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Absence of WR Tez Walker to Hamper North Carolina’s Offense in Bowl Against WVU



Tez Walker with UNC

WVU’s opponent in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl will be without one of their best playmakers. Wide receiver Tez Walker will opt out of the bowl game as he prepares for the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, per a report by 247 Sports’ Inside Carolina.

Since there’s already speculation about if quarterback Drake May will participate, losing Walker is a significant blow to the North Carolina offense. Walker caught 41 balls for 699 yards and scored seven touchdowns. He managed to lead the Tar Heels in receiving yards despite missing four games when he was initially ruled ineligible after his transfer from Kent State.

Walker’s monster games became a big part of the story of North Carolina’s season. He posted 132 yards and found the end zone three times in a win over Miami (FL) and then made 11 receptions while racking up 146 yards against Virginia.

Regardless of who is in at quarterback, no Walker could drastically reduce North Carolina’s chances at converting big plays through the passing game. A team isn’t likely to change its entire offensive strategy for a bowl game, but not having to deal with Walker will make life easier on the Mountaineer secondary.

This all makes North Carolina’s loss is West Virginia’s gain. The Mountaineers expect to be mostly at full strength when the two teams take the field in Charlotte. WVU will be without star center Zach Frazier as he receivers from surgery and gets ready for the NFL Draft process.

The Duke’s Mayo Bowl between WVU and North Carolina will kickoff at 5:30 pm ET on Dec. 27. Oddsmakers continue to view WVU as the favorite.

For a related story, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown talked about what type of opponent he wanted to face in a bowl game and why North Carolina is the perfect fit. He also confirmed he will take the mayonnaise bath if the Mountaineers win.

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