Time to move on in our preseason countdown of the Top 25 players in the ACC. Remember the criteria -- these rankings are based on past performance and future potential.
No. 24 Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Previous ranking: Not ranked.
Making the case for Ebron: What a breakout season for Ebron in 2012. In his first year as a starter, Ebron set school records for receptions (40) and receiving yards (625) by a tight end en route to second-team All-ACC honors. That yardage mark topped the old record of 448 yards set by Mike Chatham in 1979. Vernon Davis and Heath Miller are the only players to have more receiving yards at the tight end position in ACC history. Guess what? Ebron is going to be even better in 2013. Don't believe me? Listen to Larry Fedora, who expects Ebron to catch between 55-65 passes this year with 10 touchdowns. ESPN Insider Travis Haney listed Ebron as one of his post-spring breakout players for 2013, writing:
Ebron did not have a 100-yard game last season, but he did average 3.3 catches and 52.1 yards a game. The catches could double, and the yardage should jump too. Don't be surprised if Ebron is a hot draft name next spring, with versatile tight ends taking more precedence these days in the NFL than running backs.
And Phil Steele lists Ebron as a fourth-team All-American. Ebron has his place on the Mackey Award watch list already. If all goes the way coaches up in Chapel Hill expect, Ebron should be on this list at the end of the season, too.