GREENSBORO, Ga. — Clemson and Virginia Tech will be picked as the favorites to win the ACC by the gathered media at the Reynolds Plantation for the ACC Kickoff but UNC sophomore Deunta Williams has another idea.
"I feel like we'll win the ACC this year," said Williams, a safety. "I'm not trying to disrespect anybody but that's what I feel like is going to happen."
The Tar Heels, 4-8 in 2007, are the trendy choice to surprise and improve in Butch Davis' second season. The media picks will come out Monday, but Williams is anticipating the Heels to be second in the Coastal Division.
"No one goes into a season thinking they are going to be No. 2," Williams said.
Williams pointed to an improved defense, specifically the defensive line, as the reason for the Heels' title hopes. When told UNC lost first-round pick Kentwan Balmer at defensive tackle and defensive end Hilee Taylor, who ranked second in the ACC with 10.5 sacks, Williams explained his reasoning.
"Our D-line is going to be so much better, without those two guys, which seems strange but Marvin Austin's a year better," Williams said. "Aleric Mullins is a year better. Cam Thomas dropped 15 pounds and looks like a pro athlete. Darius Powell he's a freak athlete. [Defensive line] coach [John] Blake tells us all the time [Powell] could be better than Hilee."