiffer competition.

“He had to compete to have a place in the (quarterback) room and, and I think like Sam (Howell), he thinks this is what he’s supposed to be doing,” Brown said. “He grew up thinking, ‘I’ll be the quarterback of Carolina.’ And when he committed to Alabama, I said, ‘I’m hanging on, man and you don’t need to be anywhere but here. This is a place where you need to be in school.’ And I think he has a chance to be real good.”

Maye’s next test is next weekend in what will be his first road game as a starting quarterback. The Tar Heels head to feisty Appalachian State.

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College Wire names Josh Downs as a top WR this year

UNC football standout wideout Josh Downs was named a top-5 wide receiver in the country by College Wire.

The UNC football program is just two days away from its season opener of the 2022 season and wide receiver [autotag]Josh Downs[/autotag] is ready to follow up his big sophomore year with another terrific year as a junior.

Downs is a preseason Second-Team All-American by the AP and is also on numerous preseason award watch lists.

Now, College Wire named Downs as a top wideout for this upcoming season, ranking him No. 5.

“Downs was one of the top weapons for UNC and QB Sam Howell, however, with a new quarterback they will likely lean heavily on him in 2022.”

In 2021, Downs had a record-setting season for the Tar Heels. He had a single-season program-record 101 receptions and 1,355 receiving yards, both records. He also scored a touchdown in eight-straight games, one short of the school record. He led the ACC and ranked fifth nationally in receptions and was second in the league and 11th nationally in receiving yards.

Downs should be one of the top wideouts in college football once again and regardless of the quarterback change, his skills should see help him be a high draft pick in 2023.

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New wide receiver commit already recruiting for UNC

New wide receiver commit Paul Billups is already recruiting for UNC fresh off of his commitment.

Fresh off of a commitment to the UNC football program on Wednesday, 2023 wide receiver pledge [autotag]Paul Billups[/autotag] is already focused on recruiting for the Tar Heels.

According to Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman, Billups said there are already a few players he’s pushing for.

“I’m going to recruit a whole bunch of 757 guys to try to get them down there and try to get us to the National Championship,” Billups said. “I wantAssad Brown, Keylen Adams, Jordan Bass.”

Billups picked the Tar Heels over other finalists Michigan State and Virginia Tech. Billups is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound prospect and had dozens of programs originally involved in his recruitment.

Friedman went on to add that Billups’ desire to recruit other prospects should not go unnoticed.

“His addition should help in the recruitment other big time players from his area.”

With the commitment of Billups, UNC now has moved up in the 247Sports team rankings to No. 23 overall and No. 25 in the Rivals team rankings.

Josh Downs named AP Second-Team All-American

On Monday, UNC football wide receiver Josh Downs was named an AP Second-Team All-American.

The UNC football program is just five days away from its season opener of the 2022 season. Unlike last year, the expectations are lowered a bit, partially due to some of the key players the Tar Heels lost. But, one player they didn’t lose is [autotag]Josh Downs[/autotag], one of the most electric players in the country.

Downs has received numerous preseason awards including being named to multiple watch lists as well as All-American teams. He’s also been labeled a prospect that could hear his name called in the first round of April’s 2023 NFL draft.

On Monday, he was named as an AP Preseason Second-Team All-American. The other wide receivers on the Second Team were Xavier Worthy (Texas) and A.T. Perry (Wake Forest).

In 2021, Downs had a record-setting season for the Tar Heels. He had a single-season program-record 101 receptions and 1,355 receiving yards, both records. He also scored a touchdown in eight-straight games, one short of the school record. He led the ACC and ranked fifth nationally in receptions and was second in the league and 11th nationally in receiving yards.

Despite not having Sam Howell under center this season, Downs is set to have another very good season for the Tar Heels. On Monday, redshirt freshman Drake Maye was named the starting quarterback for UNC’s season opener.

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Josh Downs named top-50 preseason NFL draft prospect

UNC football wide receiver Josh Downs was named top-50 preseason NFL draft prospect according to ESPN’s Todd McShay.

With just over one week until the UNC football program kicks off the 2022 season, receiver [autotag]Josh Downs[/autotag] continues to hear his name associated with the 2023 NFL Draft.

Already slotted as a second-round in most mock drafts, the highest out of any of the North Carolina players heading into this season, Downs landed in the top-50 NFL draft prospects as fall camps wind down.

According to ESPN’s Todd McShay, Downs is his 36th best draft eligible prospect entering the 2022 season.

“Downs is a lightning quick and instinctive open-field runner who is highly dangerous after the catch. He has the second gear to run under the deep ball, and he flashes the ability to make tough over-the-shoulder catches. The slot receiver has the burst and quick feet to separate fro man, and he finds pockets in zone looks. But Downs is a small target who doesn’t have the frame to win a lot of 50-50 balls and doesn’t always catch the ball clean. He was one of six receivers in the FBS to eclipse 100 receptions last year, helping him to 1,335 yards (10th most) and eight touchdowns.”

The 5-foot-10 wide out has a draft grade of 85 and is the fifth ranked wide receiver on the list.

Downs is one of the hottest names heading into this season following a massive 2021 season in which he set program season-season records in receptions and receiving yards. He was recently named in the top-30 in ESPN’s top-100 college football players this season, after not being ranked last year at this time.

UNC begins its 2022 season on August 27, hosting Florida A&M,

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Watch: Simeon Wilcher UA Next Elite 24 camp highlights

Highlights of UNC basketball guard commit Simeon Wilcher at the UA Next Elite 24 camp last week.

UNC basketball commit [autotag]Simeon Wilcher[/autotag] competed in one of the top high school showcases over the weekend. He took part in the Under Armour Next Elite 24 camp that included an All-Star game at the end of the week.

The event showcased some of the top talent in high school basketball and took place in Chicago.

Wilcher was one of 24 players invited.

The 6-foot-5 combo guard came off of the bench in the ‘All-Star game’ at the end of the week and had two points, four rebounds and two assists on the night.

Below are highlights from scrimmages during the week and the exhibition game on Friday.

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Dazz Newsome haș standout catch in Bears practice

Former UNC football standout Dazz Newsome had some nice plays during Monday’s practice, following a touchdown in the Bears preseason opener.

Fresh off of a good showing in the first preseason game for the Chicago Bears, former UNC football standout [autotag]Dazz Newsome[/autotag] impressed in practice on Monday.

Newsome, a former sixth-round draft pick in 2021, made some spectacular plays in practice to get the week started after scoring a touchdown over the weekend.

Newsome scored on a 13-yard pass from Trevor Siemian in the right corner of the end zone.

Final cuts are approaching Aug. 30 and Newsome is continuing to do everything he can to make a roster spot with the Bears.

Here is what people were saying regarding Newsome’s play on Monday afternoon.

LOOK: First look at Brady Manek in Perth Wildcats jersey

Former UNC basketball forward Brady Manek has officially joined the Perth Wildcats and was introduced with his new jersey on Monday.

Former UNC basketball forward [autotag]Brady Manek[/autotag] has officially joined his new team down under.

Last month it was announced that Manek would be signing with the Perth Wildcats in Australia, one of the top professional teams outside of the United States.

The Wildcats are the most successful team in the NBL — the highest professional league in Australia. They have 10 championships, winning six since 2010.

On Monday, Manek was officially introduced to the roster and it’s the first time to see Manek in his new uniform.

In his lone season with UNC, Manek averaged averaged 15.1 points per game this season while shooting 40.3 percent from three — both career highs. He also chipped in 6.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game — also a career-high.

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