We continue our series of the players that we’re more excited for this spring with newcomer cornerback Storm Duck.
Storm has been a part of the UNC Tarheels since 2019, where he joined the team as a 3-star prospect out of South Carolina. Duck made an immediate impact, playing in all 13 games as a true freshman, starting 9 of them. He notched 37 tackles, 2 TFLs, 2 INTs (including a pick-six), and 5 passes defended.
The next two seasons were marred by injury, as he missed all but 2 games in 2020, and was only able to work his way back for 6 games in 2021, though he did return to his starting role for 4 of them.
However, in 2022 he finally popped again, starting 12 games. On the season, he notched 46 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 INTs, 9 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble. He was a wrecking ball for the Tarheel secondary, and earned second-team All-ACC honors for his efforts.
However, with degree in hand, Storm decided that with his remaining eligibility he’d be best served by seeking new climes. Thanks to his efforts, he was regarded as a 4-star transfer prospect, and ended up pulling the trigger for the Blue and White (no, the darker, better Blue).
Storm joins the Lions at a perfect time to carve out a role. The secondary has been a strength for the defense the last two seasons, with names like Tariq Castro-Fields, Joey Porter, Jr., and Kalen King all prowling the CB position. Heading into spring practice, Kalen King and Johnny Dixon figure to have the nod as the two starting CBs, and Daequan Hardy can be penciled in as the nickelback.
But after the top three CBs, things get a little thin. True sophomore and former 4-star Cam Miller is currently slated as one of the backups, though he’s only notched 5 tackles to his name after appearing in 11 games as a freshman. Next up would be true freshman (as in, hasn’t played at the collegiate level yet) and former 4-star Elliot Washington.
And that’s about it. There are other players in the secondary, but depth is definitely a question mark heading into the spring.
Which is why I’m so intrigued by Storm Duck’s arrival. He’s a proven talent at the Power 5 level, having battled back from injury to improve on his early college career. He arrives at a time when the depth is sorely needed, but also in a situation where he could legitimately push the starters for playing time. He also has 2 years of eligibility remaining, thanks to both a redshirt year and a COVID year.
All in all, Duck should be a key component of the secondary in 2023, and how he performs this spring will have a big impact on just how well the CB room performs.
He’s also got the coolest name on the team.