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North Carolina Tarheels to be Without Multiple Key Players in Bowl Game Against West Virginia

The Tarheels are going to be very short handed in the Duke Mayo Bowl

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 18 North Carolina at Clemson Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Over the past several days, the West Virginia Mountaineers have been hit with players leaving the program and entering the NCAA Transfer Portal. It may feel like the Mountaineers are just hemorrhaging players and there is no hope. Well, it should be noted that the Mountaineers opponent in their upcoming bowl game, the Duke’s Mayo Bowl on December 27 at 5:30 PM, will also be without several players and unfortunately for the North Carolina Tarheels, it will be multiple key players who helped guide them to an 8-4 season.

The biggest loss is quarterback Drake May, who announced yesterday that he would forego the bowl game to focus on the NFL Draft, where he is in consideration for the number one overall pick in the upcoming 2024 Draft.

Joining May in NFL Draft preparation is linebacker Cedric Gray and wide receiver Tez Walker. Gray led UNC with 121 tackles to go with a career-high five sacks and an interception. He was named to the All-ACC first team for the second straight season. Walker played in 8 games for the Tar Heels, catching 41 passes for 699 yards and seven touchdowns. He earned All-ACC Third Team honors for his shortened season.

The loss of the starting quarterback, starting linebacker and starting wide receiver would be enough to throw any fan into hysteria but the Tarheels will be without more than just those three players. Center Corey Gaynor has announced that he will not play in the bowl game. Furthermore, the program also announced the following players are injured and will not play in the bowl game: tight end John Copenhaver (lower body); tight end Bryson Nesbit (lower body); defensive back Will Hardy (upper body); defensive back Alijah Huzzie (lower body); and offensive lineman Zach Rice (lower body).