UNC football targets 3 rookies to return before first day of signing
Could UNC football add even more players to the nation’s No.8 overall recruiting class?
Even though Division I college football’s early signing period is only eight days away, recent coaching changes across the ACC have given coach Mack Brown and his team an outside chance to do exactly that. that.
Five-star defensive lineman Travis Shaw, five-star offensive tackle Zach Rice and nine four-star rookies lead a 16-man class of 2022 that, if results hold up, would give Brown his best class since returning to UNC as well as l ‘one of the best in school history, by 247Sports’ Composite recruitment rankings by team.
As these players prepare to sign binding national letters of intent next week, here’s a look at three other 2022 rookies – all of whom are verbally engaged in other programs – that the UNC may yet land.
Note: The Tar Heels have already lost a lingering target, as Virginia four-star tight end Benji Gosnell verbally engaged at Virginia Tech and newly hired coach Brent Pry on Saturday afternoon.
Gosnel, a dynamic athlete who played his first three seasons in the state at Pilot Mountain’s East Surry High School, was pursued by the Hokies and Tar Heels after disengaging from Ohio State in July.
Four-star IOL Gunner Givens
High school: Lord Botetourt High School (Daleville, Virginia)
Rankings: # 7 in Virginia, # 12 in position, # 178 overall (247Composite sport)
The lean: Givens has included UNC among its six finalists before commit to Virginia Tech in July. After the Hokies sacked Justin Fuente in November, he began to re-evaluate his options. This process included an unofficial visit by Givens to Chapel Hill and take in Home win for UNC on November 20 against Wofford.
The Tar Heels generated a lot of interest during the December contact period by sending Brown to meet Givens and his high school coaches at Lord Botetourt Last week. At 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds, Givens is an intriguing âgiant athleteâ who could play as an offensive or defensive lineman at the college level.
UNC’s main competitor here is naturally Virginia Tech, which hiring former Penn State Pry defensive coordinator to replace Fuente last week. Leverage promised fans that his staff will “work hard” to revamp the Hokies’ recruiting efforts in the state, and he’s already kept that promise with Gosnell.
ATH three stars Will Hardy
High school: Greater Atlanta Christian School (Norcross, GA)
Rankings: # 84 in Georgia, # 59 in position, # 821 overall (247Composite sport)
The lean: Hardy has been verbally engaged with Virginia since April, but the UNC has kept in touch through the summer and Free him a scholarship in August. Communication continued throughout the fall, but Hardy’s official visit to UVa in November. solidified its commitment to the Cavaliers, Wahoos247 reported.
But Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall unexpected resignation the past week has made a difference for Hardy. The Cavaliers had not hired a new coach on Tuesday, and InsideCarolina reported on Monday that Hardy, who was “shocked“by the departure of Mendenhall after six seasons, is now”seeks to officially visit the UNC. “
Hardy is a 6-2, 190-pound athlete whose statistics confined to the absurd this fall. Playing primarily as a wide receiver and safety, Hardy caught 40 passes for 707 yards and seven offensive touchdowns; recorded 133 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, eight interceptions, three blocked goals, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovered in defense; and amassed 1,129 all-purpose yards in 11 games.
Three stars WR Wesley Grimes
High school: Millbrook High School (Raleigh)
Rankings: No.18 in North Carolina, No.115 in position, No.774 overall (247Composite sport)
The lean: The extension of Wake Forest’s long-term contract with coach Dave Clawson ensured that Grimes and the rest of the 2022 Demon Deacons class wouldn’t get caught in this year’s carousel. Grimes has been committed to ACC Atlantic Division champion Demon Deacons since early September.
Grimes’ excellent play as a senior, however, caught the attention of Power Five more. The former NC State finalist kept in touch and Notre Dame proposed him in October. After netting 2022 four-star wide receiver Andre Greene Jr., UNC also jumped into the mix with a scholarship offer on November 29.
The 6-2 receiver is rock solid in his Wake Forest commitment by all indications, but he remains a name to watch out for throughout the first signing period. When you catch 87 passes for 1,594 yards and 26 touchdowns in 13 games in the state’s highest ranking, the other Power Five tend to notice it.
But now the Tar Heels and other programs are waiting to see if the departure of longtime Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, featured as Oklahoma’s new coach on Monday, has an impact on the decisions of Covil, Everette and Lukus. All three have been verbally committed since the summer.
Covil, a four-star security who plays in Virginia’s 757 area, had UNC as one of his the four best schools before committing to Clemson in June. Four-star cornerbacks Lukus and Everette – the nation’s 35 and 36 overall rookies respectively – both made official UNC tours and had the Tar Heels among their finalists before committing to Clemson in July (this last after one much discussed tampering with a UNC hat at the pump).
Considering Clemson’s national pedigree, any program toppling one of those three defensive backs before the first signing period seems like a long way (unless the Venables Sooners jump into the mix). For what it’s worth, Covil and Everette both had interestingTwitterreactions departing from Venables this weekend.