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Yates is a Texan, and it couldn't be a better situation

Posted May 3, 2011

What a difference 18 months can make.

It seems like yesterday North Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates was getting booed at the Dean Smith Center when his image popped up during the famous in-game "I'm a Tar Heel" video feature.

Now he's in the NFL.

Yates was part of a school record nine Tar Heels selected in the NFL Draft, going in the 5th round to the Houston Texans (152nd overall). And while going from college to the pros is a huge step in any sport, Yates is going to feel a little more comfortable with this situation.

"Coach (John) Shoop had been telling me, he was talking to coach [Greg] Knapp (Houston's QB coach) a lot because we run pretty much identical offenses. I really couldn't have gotten into a better situation because the transition to me is going to be that much easier. We've been watching Houston Texans film for two or three years now. We do a lot of the same things on offense," Yates told Mark and Mike on 620 The Buzz.

"That was one of the reasons why they said they took me."

Part of the NFL scouts' intrigue surrounding Yates was his intelligence and ability to understand some of the more complicated offenses in the league. In this case he's fitting in to a system he says is "identical" to the one ran in Chapel Hill. One veteran quarterback scout said before the draft that on top of his intelligence, he's got plenty of arm and can make all the throws.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak has even said Yates reminds him a lot of Matt Schaub. So Yates has a lot working in his favor before he's even thrown a pass for his new team. And who knows when that will be with the labor situation in the NFL.

"It's kind of weird because after that phone call took place (on day Yates was drafted) I'm not allowed to talk to my coaches at all. Neither is my agent. I'm not allowed to get a playbook, I'm just still sitting here. It hasn't really hit me yet," Yates said.

Until the lockout is resolved Yates said he'll be waiting and working out. He also joked that he's following the lockout in the news "a little more serious" than he was a week ago.

Whenever all that ends Yates will be on his way to working out his contract for the Houston Texans and getting ready to practice with a high powered offense. Someone had to point out to him that he'll get to pitch footballs to Andre Johnson.

"I was like, oh my god, you're right," Yates laughed. "I'm gonna be spoiled like having Hakeem Nicks all over again."
 

35 Comments

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  • dsalter May 4, 12:36 p.m.

    He's a project. Matt Schaub is the starter and will be for a while. But, it will give Yates time to learn how fast those guys in the NFL can really move until he gets his shot. He's a decent QB.

  • morgannyy May 4, 12:28 p.m.

    Ah, NOT QUITE "in the NFL" yet. You know, there's all that little stuff like making the team!

  • Cragsdale May 4, 11:53 a.m.

    Yawn, our daily update on anything Carolina from the Raleigh branch of the UNC Sports... View More

    — Posted by packfan79

    Maybe if your school did something worth mentioning more often you'd see more stories about them in the news. Have a nice day.

  • Smedley May 4, 8:22 a.m.

    will he be the first ever unc player to START an NFL game at QB???

    — Posted by SAC71GOPACK

    We're not called "Tailback U" for nuttin'.

    — Posted by GoLower

    I thought tailback U was the USC Trojans because of all the Heisman trophies and such.

    I see Yates as a perfect fit for the practice squad. He does take a good beating after all.

  • StunGunn May 4, 7:21 a.m.

    I'm so happy for TJ - glad to see all his hard work and dedication pay off. Good luck TJ!

  • littleriver69 May 4, 6:27 a.m.

    Yates will never make it in the NFL as a QB. He was no good as a college QB. He'll get the league minimum for one year then cut. Little to no talent as a QB. Get real.

  • packfan79 May 4, 6:27 a.m.

    Yawn, our daily update on anything Carolina from the Raleigh branch of the UNC Sports Information Department.

  • Tarheel born May 3, 9:05 p.m.

    Good luck TJ.........Go Heels.........

  • Ken D. May 3, 8:12 p.m.

    will he be the first ever unc player to START an NFL game at QB???

    — Posted by SAC71GOPACK

    We're not called "Tailback U" for nuttin'.

    — Posted by GoLower

    There are a few of us who post here who are actually old enough to remember why UNC had that reputation. Not only did they produce some great tailbacks, they also consistently had some of the best pulling guards in the country leading the way. Not many of the tailbacks went on to great pro careers, but the O-lineman excelled.

    Lately, not so much.

  • beckerunc May 3, 6:37 p.m.

    Congrats TJ and best wishes !!!

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