by Jacob Swiger
Two of UNC's dynamic linebackers -- juniors Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter -- made the cut for the preseason Butkus Award watch list, UNC spokesman Kevin Best said in a release Saturday.
The award is annually presented to the nation's top linebacker -- which just so happens to be UNC's most talented position.
Carter, a New Bern, N.C., native, recorded 68 tackles, five sacks and an interception in 2008. He also led the nation with five blocked kicks, including three in a row against UConn.
Sturdivant ranked No. 1 in the nation with 87 solo tackles in 2008. The Oakboro, N.C., native single-handedly turned around the Notre Dame game when he returned an interception for a touchdown just after intermission and brought the Heels' defense back into the game after a dismal first half.
Carolina's other starter at linebacker -- sophomore Zach Brown -- did not make the list but completes a solid linebacker corps that should be the anchor for an experienced UNC defense. Brown's specialty is speed; he clocked a 4.28 40-yard dash during the offseason.
N.C. State's Nate Irving made the list, too, but will likely miss the entire season unless the Wolfpack makes a January bowl game.