North Carolina football has landed another elite athlete from the Tidewater region of Virginia. 2019 athlete, 4-star Cam’Ron Kelly will be transferring to UNC from Auburn University. He announced the news today via twitter.
Kelly is in a unique and unfortunate situation. Last week he announced his intention to transfer from Auburn, despite enrolling in classes this past January. Unspecified health considerations with his family back home in Virginia has necessitated a move to be closer to home.
Kelly, a 6’1, 205 pound cornerback, originally committed to Virginia Tech last June before backing off just six weeks later. He then committed to the Tigers in August, signed with them in December, and enrolled in classes in January. According to 247 Sports composite rankings, he entered Auburn as the #5 ranked player in the state of Virginia, and the #10 athlete in the nation.
UNC is among the closest Power 5 schools near the 757 area code, and has made that region a top priority under Mack Brown, with Tidewater legend Dre Bly leading the charge. North Carolina’s new Director of Recruiting, Billy High, also served in the same role at Auburn when Kelly committed. Sometimes recruiting success is simply about timing and relationships.
Due to injuries, graduations, and transfers the Tar Heels likely have an open scholarship. That probably worked in UNC’s favor. It’s safe to assume that the amount of teams in the immediate region that had both a need and available scholarship space for Kelly were a limited few.
Though technically a 2019 recruit, Kelly will likely classify as a transfer. He won’t lose a year of eligibility, but will likely require a waiver from the NCAA to play this upcoming season (if the coaching staff expects him to be ready in the fall). The NCAA has been more willing to grant such requests in recent years, so fans (and staff) should remain optimistic.
He also probably won’t be added to this year’s recruiting class rankings for UNC, which is unfortunate for one slightly comical reason. If Kelly was counted towards this class, UNC would move up three spots to 29th in the 247 Composite team rankings. That would be exactly one spot ahead of N.C. State and one spot behind Miami.
Expected to slot into a role in the secondary, UNC is a natural landing spot. The Heels have a sudden need in the defensive backfield after losing three players in the past few weeks. K.J. Sails announced his intent to transfer, C.J. Cotman retired due to medical concerns, and Corey Bell has moved to wide receiver. If allowed to play, Kelly would immediately help fill that void.