“It’s an exciting day to be a Tar Heel,” said head coach Butch Davis. “I’m thrilled for the guys who were selected and I’m hopeful a few others will get an opportunity as a free agents. I think several of our players, like T.J. , Johnny and Ryan, benefitted from playing in our pro-style offense. It should make their transition to the NFL that much easier. Our assistant coaches and our program did a great job preparing our players for the next level.”
Searcy (5-foot-10, 218 pounds) accumulated 37 tackles, two tackles for loss, four interceptions and four pass breakups in 10 games in 2010.
"It’s just a whole bunch of excitement right now," Searcy said. "I’m so glad to be part of the organization. I’m eager to get in and get ready and just basically get going."
The Decatur, Ga. native also served as UNC’s primary return man over the past two years, averaging 12.2 yards per punt return and 24.3 yards per kickoff return on 54 total opportunities.
"Da’Norris Searcy is a strong safety," Bills head scout Darrell Moody said. "He could play free safety if he had to and he’s played nickel for them. He’s also returned for them as an emergency returner. He gives you a lot of versatility and he gives you some size. He’s a good athlete that can also be a good (special) teams player for you."
Searcy, a two-year starter at strong safety; sat out the first three games of 2010 while UNC officials worked with the NCAA to determine his eligibility.
White (5-foot-10, 210 pounds) earned All-ACC honorable mention honors in 2010 despite missing the last four games of the season with a fractured right clavicle (collar bone).
"Me and Searcy are real great friends, not just with football," White said. "Off the field he’s one of my best friends from the team. I’m just happy to have somebody I’m familiar with up there in a new town and just ready to get to work."
The Asheville, N.C. native posted 720 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 130 carries in 2010 to go along with 288 passing yards on 24 receptions.
White started at running back in his first game at North Carolina against James Madison in 2007, but eventually spent time at cornerback and wide receiver before returning to the offensive backfield as insurance after Shaun Draughn injured his shoulder against Duke in 2009.
After struggling during his junior campaign in 2009, Yates turned in arguably the top quarterback performance in UNC school history as a senior in 2010, completing 282 of his 422 passes for 3,418 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Those statistics earned the Marietta, Ga. native All-ACC honorable-mention honors and helped him finish his career with 37 school records.
“It feels amazing," Yates said. "I can’t wait to get there. When we were going through this past offseason in Carolina, we watched a ton of Texans film from a few years ago because we were running a lot of the same offensive schemes and stuff. Our offenses are extremely similar. It’s fun to watch that stuff on film and see yourself as well as what (Texans QB) Matt Schaub does on the field. I feel like I’m pretty prepared going into this offense.”
Yates (6-foot-3, 219 pounds) holds every school record for pass completions and yards (single-game, single-season and career) as well as the school record for career pass attempts. He also boasts the highest completion percentage in school history and is the only UNC quarterback to throw for 400 yards in three different games.
"Very productive career, very calm in the pocket, we like what we did in college,” Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said. "He did a great job (his senior year), particularly in the situations when he moved the team down. The last game he had, the two minute drill, he did a great job, he was very calm. He took some hits in the previous year when he had some young guys playing in front of him. So, that’s one of the things, to be mentally tough particularly at that spot.”
Sturdivant (6-foot, 239 pounds) totaled 61 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in 2010, as well as setting up Casey Barth’s game-winning field goal in the Music City Bowl with an overtime interception of Tennessee’s Tyler Bray. The Oakboro, N.C. native earned first-team All-ACC honors in 2009 to become the first Tar Heel linebacker since Kivuusama Mays in 1997 to accomplish that feat. He also led the nation with 87 unassisted tackles as a sophomore in 2008.
“To get a player of his talent where we got him, which is also a need for us, that’s one of those things that you really get excited about in the draft,” Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “A lot of times we’ve had success with players later in the draft. We’re certainly hopeful this will be another one of those.”
Sturdivant missed five games in 2010 due to a hamstring injury suffered at Rutgers in the third game of the year.
Taylor (6-foot-3, 254 pounds) emerged as a key cog for offensive coordinator John Shoop’s offense in 2010 at H-back, setting UNC’s single-season school record for most receptions by a tight end with 36. The Winston-Salem, N.C. native also posted 330 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Taylor played a critical role on various North Carolina special teams and served as a special teams captain in 2008 and 2010.
Taylor sat out the 2009 season after injuring his knee during training camp.