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UNC Football replaced Fedora’s “Freak Show” with Mack’s “Showtime” and gained a trio of commitments

This past weekend, Mack Brown replaced Fedora’s Freak Show with a little Showtime.

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

One of the major events for UNC football under Larry Fedora was his elite summer camp. Fedora’s Freak Show was a regular summer occurrence that would draw some of UNC’s most sought-after recruits for an evening of evaluations, competition, and fun. With the re-hiring of Mack Brown, one of the questions entering the summer centered around how new staff replace the previous staff's most notable summer staple.

As with everything in the second-coming of Mack, the transition was rather seamless, if not an improvement. This past Saturday, Brown’s staff executed their first “Showtime” camp, which drew recruits from the 2020, 2021, and 2022 classes. Approximately 50 recruits participated, including some of the staff’s top targets for 2020 and 2021.

Luke Maye’s younger brother and 2021 quarterback target Drake Maye stopped by, as did 5-star 2020 defensive end Desmond Evans. Evans is considered the #2 defensive end in the nation, while Maye currently sits at the #3 prospect in the state for his class. Needless to say, there was some heavy hitting talent in Chapel Hill over the weekend. Check out these videos from Tar Heel Illustrated.

These camps often motivate recruits to verbally commit while on campus. This weekend was no exception.

After the event, in-state recruit Jefferson Boaz announced his commitment to the Heels. He becomes the 16th commit for UNC and the seventh from the state of North Carolina for 2020. (For reference, just 10 of last year’s 24 recruits were from North Carolina). A 6’8 220-pound prospect, Boaz is currently rated as a 3-star athlete by 247 Sports – though these rakings are always fluid heading into senior seasons. The 247 Sports Composite ranking has him listed as the 38th best recruit in the state. He had recently picked up an offer from Virginia Tech and held offers from Louisville, Virginia and Colorado.

Boaz’s future position is anybody’s guess, but players his size *usually* end up in the trenches or tight end. At East Surry High School, he is currently the starting quarterback and has spent time at tight end and defensive end. That’ll sort itself out, but at a minimum it’s another indicator that Brown’s preference of collecting talent and figuring it out later will be a common theme at UNC while he’s the coach. It’s also a prudent direction as the staff assesses what they need to build Phil Longo’s offense and Jay Bateman’s defense.

Additionally, the class of 2021 got off to a rousing start with the commitment of 4-star safety Dontavius Nash. Standing at 6’1 and 170 pounds, Nash is currently ranked as the 15th best player in North Carolina according to 247 Sports. There’s still a long way to go for the class of 2021 and, as we often say here, recruiting is weird – but getting a verbal commitment from a top-tier in-state athlete is almost never a bad thing.

Nash plays his high school ball at Hunter Huss High School in Gastonia and will become the de facto lead recruiter until more players join him. 2021 is shaping up to be a deep class packed with both quantity and quality of high school prospects. Getting a top-tier recruit to commit 18 months before signing day could prove to be a major advantage in Mack’s attempt to reclaim UNC’s place atop the proverbial in-state recruiting mountain.

Finally, early Monday evening, Sean Martin became the second defensive end to commit to the Tar Heels for 2020. Martin took his official visit this past weekend (along with 4-star in-state defensive tackle Kedrick Bingley-Jones). The 6’6, 260-pound defensive end is ranked as the #1 player in West Virginia and adds some depth to a position of need. Martin also held offers from N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Duke, and West Virginia. He is the 17th commit for 2020 to UNC and currently gives them the #9 ranked class in the nation.

As with the previous Freakshow version, “Showtime” can be expected to evolve in the coming years, but overall it was an impressive first effort. High-end talent on campus, an opportunity to showcase the brand-new practice facilities, and a pair of commitments is a successful weekend for any football program. With approximately eight scholarships remaining (the exact number can vary due to rules regarding early enrollees), the staff will now look to solidify a few more verbal commitments over the summer and turn their attention to the 2021 class.

(Note: We waited until Tuesday to address this camp to ensure we included any Sunday or Monday commitments. Sometimes, if there is a commitment to be made, players wait a few days to announce their decision. Sean Martin’s Monday night announcement proved our staff to be geniuses.)