Gio Bernard's freshman season at North Carolina is over before it started.
Bernard, a highly-touted running back from Davie, Fla., tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in practice on Sunday. He will redshirt the 2010 season, the school announced today.
Bernard, 5-10 and 205 pounds, was expected to help a rushing attack that ranked 79th in the country last season and add a jolt of quickness to the offense.
Veteran running backs Ryan Houston and Shaun Draughn both return for the Heels. Depth is a potential concern with the absence of Bernard. Sophomore A.J. Blue is still recovering from a knee injury and Jamal Womble left the program in the offseason for academic reasons.
UNC won a recruiting coup over Notre Dame to land Bernard on signing day. Rivals.com ranked Bernard the 12th-best running back in the country.