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UNC Football Recruiting: Tar Heels land another highly-touted QB in Jacolby Criswell

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We wanted either Malik Hornsby or Jacolby Criswell. Right now, both are Tar Heels.

NCAA Football: ACC Football Championship Game-Clemson vs North Carolina Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

We were treated to a pleasant surprise on Monday, as Morrilton, AR quarterback Jacolby Criswell decided to end his recruitment in favor of North Carolina. Before committing around noon, he started Monday morning with this not-so-cryptic tweet:

Criswell, an Elite 11 quarterback camp finalist, is ranked a four-star, the nation’s 9th-best dual-threat QB, and #291 overall by 247Sports, and just a touch behind that on their composite rankings list. He had confirmed offers, per 247, from Georgia, Miami, Arkansas, N.C. State, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State, among others.

At 6’1 and weighing 218 pounds, Criswell is another quarterback who fits the modern mold of quarterback— mobile, big arm, and accurate. With his size and film, he reminds me of a recent excellent North Carolina quarterback, Marquise Williams. Criswell displays a toughness in the pocket that allows him to stand and deliver under pressure, and a release quick enough to deliver accurately when he does.

While he doesn’t use his legs as much as Williams, his thick frame allows him to grind out tough yardage, a nice skill to fall back on in 3rd-and-short.

If I had to pick a favorite thing about his film, it is his ability to throw absolute seeds on the deep out— he hits passes 20-25 yards downfield to the sidelines with a good, low trajectory.

Despite missing all but five games in his junior season, he still put up big numbers when on the field. He finished the season with over 1,300 passing yards and 14 touchdowns.

Criswell’s commitment does leave one question up for debate: what are the Tar Heels going to do with all these quarterbacks? Looking at the depth chart for 2020, it is...crowded.

  • Cade Fortin & Jace Ruder, redshirt sophomore
  • Sam Howell, true sophomore/redshirt freshman
  • Malik Hornsby & Jacolby Criswell, true freshman

These things have a way of working themselves out, and given the last two years of quarterback play at North Carolina, it sure beats the alternative!