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Defensive Linemen Coming and Going

Pardon this interruption of all things basketball.

Some recruiting news via ACC Now.

Five star rated DT Delvon Simmons has decided he wants to be released from the LOI he signed in February and pursue his college football career elsewhere. Meanwhile, DT Brandon Willis who went to Tennessee left when Lane Kiffin left, came to UNC enrolled in classes then left to go to UCLA is now looking to come back to UNC.

First of all, Simmons was a signing day commitment and quite a steal considering he never made an official visit. At the time Simmons cited a  relationship with John Shoop(who is assigned to Simmon's home state of PA for recruiting) and was looking forward to getting to know now departed defensive line coach Brian Baker. Apparently all that changed when Baker departed after signing day for a similar job with the Dallas Cowboys. According to ACC Now, Simmons asked for his release over three weeks ago which would have coincided with Baker's departure. Obviously Baker was a big part of the equation for Simmons which makes sense if you are a top prospect with an eye on an NFL career. I imagine Butch Davis has held off on the release in an effort to convince Simmons to stay with the program. Ultimately I think UNC will and should grant Simmons his release. Contrary to what is being said by ABCers, UNC did not "rent" Baker for a month to get Simmons. As this turn of events illustrates, doing so would have been a stupid idea.

The story on Willis is he originally went to UCLA because his father got a job in California. Because he enrolled at UNC and took classes he was on the hook to sit out a year since he was a transfer. Now Willis' grandmother, who lives in Burlington, NC, is sick necessitating the move back to UNC. Willis will be applying to the NCAA for a waiver so he can play right away and not be forced to sit another year.

Losing Simmons would have been a massive blow to the recruiting class. However if Willis can come in, play right away, it might work out better for UNC. Willis has already been in college for a year at UCLA working in the weight room and getting ready to play. If he is available it will help UNC in an area that returns some formidable talent.

We now return to basketball mode.