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Tez Walker will be eligible to play in postseason for North Carolina

Matt Zenitzby:Matt Zenitz09/27/23


It looks like Tez Walker will be end up getting a chance to play for North Carolina at some point this season after all, although it will likely be limited to just one game.

The preseason first-team All-ACC wide receiver will be eligible to play in the postseason for the Tar Heels, a source tells On3. That doesn’t include the ACC championship game, though.

While Walker and other multi-time undergraduate transfers such as Florida State defensive lineman Darrell Jackson have been ruled ineligible to play this season by the NCAA, those players will be eligible to play after being in residence at their schools for two semesters, a source tells On3. The semesters at schools such as North Carolina and Florida State end the week after the ACC championship game, which is set to be played Dec. 2.

Walker, a transfer from Kent State, was initially denied eligibility by the NCAA during the summer and then lost multiple appeals in recent weeks.

Although Walker began his college career at NC Central before transferring to Kent State and then UNC, North Carolina argued that Walker only truly got an opportunity to play for one school prior to the Tar Heels since his one season at NC Central was canceled due to COVID. In addition, UNC cited the North Carolina native wanting to be closer to his sick grandmother along with mental health challenges as additional reasons for Walker being deserving of an immediate eligibility waiver. Still, the NCAA ruled him ineligible, which led to a heated response from Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown.

“We’re absolutely crushed to learn that Tez Walker’s eligibility has been denied for this season and he won’t be able to play,” Brown said at the time. “I don’t know that I’ve ever been more disappointed in a person, a group of people, or an institution than I am with the NCAA right now. It’s clear that the NCAA is about process and it couldn’t care less about the young people it’s supposed to be supporting. Plain and simple, the NCAA has failed Tez and his family and I’ve lost all faith in its ability to lead and govern our sport.”

At Kent State, Walker was first-team All-MAC selection and emerged as a possibility to go in the first four or so rounds of next year’s NFL draft. He posted 58 catches for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns at Kent State last season.

Before being ruled ineligible at North Carolina, Walker flashed his talent and potential during spring ball for the Tar Heels. He hooked up with UNC star QB Drake Maye for a 35-yard touchdown during UNC’s spring game.

“Tez can take the top off the defense,” Maye said after the spring game. “People often just talk about his speed, but he’s a good route runner. … He goes up and gets it, too. He’s a big receiver. He’s tall. He’s got a big catch radius, so it’s easy to throw to a guy like him.”

North Carolina is 4-0 and ranked No. 15 in the AP poll heading into a bye this weekend. After a matchup against Syracuse Oct. 7, the Tar Heels face No. 18 Miami Oct. 14.