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September 13, 2010University of North Carolina senior tailback Shaun Draughn has been cleared to play and will make his 2010 debut Saturday against Georgia Tech.
A native of Tarboro (N.C.), Draughn was held out of the LSU game while the University worked with the NCAA to determine his eligibility status.
"He (Draughn) has been cleared and will be able to join the team this week as an active participant," said UNC head coach Butch Davis Monday morning.
"He's an explosive runner. He's one of the leaders on this offense on this team, so having him back is going to give everyone a little more excitement and a morale boost," said senior quarterback T.J. Yates of Draughn.
While Draughn's role in practice has been somewhat limited in recent weeks, the Tar Heel coaches are going to work this week on getting him back up speed.
"As far as Shaun's role, we're going to try to get him back into the flow of things," said Davis. "There's been a period of time the last couple of weeks where because of the question of if and would he'd be available, some of his roles during practice have been significantly minimized."
"I'm excited to see him run, because he's been practicing hard and I know he's been itching to get out there," said Yates of Draughn.
News of Draughn's release was revealed to the media Monday morning, and linebacker Bruce Carter was actually made aware of Draughn's eligibility by reporters interviewing him.
"I just found that out (about Draughn being eligible)," said Carter. "I think that's going to be good for him. It just adds another threat to our offense."
"Shaun's a great back. He's going to have a lot of energy just to get to that first step, so I think Shaun's going to do a great job for us. I know he's ready to play," he added.
"It's just a huge weight lift off his shoulders, not just for him but our team, his family. That's just a huge weight lifted off his shoulders," Carter continued.
While some may characterize Draughn's having to miss the LSU game as unfair now that's been completely cleared of any wrongdoing, Carter said it's important that the players not dwell on it.
"You've just got to go with the punches. You've got to wait around and just when your time comes, just go out there and perform," he said.
While the UNC players and coaches are hoping for more good news in the coming days, getting back the team's starting running back and a senior leader is certainly a good start.