Jordan Brand jerseys highlight Meet the Heels

Jordan Brand jerseys highlight Meet the Heels

photos by Brooke Stewart

On Saturday, the North Carolina football team gathered on Franklin Street to host the annual “Meet the Heels” event, where fans gathered autographs and met players — and caught their first glimpse of UNC’s Jordan Brand football uniforms for 2017.

Here are three things to know from this year’s event (with pictures galore!).

“Fan base like no other”

 Head coach Larry Fedora holds a young UNC fan at the "Meet the Heels" event on Saturday.

Head coach Larry Fedora holds a young UNC fan at the "Meet the Heels" event on Saturday.

The Plaza on Franklin Street quickly filled Saturday with Tar Heel fans, traveling from throughout North Carolina and even other states. Despite the humid weather, UNC fans still gathered in their Carolina blue hats, shirts and even Jordan Brand replica jerseys, which were released for sale early Saturday.

At the beginning of the event, athletic director Bubba Cunningham took the stage and said UNC fans made up a “fan base like no other.” Saturday’s outpouring certainly supported Cunningham’s claim.

Meeting the Tar Heels

 Junior linebacker Andre Smith (10) signs a UNC football poster Saturday at the "Meet the Heels" event.

Junior linebacker Andre Smith (10) signs a UNC football poster Saturday at the "Meet the Heels" event.

Tar Heel fans lined up for autographs from football players and received “Origin of Flight" North Carolina football posters for the wait. But there was more to the annual event than just autographs.

 Sophomore quarterback Nathan Elliott poses with two young fans at "Meet the Heels" on Saturday.

Sophomore quarterback Nathan Elliott poses with two young fans at "Meet the Heels" on Saturday.

Between signings, the players took time to talk to and interact with fans — asking their name, complimenting their Carolina attire and making them laugh. For a roster with much turnover from last season, it was a good opportunity for fans to meet this year’s cast of characters.

"Badge of honor"

Most notably, fans were treated to the unveiling of the Jordan Brand uniforms.

 Tar Heel fans were treated to a first look Saturday at the Tar Heels' new Jordan Brand uniforms.

Tar Heel fans were treated to a first look Saturday at the Tar Heels' new Jordan Brand uniforms.

Prior to meeting the football team, several fans crowded the stage waiting for the doors to open to see a glimpse of the new Jordan Brand uniforms, which were first teased five months ago at halftime of the UNC men’s basketball game against Duke on March 4.

“Wearing Jordan Brand on your chest is like wearing a badge of honor,” head coach Larry Fedora said on stage. “It’s a sign of greatness.”

After Fedora spoke, he and Cunningham opened double doors to reveal the new-look uniforms to a roar of approval from fans. Behind the doors stood several different mannequins donning Jordan Brand uniforms, practice wear, footwear and more.

 UNC's new Jordan Brand jerseys are on full display at Saturday's "Meet the Heels" event.

UNC's new Jordan Brand jerseys are on full display at Saturday's "Meet the Heels" event.

They also showed off UNC's new practice helmets, which prominently feature Michael Jordan's signature "Jumpman" logo.

 North Carolina's practice helmets have the signature "Jumpman" logo on the side.

North Carolina's practice helmets have the signature "Jumpman" logo on the side.

The Tar Heels have already flashed the Jumpman logo on practice attire this offseason. They’ll wear the Jordan Brand game jerseys for the first time Sept. 2 against California.

@brookestew_