There’s no hiding that it’s been a difficult recruiting cycle so far for Larry Fedora and his UNC coaching staff. Coming off a 3-9 season, it’s been hard to get local elite talent excited about being Tar Heels, and the staff has missed on several of their highest-priority targets thus far. There’s plenty of time left until Signing Day, and a good start to the season would do wonders, but right now, it’s clear that UNC is working at a disadvantage with elite talent, particularly in the Carolinas, as players such as CJ Clark, Sam Howell, and Savion Jackson have spurned UNC despite the staff’s best efforts.
So then where do you go to try and give this class a boost? The great football state of New Jersey, of course! Well, at least that’s what Fedora did, and in return he received a commitment just before the Freak Show started from running back Josh Henderson, one of the best players in his state and a top-20 back in the country. 247 is much lower on Henderson than everybody else (their composite ranking has him as the 22nd back, while their own ranking has him 58th), which should be fixed after the next update, so he’s only listed as a high 3-star in the 247Sports Composite. On Rivals, however, he’s a firm four-star recruit, the 12th-best player at his position and a top-300 player in the country. Make no mistake, this is a huge deal. Here’s his announcement:
Its been a long journey and an absolute blessing. I am so grateful for all the opportunities each coach has blessed me with. I am extremely excited to announce that I have verbally COMMITTED to The University of North Carolina! ❄️ pic.twitter.com/mJppAfrora— Henderson2️⃣3️⃣ (@JoshHendy23) June 14, 2018
Henderson has been sitting on a UNC offer since February, and while he showed interest in the Heels from early on, it seemed that he wanted to wait for his offer list to grow before committing. He received an impressive 21 offers, mostly from P5 schools, but in the end, the allure of North Carolina drew him to the Southern Part of Heaven. He’ll join an extremely deep running back room his freshman year, with Michael Carter, Jordon Brown, Antonio Williams, Javonte Williams, and Antwuan Branch, which is an excellent situation for him to get comfortable with the offense.
In terms of play-style, Henderson, listed at 6 feet even and 200 pounds, is a do-everything kind of runner who’s going to make his money with vision and agility, showing great ability to cut back and bounce runs outside when the initial hole is stuffed. He has power, speed, and quickness, and while none of those attributes are elite, they’re all at least above average, even for an ACC player. He also lines up at receiver at times for his high school and shows good route running and safe hands. It’s hard to really evaluate him further based on tape because his competition was so bad, but he dominated them statistically as you’d expect an elite prospect to do: In his junior year, he ran for 1,395 yards and 13 touchdowns at an astonishing 11.9 yards-per-carry clip. Check out the tape here.
Larry Fedora has had no problem thus far in his UNC tenure building explosive offenses through his recruiting. Hopefully, this signing will signal a return back to form for him. Welcome to the Hill, Josh!