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Former Tar Heel Hakeem Nicks emerging as a top NFL receiver

While fans in San Francisco have been celebrating “The Grab” that thrust Alex Smith and Vernon Davis to the national scene, there’s a pair of hands on the New York Giants making just as much news. No! Not Victor Cruz. Try Hakeem Nicks. The former North Carolina star came into the season as the Giants’ No. 1 receiver and nothing really has changed. (Salisbury Post)

Video: Hakeem Nicks TDs versus Green Bay

Footage of Hakeem Nicks' 66-yard touchdown catch and 37-yard Hail Mary TD in New York's playoff win versus Green Bay.

Hakeem Nicks’s Playoff Career Is Off to Some Start

Eli Manning has a Super Bowl ring, but his receivers have considerably less playoff experience: Until last week, none of his three main wide receivers had caught a postseason pass. But through two games, the Giants' passing game has been terrific, and while it was Victor Cruz who'd been getting the most buzz entering these playoffs, it's Hakeem Nicks who's stood out, thanks to big play after big play. (New York Magazine)

T.J. Yates throws three interceptions in Texans' playoff loss

After throwing his third interception of the afternoon, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates leaned over, rested his hands on his knees, and lowered his head. Then he trudged slowly off the field, met by a straight-faced coach Gary Kubiak. Texans running back Arian Foster, meanwhile, walked away from them and headed off for some alone time on the sideline. (Yahoo! Sports)

Eli Manning’s Hail Mary to Hakeem Nicks was turning point in Giants’ divisional win

It was the play that ended the first half of the Green Bay Packers-New York Giants playoff game at Lambeau Field on Sunday night, and it may have been the backbreaker that put the Giants in a position to know that they had what it took to beat the 15-1 Pack even in one of the most hostile away-game environments in the NFL. (Yahoo! Sports)

Yates struggles as Texans' magical season comes to an end

It's a shame T.J. Yates will be remembered for his performance in Baltimore. Yes, he made mistakes, three of them, in fact. Yes, all three were costly, as the first two interceptions led to points for the Ravens, while the other clinched Baltimore's 20-13 victory Sunday. (MASN)

Texans’ fate starts, ends with Yates

No, the main reason the Texans enter the game as 7½-point underdogs is their starting quarterback. In a round that features past Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning, the Texans are led by rookie T.J. Yates. (Houston Chronicle)

Former UNC assistant Joe Robinson hired by South Carolina

Shortly after the departure of John Butler, the Gamecocks have a new special teams coach. Former North Carolina assistant coach Joe Robinson was hired to fill one of the vacated positions on the South Carolina staff. “We are pleased to announce Joe Robinson as our special teams coach,” South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said in a release. (The Big Spur)

Giants' Hakeem Nicks cashed in on Falcons' defensive strategy

The Atlanta Falcons felt the best way to shut down the Giants passing game in last Sunday’s NFC wild card playoff game was assign two defensive backs to cover Victor Cruz and gamble that Hakeem Nicks wouldn’t have a big day. Boy, were they wrong. Nicks made their gamble backfire catching six Eli Manning passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns in his first ever playoff game. (The Trentonian)

Pagano familiar with Texans QB Yates from their time at UNC

Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano spent one season as the defensive coordinator at the University of North Carolina. After that 2007 season with the Tar Heels, Pagano has memories of one redshirt freshman quarterback he helped break in by calling blitz after blitz during offseason workouts. Four years later, on Sunday afternoon, Pagano could be bombarding T.J. Yates with blitzes again. (Baltimore Sun)

Tennessee Volunteers name Sam Pittman offensive line coach

Tennessee has filled one of the four vacancies on its football coaching staff. Former North Carolina assistant Sam Pittman will replace the departing Harry Hiestand as the Volunteers' offensive line coach, the school announced on Thursday night. Following five seasons as the Tar Heel's associate head coach and offensive line coach, the 50-year-old Pittman was not retained by new North Carolina coach Larry Fedora, who was hired last month. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Randy Jordan Coming Home

North Carolina head football coach Larry Fedora is leaning to a familiar face to Tar Heel fans to lead his running backs, as Randy Jordan is expected to be named UNC's final position coach hire for 2012. Jordan, native of Manson (N.C.), played at UNC from 1989 to 1992. He was one of the first recruits brought to Chapel Hill by Mack Brown, and he helped lead the Tar Heels back to the postseason in 1992. (Tar Heel Illustrated)

Randy Jordan Finalizes UNC's Coaching Staff

Former Texas A&M running backs coach and Tar Heel standout Randy Jordan has accepted the running backs coach position at North Carolina, according to multiple sources. Jordan started his NFL career with the L.A. Raiders in 1993 and joined the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. He scored the very first touchdown in Jacksonville’s history. (Inside Carolina)

Catching Up With: Woody Durham

For 40 years, Woody Durham spent hours preparing to call North Carolina football and basketball games on the radio, carefully hand-writing color-coded scoring charts that including everything from bits of history to lineups to obscure stats. So perhaps it’s not surprising that even in retirement, the former “Voice of the Tar Heels” still comes to games with a few notes in his pocket. (ESPN.com)

Mistakes don’t shake rookie quarterback T.J. Yates

Yates rebounded from an uneven first quarter to complete 11 of 20 passes with no interceptions for 159 yards and a score, and the rookie’s risk/reward potential was never more on display than on the third-quarter drive that gave the Texans breathing room after a tight first half. (Houston Chronicle)

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