UNC Football Alumni

In 2011, surprise impact players have stopped remaining nameless

T.J. Yates, Houston, quarterback -- Granted, Yates has only played about six quarters so far as a rookie, so it's a stretch of sorts to include him on a list of surprise players who have been producing for far longer. But with both Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart gone for the season, Yates is the guy in Houston now and he's going to get all the playing time he can handle the rest of the season. So far, the fifth-round pick is handling it just fine. (Sports Illustrated)

ESPN3 to Carry National Football Foundation Events, Woody Durham to Receive Award

2011 NFF Major Award Winners: Robert M. Gates, the Gold Medal; Dr. Archie Roberts, Distinguished American Award; Verne Lundquist and Brent Musburger, co-recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award; Ted Ruta, Outstanding Football Official Award; and Woody Durham, Chris Schenkel Award. (Box Score News)

Video: Hakeem Nicks one-handed TD grab

Hakeem Nicks catches a TD pass one-handed from Eli Manning. (

Video: TJ Yates leads Texans to big win

Texans QB T.J. Yates talks about his confidence going into his first career start and leading the Texans to a big 17-10 win over the Falcons. (

Video: TJ Yates 50-yard pass to Andre Johnson

TJ Yates passes deep over the middle to Andre Johnson to the Atlanta 4-yard-line for 50 yards. (

Hakeem Nicks gets fist bump -- from Charles Woodson

After going into beast mode and making a ridiculous one-handed catch in the end zone for a touchdown, Hakeem Nicks received a fist bump -- from none-other than the cornerback he beat, Charles Woodson. “No, that’s never happened to me before,” said the 23-year-old wide receiver, who finished with seven catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns in the Giants’ heartbreaking 38-35 loss to the Packers on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. (

Why Not T.J. Yates?

A nice feature from Fox NFL Sunday on former UNC QB T.J. Yates as he prepared to make his first start for the Houston Texans. Yates was thrust into the starting role when Matt Schaub injured his foot and backup Matt Leinert broke his collarbone last week. Yates filled in for Leinert to close out a win over Jacksonville. This past Sunday vs the Falcons, Yates started and performed well going 12-25 for 188 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs as Houston won their sixth straight. (Tar Heel Fan)

T.J. Yates ready to put arm to good use for Texans

Though T.J. Yates’ numbers weren’t especially impressive on Sunday, he was poised, assertive and accurate – and he had more zip on his passes than most people outside of the Texans’ locker room anticipated. You’ll likely be seeing more of him in the coming weeks as Houston (9-3) closes in on its first-ever AFC South title and postseason appearance. (Yahoo! Sports)

Star-tossed Texans keep on truckin' with No. 3 QB

Logic said the Texans would be doomed in the playoffs with a rookie third-stringer at the quarterback position. Except they just beat the NFC's top playoff seed of 2010 with that rookie third-stringer, and they didn't do it by holding him back. Nope, T.J. Yates had to make plays, and he did -- with fans chanting, "T.J., T.J., T.J." after his first NFL touchdown pass. (CBS Sports)

Texans drop Falcons 17-10 in TJ Yates’ first start

Making his first NFL start because of injuries to Matt Schaub and backup quarterback Matt Leinart, Yates managed the game well, especially while executing the 19-play, 85-yard drive that took 10:41 off the clock before a crowd of 71,545. “With so long to go (in the season) and so much riding on it I think we need to ask (Yates) to grow up real fast," coach Gary Kubiak said. (Houston Chronicle)

Beating adversity is nothing new to rookie QB T.J. Yates

Growing up in suburban Atlanta, T.J. Yates dreamed of being a college basketball star. During his junior season at North Carolina, he was finally treated like one — but one from visiting Duke. At the first game he attended at the hallowed Dean Dome, he was booed. His face was flashed on the big screen, his voice — “I’m T.J. Yates, and I’m a Tar Heel” — boomed through the facility’s speakers, and jeers followed. Yates laughed. (Houston Chronicle)

T.J. Yates ready to step into starting NFL job, UNC history

It wasn't until Wednesday, three days after his NFL debut, that it hit T.J. Yates that his life was about to change. The media throng, at least 20 deep, waiting at his locker opened his eyes to that. That's how life goes for a starting quarterback in the NFL, though. Yates, the rookie quarterback for the Houston Texans, is about to step into the heat of an NFL playoff race and the history books. (Raleigh News & Observer)

T.J. Yates makes quick rise to Texans starter

At the same time, she and her husband, John, noticed his replacement, No. 13, trotting onto the field. It was their son, T.J. Yates, about to make his NFL debut. “We were stunned to the point we couldn’t speak,” Carol said. “I was thinking ‘He’s not ready. He hasn’t even warmed up.’ “It was the most surprising thing in my whole life, one of my top five moments of my life.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Lenox Rawlings: Yates makes a breakthrough

Finally, after 91 seasons, a North Carolina alumnus will start an NFL game at quarterback. Rookie T.J. Yates, Houston's fifth-round draft pick, will take the first snap against Atlanta on Sunday because backup-turned-starter Matt Leinhart broke his collarbone last weekend and No. 1 quarterback Matt Schaub injured a foot earlier. (Winston-Salem Journal)

T.J. Yates talks about whirlwind week

Here are excerpts of T.J. Yates’ press conference with the Atlanta media in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Falcons. The Texans’ rookie quarterback graduated from Pope High School in Marietta. Yates will start after injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Leinhart. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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