UNC is appealing to the NCAA for immediate eligibility for transfer WR Devontez Walker

Updated Aug. 8, 2023 3:32 p.m. ET

North Carolina coach Mack Brown said Tuesday the school is appealing to the NCAA for immediate eligibility for transfer Devontez Walker, the Tar Heels' presumed No. 1 receiver whose status is in question weeks before the opener.

The NCAA denied the waiver for Walker to play immediately after his transfer from Kent State, where he played two seasons. NCAA rules generally allow players to transfer freely once, but Brown said Walker had enrolled at UNC in January just days before the NCAA revised rules to limit waivers for two-time transfers for evaluation on a case-by-case basis.

“He's just down, he's wondering, he's anxious, and it's really, really hard to focus in practice,” Brown told reporters after Tuesday's practice in Chapel Hill. “And I feel tough for him.”

Walker is an instate product from Charlotte and had transferred to be closer to family, notably an ailing grandmother who had played a large role in raising him but has been unable to travel out of state to see him play.


UNC opens the season in Walker's hometown against South Carolina on Sept. 2.

“I want this to be over,” Walker said in a statement released by the school. “I want to stop feeling like this. I just want to play. I want my grandmother to come watch me. I want to be a student and an athlete and I hope those in charge give me that opportunity.”

Walker was originally set to play at East Tennessee State before suffering a knee injury that led him to defer enrollment. Instead, he recovered and landed at North Carolina Central, but the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the fall 2020 season at the Championship Subdivision level. Then the team opted out of the limited spring 2021 slate.

Walker's two years at Kent State represent the only years he has played college football. He finished with 58 catches for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns last year as an all-Mid-American Conference performer.


AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll