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January 3, 2010North Carolina's defensive unit should look very, very similar at the start of the 2010 season to the unit that took the field for the Meineke Car Care Bowl a little over a week ago.
That's because the Tar Heels are returning all of the junior players that considering entering for the 2010 NFL Draft---a list that includes defensive tackle Marvin Austin, cornerback Kendric Burney, and linebackers Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter.
Austin and Carter confirmed over the weekend via the 'Twitter' social networking site that they were coming back to UNC for their senior years, and confirmation on the other players has trickled out as well on Sunday.
With the return of those five players, the UNC defense will be losing only two starting positions from this past season's defense, which led the Atlantic Coast Conference in several statistical categories.
One starting position, left behind by defensive end E.J. Wilson, will be contested during spring football by multiple players including Quinton Coples, Michael McAdoo, and Donte Paige-Moss.
The other, left behind at defensive tackle by Cam Thomas, will likely be inherited by rising fourth-year junior Tydreke Powell.
Offensively the Tar Heels return starters at positions including quarterback, running back, tight end, left guard, right guard, right tackle, and everyone among the wide receivers, which should make for unquestionably the most experienced team that Butch Davis and his UNC staff have worked with so far in Chapel Hill.
UNC returns to action for the 2010 season opener Saturday, September 4 against LSU in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.