When the calendar turned to December 2018, the University of North Carolina had one commitment ranked in 247Sports’ top 50 for the state. Havelock WR Welton Spottsville headlined a group of guys who have largely been encouraged to look elsewhere to play in college, as has been discussed ad nauseum on this website.
As late as the first day of the Early Signing Period, only Khafre Brown represented his state’s flagship university in the top 15 of the rankings, checking in at #9.
With 247Sports’ reveal of their final rankings for the 2019 class, the Heels now look a lot more formidable just ahead of the last Signing Day of this cycle.
Quarterback Sam Howell, the crown jewel of the Early Signing Period haul, finished as the top recruit in-state per 247 (he’s still 2nd behind Tennessee commit Quavaris Crouch on the composite rankings).
Howell wasn’t alone in moving up. Tackle Triston Miller, who flipped from N.C. State on Early Signing Day, now ranks 7th in the state and is a 4-star, per 247. That movement alone was enough to send State fans into a tizzy about boycotting 247Sports. God bless ‘em.
The aforementioned Brown actually moved down a spot to 10th (largely to accommodate Miller), representing the first time the Heels have landed three of 247’s top-10 in-state recruits since 2013— when T.J. Logan, Naz Jones, and Des Lawrence ranked 5th, 9th, and 10th, respectively. Don’t go back and look at some of the misses in those years, it’ll just depress you.
Just outside the top 10, Emery Simmons collected his fourth star and finished 14th in the rankings. DT Wisdom Asaboro, who is projected to sign with UNC next week, also got his fourth star and is ranked 20th.
Other in-state commits of note:
- Spottsville: 35th (41st in the composite)
- Justin Olson: from unranked to 68th (53rd in the composite)
- Obi Egbuna: from unranked to 81st (87th in the composite)
With four four-star commits in-state, Mack Brown and company have already accomplished a feat that the previous regime never did. Of course, he has a way to go to catch the 2009 class, which finished 12th overall in the nation and boasted seven such players from the Tar Heel state— and 13 four-or-five star talents overall.
Given the turnaround Brown and staff have engineered in seven weeks on the job, the 2020 class will hopefully have a 2009 feel to it going forward. For now, thank goodness Brown and crew salvaged something out of this group.