Yesterday, the football program finally got a piece of much needed good news on the recruiting front. Class of 2018 defensive tackle Brant Lawless was admitted to UNC, making him cleared to enroll and be immediately eligible to join the Tar Heels. Lawless was originally committed to play at the University of Tennessee, but asked for his release in July before ever stepping foot on their campus. Former Tennessee and new UNC linebacker coach Tommy Thigpen was his lead recruiter while at UT and graciously helped Lawless find a new landing spot.
The four-star recruit out of Nashville, TN posted 49 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks during his senior season. That was good enough to be named 2017 Tennessee Mr. Football Award in his high school classification. Lawless is listed between 6’1 and 6’3, but hovers right around 300 pounds giving him plenty of size to man the interior of the defensive line.
In 247Sports composite rankings (some magic formula that takes into account numerous scouting services), Lawless was the 22nd best DT in the nation and the 256th overall recruit. ESPN had him slightly as the 13th best DT and 168th overall recruit in their ESPN 300. All of that is to say, rankings aren’t standardized (which helps explain the difference in height measurements) but Lawless is considered a high-end defensive prospect.
It’s not a secret the Heels have missed out on numerous defensive line targets in the class of 2019. Nabbing a late addition like Lawless should help ease concerns of future bodies in the front seven. With plenty of depth on the defensive line this season, there is not an immediate need for Lawless to step in and contribute. In essence, though Lawless is a class of 2018 ecruit, he can be considered a 2019 recruit that won’t be factored into next season’s scholarship count.
If he were to take the field this season, it porbably would not be until late in the year in an attempt to get some game action without burning his redshirt. He hasn’t even stepped on the practice field, so a steep learning curve awaits. Fortunately, the new redshirt rule introduced this year allows players to see action in up four games and not have it count against future seasons. So Lawless could play four games and still maintain an additional four years of eligibility.
Regardless of the coaching staff’s plans for his development, his addition is a major boost to UNC’s future potential on defense.