CHAPEL HILL — Former Scotland standout Dominique Green is set to return to the starting lineup just in time for North Carolina’s biggest game of the season.
The eighth-ranked Tar Heels won’t have starting safety Sam Smiley when they take the field against No. 1 Clemson in the ACC Championship game Saturday after the school announced Thursday that the senior is out for the year with a torn left Achilles tendon.
Green, a 5-11, 190-pound junior, will get the start in Smiley’s absence.
According to the school, Smiley had surgery Wednesday to repair an injury suffered last weekend in the victory over North Carolina State. The senior from Jacksonville, Florida, was tied for fifth on the team with 48 tackles.
Green, a Laurinburg native, started all 13 games his freshman season at UNC and was listed atop the depth chart in nine of the 12 contests he appeared in during his sophomore campaign. He notched 59 tackles, three interceptions and five passes defended in 2013 and tallied 41 tackles, three fumble recoveries and two passes defended last season.
This year as a reserve, Green has recorded 25 tackles with a pair of pass breakups. He finished with a team-high eight tackles and a pass breakup in the Tar Heels’ 59-21 win over Miami on Nov. 14
The former Scot helped the Scotland football program win its first and only state championship in 2011 when he intercepted two passes in the 4A final against Porter Ridge. Green finished that season with 102 tackles and seven interceptions.
Green started his Scotland career as a wide receiver, but moved to the other side of the ball his final two seasons on campus. He excelled in his new position, earning all-conference honors his junior and seniors seasons while lining up in the Scots’ secondary.
North Carolina and Clemson will meet this weekend at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.