Apopka, Florida already gave the Tar Heels a burgeoning Tar Heel legend in Joel Berry. Wednessday morning, the town provided a spark for the football program. Teammates William Barnes and Ed Montilus both committed to continue their athletic careers at North Carolina.
The committment of the duo is cause for celebration as the coaching staff continues to refortify the offensive line that was depleted by injuries last season and pending graduations in the offseason. Already receiving committments from 4-star Avery Jones in December and 3-star Joshua Ezeudu earlier today, the Tar Heel offensive front should be a drastically improved strength in the coming years.
Offensive Tackle, 6-4, 325, 4-Stars
Scout Ranking: 53rd overall, 5th at position
An ESPN300 recruit and a top-10 offensive tackle, Barnes is in position to develop as the future anchor of the UNC offense. Going into Florida and stealing such a talented player is cause for celebration and Larry Fedora’s staff deserves immense credit for landing the U.S. Army All-American’s services. At one point, Florida was thought to be stiff competition, but former coach Jim McElwain’s firing put that school at a disadvantage and UNC never waivered. That perseverance was rewarded with UNC’s highest ranked commit of this class.
Offensive Guard, 6-2, 288, 3-Stars
Scout Ranking: 563rd overall, 24th at position
Joining Barnes is his teammate, Ed Montilus. Throughout the recruiting process it was assumed that the two would be a package deal. UNC stayed hot on the trail of both, and were rewarded for their due diligence. A top-30 offensive guard, Montilus’ case isn’t like some signing duos where one lesser player is thrown a life raft to appease the other more talented player. Montilus would be a fantastic addition to any team, and almost any coach would take him - with or without Barnes. For this year’s recruiting class, he’s simply icing the proverbial cake.
One potential advantage to getting both players is the fact they both play on the line. Not only is that an area of need, but the offensive line’s success doesn’t just depend on talent. It also relies on communication, chemistry, and familiarity. The prospect of these two players already having an incrased comfort level with one another could bode well for the future.