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North Carolina

T.J. Yates optimistic about his NFL future

Posted April 19, 2011

It was a pretty well known fact that North Carolina's 2010 team was going to be loaded  with NFL talent.

But there was a time when not many would have agreed that quarterback T.J. Yates belonged on that list with some of his other teammates.

That was then.

That was before he efficiently and effectively led his team to eight wins and a bowl victory in his senior season after the team was ripped apart by NCAA investigations. That was before he impressed NFL scouts at his Pro Day workout in Chapel Hill. That was before word starting getting around about his ability, intelligence and intangibles.

This is now.

"It's a good chance and I'm pretty optimistic about the whole thing," Yates told Adam and Joe on The Fan Monday. "There's a lot of guys in my position (UNC teammates), we're trying to stay in shape, stay sharp because we've had a lot of workouts and visits. It's a different experience."

Certain publications like ESPN now have him ranked as the No. 10 quarterback prospect in the 2011 draft class. Some are projecting Yates has vaulted from a late round pick at best to a possible mid-round pick. And veteran quarterbacks coach Larry Kennan raves about him.

Yates has been doing his best to avoid what's being said about him in the press, even the good stuff. But in a way he's already prepared for criticism at the next level because he already saw plenty of it in college.

"Absolutely. Especially during my junior year if you start believing everything people say about you, that's not a good thing for your performance. You gotta keep your head out of that and turn all the nay sayers around."

But all the criticism and low expectations for the offense going into Yates' senior year allowed that unit to step up and surprise some people.

"Going into the season I was in a good position, to a certain extent I couldn't make anyone more pissed off at me," Yates chuckled. "But it was kind of a blessing in disguise, obviously it was a terrible thing what happened to the program. As far as myself and a lot of the guys on offense and our offense moving forward it opened up the door for us to be able to grow."

Time will tell if the NFL will be the next place for T.J. Yates to grow his game. He's drawing inspiration from the ESPN special, "The Brady 6", which highlighted the six quarterbacks selected ahead of the Patriots star in the 2000 NFL draft.

T.J. Yates, Tom Brady......you never know.

"I'm not saying that," Yates said. "But I might be in the same situation as him how about that?"

40 Comments

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  • jmoore27540 Apr 22, 8:26 a.m.

    While I appreciate his optimism, he doesn't have the tools to play at the next level.

    — Posted by BigfootBeliever

    +1

  • shakennotstirred Apr 19, 9:42 p.m.

    "after the team was ripped apart by NCAA investigations"

    buzzzzz, wrong. Ripped apart by a corrupt coaching staff (a fact), and by greedy, self-absorbed thuugs (a fact). Please report the facts Tim, you UNC blowhard. Yates deserves a chance, because he earned it. If he can help that messed up program at UNC get 8 wins with those fickle fans, he might just get a few snaps in preseason games. Congratulations to him for escaping, er, graduating UNC without getting caught up in the BD fiasco...

  • 1993 Tarheel Apr 19, 6:01 p.m.

    I find it hilarious that a duke fan is on this board talking any smack about football. What a !!

    — Posted by daffneyhardiman

    What is hilarious is you picked that to be your first ever post on here. Welcome to the boards!... View More

    — Posted by jrj6950

    I find it hilarious too....must be a slow day at "work" for you df's.

    — Posted by 1993 Tarheel

    Right back at ya.

    — Posted by jrj6950

    Nice debate. Typical df....be careful on that ride home from the restaurant....

  • davidgnews Apr 19, 5:37 p.m.

    I don't think so but good luck to him.

  • pskunk119 Apr 19, 5:02 p.m.

    He'll be the most celebrated back-up QB in UNC history.

  • oneuncfan Apr 19, 4:54 p.m.

    he doesn't have the tools to play at the next level.

    Hmm...not what veteran quarterbacks coach Larry Kennan said:

    "I've worked with Byron... View More

    — Posted by GoLower

    Just because your good in the film room doesn't mean your going to be good on the field. I see... View More

    — Posted by jrj6950

    Thats funny you mention that because seeing how the minimum NFL salary is about $350,000 id much rather sit on my tail with a a clipboard getting paid to watch NFL games from the sideline..Sounds alot better to me than 9-5 M-F.

  • jrj6950 Apr 19, 4:36 p.m.

    I find it hilarious that a duke fan is on this board talking any smack about football. What a !!

    — Posted by daffneyhardiman

    What is hilarious is you picked that to be your first ever post on here. Welcome to the boards!... View More

    — Posted by jrj6950

    I find it hilarious too....must be a slow day at "work" for you df's.

    — Posted by 1993 Tarheel

    Right back at ya.

  • 1993 Tarheel Apr 19, 4:33 p.m.

    I find it hilarious that a duke fan is on this board talking any smack about football. What a !!

    — Posted by daffneyhardiman

    What is hilarious is you picked that to be your first ever post on here. Welcome to the boards!... View More

    — Posted by jrj6950

    I find it hilarious too....must be a slow day at "work" for you df's.

  • braves309 Apr 19, 4:27 p.m.

    And while you haters are sitting around on an internet message board trying to come up with your... View More

    — Posted by DML

    I bet you dream the same too dude!

  • GhostofSmitty Apr 19, 4:26 p.m.

    he doesn't have the tools to play at the next level.

    Hmm...not what veteran quarterbacks coach Larry Kennan said:

    "I've worked with Byron... View More

    — Posted by GoLower

    Just because your good in the film room doesn't mean your going to be good on the field. I see... View More

    — Posted by jrj6950

    And he will be paid very well for holding that clipboard. If you watch the sidelines, the QB running the scout team and also helping to signal/call in the plays has a critical job. TJ will hopefully get to play a little, collect a nice check, bank it, learn alot, and move on to coaching in 8-12 yrs. No matter what, if he is near as good at read and recognition as Brees, or only 2/3 as good, he will find some playing time.

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