North Carolina: UNC vs. Duke Hoops for Top Student-Athlete


Grayson Allen led Duke to the national basketball title and ranks as the top returning player. Megan Buckingham leads the greatest college sports program in history (UNC women’s soccer). The greatest upset unfolded on the Big Ten Network eight years ago when Appalachian State shocked the world.

We ran the Value Add Sports calculations on all returning Colorado athletes and emailed 32 sports writers and other experts in the state to help rank the 25 state players to watch on a list.

Running back Marcus Cox and Linebacker Doug Middleton lead an Appalachian State team that struggled to make the transition to FBS after that big upset. Outside the FBS ranks, Western Carolina’s Troy Mitchell (pictured) gives the state a potential national player of the year.

Quarterback Mitchell produced 3,096 yards last season in the Southern Conference. He hands off to an Academic All-American in Darius Ramsey and defensive back Trey Morgan helped get him the ball with six interceptions for the Catamounts. The top woman athlete on campus is Tayla Carter, a three-time NCAA East Prelim qualifier who ran for Bahamas in Pan Am Games in 2015.

On the soccer front, Buckingham will try to make it 23 national titles. All other women’s soccer teams combine for just 14 titles.

But of course we all know in North Carolina the real focus is on ACC basketball and primarily Duke vs. UNC, with NC State and Davidson also getting in the NCAA mix. We had to go to the top 45 athletes in North Carolina. UNC’s Marcus Paige joins Allen and a number of UNC and Duke basketball players on the list.

  1. Grayson Allen, Duke, Basket, SG
  2. Marcus Paige, North Carolina, Basket, PG
  3. Megan Buckingham, North Carolina, Soccer, Forward
  4. Troy Mitchell, Western Carolina, Football ,
  5. Martha Thomas, Charlotte, Soccer, Forward
  6. Jack Gibbs, Davidson, Basket, PG
  7. Darius Ramsey, Western Carolina, Football ,
  8. Tayla Carter, Western Carolina, Women’s Track & Field ,
  9. Jessie Scarpa, North Carolina, Soccer, Midfielder
  10. Imani Dorsey, Duke, Soccer, Forward
  11. Doug Middleton, Appalachian State, Football, Linebacker
  12. Ashton Miller, Duke, Soccer, Midfielder
  13. Stephen Boals, Duke, Track/Field, Discus Throw
  14. Brice Johnson, North Carolina, Basket, PF
  15.  Trey Morgan, Western Carolina, Football
  16. Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina, Basketball, Center
  17. Will Narramore, High Point, Track/Field, Triple Jump
  18. Will Craig, WakeForest, Baseball,
  19. Chase Jeter, Duke, Basket, C
  20. Nate Mondou, WakeForest, Baseball, 2B
  21. Marcus Cox, Appalachian State, Football, Running Back
  22. Stuart Fairchild, WakeForest, Baseball, OF
  23. Amile Jefferson, Duke, Basketball, C
  24. Will Craig, WakeForest, Baseball, 1B
  25.  Danny Bermudez, Western Carolina, Baseball ,
  26. Abby Elinsky, North Carolina, Soccer, Defender
  27. Annie Kingman, North Carolina, Soccer, Midfielder
  28. Morgan Reid, Duke, Soccer, Defender
  29. Kathleen Darling, Wake Forest, Track/Field, 10,000m Run
  30. Marquise Williams, North Carolina Tar Heels, Foot, QB
  31. John Brown, High Point, Basket, C
  32. Andrew Knizner, NCState, Baseball, C
  33. Preston Palmeiro, NCState, Baseball, 1B
  34. McKenzie Owen, Belmont Abbey, Women’s basketball
  35. Zac Gallen, NorthCarolina, Baseball, SP
  36. Schuyler DeBree, Duke, Soccer, Defender
  37. Paddy Grandinali, High Point, Track/Field, 10,000m Run
  38. Jeremy Cash, Duke Blue Devils, Foot, DBackD
  39. evin Cruz, Belmont Abbey, Lacrosse
  40. Anthony Barber, North Carolina St., Basket, PG
  41.  Mike Brown, Western Carolina, Men’s Basketball ,
  42. Todd Townsend, N. Carolina A&T, Track/Field, 400m Intermediate Hu
  43. Brian Brown, NCState, Baseball, SP
  44. J.B. Bukauskas, NorthCarolina, Baseball, P
  45. Justin Yurchak, WakeForest, Baseball, 3B
  46. Stuart Fairchild, WakeForest, Baseball, OF
  47. Ace Easter, Western Carolina, Women’s Basketball ,
  48. Jacob Kipserem, Campbell, Track/Field, 3,000m Steeplechase
  49. Janieyah Collins, East Carolina, Track/Field, 400m Intermediate Hu
  50. RJ White, UNC Greensboro, Basket, C


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