North Carolina linebacker Quan Sturdivant, a first team All-ACC pick last season and solid NFL prospect for the 2011 NFL draft, was arrested Saturday for possession of marijuana.
His arrest alone could serve as a distraction to Butch Davis' Tar Heels, the trendy pick to win the ACC this season.
Even more ominous, however, is the report from the AP and ESPN's Joe Schad that the NCAA is investigating the North Carolina football program to "make sure no Reggie Bush stuff is going on."
The details of this developing story remain sketchy at this point, but what is very obvious is that agents and the prospect of their providing inappropriate benefits to players is the NCAA's concern.
It isn't difficult to understand why agents have been flocking to Chapel Hill.
As I mentioned in a previous article, this UNC defense is extremely talented. So talented, in fact, it is reminiscient of the 2008 USC squad that sent Brian Cushing, Clay Mathews, Jr., Rey Maualuga, and Kaluka Maiava (among others) to the NFL. That 2008 Trojan defense was the last unit to have so many senior prospects reportedly given such high preseason grades by NFL scouts.
For the Tar Heels, seniors Marvin Austin (DT), Bruce Carter (OLB) and Deunta Williams (FS) currently rank at the top of their respective positions on NFLDraftScout.com's most recent rankings of 2011 prospects. Fellow seniors Sturdivant and cornerbacks Kendrick Burney and Charles Brown are also viewed as potential mid-round values. And if the senior talent isn't enough, keep in mind that the most talented player on the defense might be junior defensive end Robert Quinn, a prospect that has earned already earned comparisons to former UNC star and 2002 No. 2 overall pick Julius Peppers.
Schad's article specifically mentions Austin, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 4 overall rated player for the 2011 draft, as having been questioned by the NCAA for, among other things, driving former UNC's star Kentwan Balmer's vehicle and occasionally staying in Balmer's apartment. Balmer was the San Francisco 49ers' first round pick in 2008.
Hopefully for all involved, the comparison to USC remains viable only in that, like those Trojans, these Tar Heels boast rare talent...