Finally, some good news on the personnel front for North Carolina.
Initially via Twitter, UNC announced that starting defensive tackle Ethan Farmer has been cleared to play for the Tar Heels this season by the NCAA. An undisclosed eligibility issue has been hanging over Farmer’s head throughout summer camp, even as he’s continued to practice with the team.
As late as Tuesday after practice, head coach Larry Fedora was intimating that he didn’t expect a ruling on Farmer’s availability prior to the opener against Liberty Saturday.
“We are thankful to have Ethan cleared to play and I know he’s excited to have this behind him,” said Fedora in a statement that was released after the team broke the news on Twitter. “Ethan is our only experienced player on the defensive line and we’ll be counting on him for senior leadership in that group. He has practiced hard during the preseason and has not let this situation affect his preparation for the season.”
Farmer started all 13 games for the Tar Heels in 2013, and is expected to be the starter in 2014 as well. Thanks to departures since the end of last year, including two this summer, Farmer is the only returning starter on the defensive line.
UNC had previously announced that four defensive players have been suspended for the opener for violating unspecified team rules. Those suspensions came on the heels of a hazing report earlier in the week.