UNC senior safety Da’Norris Searcy has been cleared to play and will make his 2010 debut Saturday against East Carolina, UNC announced on Thursday. Searcy was held out of the previous three games while the university and the NCAA determined his eligibility status.
There are still 11 players sidelined -- including five starters on defense -- because of the impending NCAA investigation, but this is a big boost to North Carolina's secondary. The Tar Heels had been playing with four new starters. Searcy finished last year with 35 tackles, one interception and three pass breakups. He is also a return threat and ranked fifth in the country in punt returns last year with a 14.6 average. ECU has the No. 13 passing offense in the country and is No. 9 with an average of 42 points per game.