Football excitement is back in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Mack Brown, Tim Brewster, Dre Bly, Lonnie Galloway, and the rest of the new Carolina football staff hit an absolute grand slam in closing out the 2019 recruiting class. Based on the odds of such an event taking place two months ago, UNC fans should be absolutely ecstatic with the results.
Let’s take a peek into some of the themes.
The Heels added five guys to the 19 they signed in December today— and four weren’t even remotely on the radar under the previous regime.
JuCo D-lineman Raymond Vohasek, who found out Larry Fedora was fired when leaving his UNC official visit, waited it out, came back to Chapel Hill, and inked with the good guys on Signing Day. At 6-4/255, his size makes his position on Jay Bateman’s new hybrid 3-4 defense tough to project, but he has the body type to be an end, strongside LB, or beef up and play as a rush tackle. He’ll see the field in 2019.
The headliners for the February group are definitely VA LB Eugene Asante and NC DL Wisdom Asaboro— both late-bloomer 4* recruits per 247Sports. Asante was a Virginia Tech lock until his official visit to Chapel Hill last weekend, and the 8th-ranked player in Virginia chose the Heels over other late suitors, including Florida State and his brother’s alma mater, Nebraska.
Asaboro, hailing from Nigeria, reclassified to the 2019 class late in the cycle, and probably has the highest upside of anyone in the class. He is almost unfairly quick for a man standing 6-8/280, and could project to either line at the next level. He is still new to football, but his film shows great hands and incredible athleticism (he played some running back in high school). If he develops, he looks like a Calais Campbell-type.
The Heels went to Georgia to flip 3-star OL Ty Murray from Louisville, and got rangy DB Don Chapman from San Diego, CA, of all places. Murray projects as an interior OL at the next level, and given Brown’s stated intent to find a center, one would think he’ll start there.
Chapman stands 6-2/185, and has told interviewers that he’s going to start out as a corner. With his size, it is reasonable to project him as a safety or weakside LB long-term, but his versatility adds to a nice mix of ‘get them on campus, and figure it out’ DB’s with December signees Khadry Jackson and Gio Biggers.
Carolina dipped into the commitment pools of four conference rivals, building the class by flipping four new Tar Heels from other schools in the ACC.
- 4* QB Sam Howell, from Florida State to UNC;
- 4* OT Triston Miller, from N.C. State to UNC;
- 3* S/LB Khadry Jackson, from Pitt to UNC;
- 3* OL Ty Murray, from Louisville to UNC.
In addition to that, some of the guys not on the board for the Heels in November were stolen under the nose of recruiting rivals:
- 4* Emery Simmons, previously a UNC commit, flipped back to the Heels from Penn State in December. Penn State is a nuisance in Virginia, where the Heels are re-establishing a foothold (more on that later);
- 4* LB Eugene Asante was a stone-cold Virginia Tech lock, and is the high-upside player-to-be-named-later in the Dax Hollifield recruitment fiasco from last year;
- Wisdom Asaboro seemed to be Virginia-bound before Carolina’s late push;
- 3* DL Tomari Fox spurned hometown Georgia Tech to play with his brother, Tomon;
- 4* WR Khafre Brown was considered a Tennessee lock at one point;
- 3* OL Wyatt Tunall, who enrolled in December, flipped his commitment from Appalachian State, but South Carolina was hot and heavy trying to do what Brown & staff accomplished.
So...yeah, you get the point. Carolina signed players who, at one point or another, were committed or leaning to half of the rest of the ACC, pulled two guys from border SEC programs (three if you count 4* DT Brett Lawless, a former Tennessee commit who sat out the 2018 season), and served notice that the Heels are again going to be a force.
Recovering In-State, and in Areas That Have Historically Served the Heels Well
When Brown was hired, 3* WR Welton Spottsville was the ONLY top-50 North Carolina prospect on the UNC commitment list.
Today, the Heels have five of the top 15: #1 Sam Howell, #7 Triston Miller, #11 Khafre Brown, #14 Wisdom Asaboro, and #15 Emery Simmons.
Brown made his money in his first stint at UNC in-state first, and in the Virginia Tidewater second. Dre Bly, Lawrence Taylor, and Ronald Curry are among the Virginia standouts who have starred in Chapel Hill. With the late signing of Eugene Asante, the Heels have broken back into the Virginia top-10, and have established a foothold that, well...
Strong Start to 2020
As currently constituted, the four guys committed to Carolina for next Signing Day rank as the 16th-best group in the country, per 247.
4* and top-10 in-state Virginia linebacker Ethan West had offers from everyone— Michigan, LSU, Ohio State, you name it— and committed to the Heels last Saturday. 4* Charlotte safety Cameron Roseman-Sinclair was considered a heavy Virginia Tech lean before committing to the Heels in December.
Running back Elijah Burris is a top 20-25 player in the state for 2020, and OG Malik McGowan should be as well— some prognosticators have said he’ll be a borderline 3/4* when his ranking is submitted.
With Dre Bly heavy on Charlotte-area guys he coached in 7-on-7’s, as well as a couple of 4* Tidewater DB’s, there’ll be some serious star power in next year’s class. Oh, and the Heels still have Tommy Thigpen, Tim Cross, Tim Brewster, and Lonnie Galloway out making inroads, as well.
Your 2019 UNC Freshman Class
With their current national/positional ranking (per 247 composite), early enrollees in italics:
- QB Sam Howell, 6-0/225, Monroe, NC: 4*, #93 overall, #3 dual-threat QB
- WR Khafre Brown, 6-0/176, Charlotte, NC: 4*, #213 overall, #31 WR
- LB Eugene Asante, 6-1/212, Chantilly, VA: 4*, #289 overall, #17 OLB
- OT Triston Miller, 6-6/275, Charlotte, NC: 4*, #351 overall, #30 OT
- DT Wisdom Asaboro, 6-8/280, Matthews, NC: 3*, #505 overall, #36 DT
- WR Emery Simmons, 6-1/185, Hope Mills, NC: 3*, #535 overall, #64 WR
- RB Josh Henderson, 6-0/205, Princeton, NJ: 3*, #593 overall, #39 RB
- S Giovanni Biggers, 6-1/180, Baltimore, MD: 3*, #707 overall, #54 S
- DB Don Chapman, 6-2/185, San Diego, CA: 3*, #772 overall, #60 S
- OG Ty Murray, 6-4/300, Carrollton, GA: 3*, #831 overall, #46 G
- S/LB Khadry Jackson, 6-2/190, Windermere, FL: 3*, #863 overall, #68 S
- WR Welton Spottsville, 6-0/195, Havelock, NC: 3*, #872 overall, #106 WR
- OT Asim Richards, 6-5/285, Haverford, PA: 3*, #907 overall, #75 OT
- SSDE Tomari Fox, 6-3/250, Suwanee, GA: 3*, #994 overall, #66 SDE
- TE Kamari Morales, 6-3/232. Tallahassee, FL: 3*, #46 TE
- SSDE Kevin Hester, 6-6/230, Kennesaw, GA: 3*, #78 SDE
- CB Storm Duck, 6-1/180, Boiling Springs, SC: 3*, #116 CB
- OT Wyatt Tunall, 6-5/270, Chester, SC: 3*, #99 OT
- DE Raymond Vohasek, 6-4/255, Glen Ellyn, IL: 3*, #10 JUCO DE
- DE Kristian Varner, 6-4/240, Hiram, GA: 3*, #89 SDE
- WR Justin Olson, 6-2/182, Huntersville, NC: 3*, #183 WR
- CB Obi Egbuna, 5-10/170, Charlotte, NC: 3*, #184 CB
- P Ben Kiernan, 6-0/205, Raleigh, NC: 2*, #14 punter
- LS Drew Little, 5-11/230, New London, NC: 2*, #9 long-snapper