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4-star LB Power Echols commits to UNC football

The in-state linebacker’s pledge continues UNC’s recruiting dominance in North Carolina

NCAA Football: Virginia at North Carolina Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina football has received another commitment for the class of 2021. On Saturday afternoon, inside linebacker Power Echols verbally committed to the Heels. The announcement came via his Twitter account after he made the trip to Chapel Hill for the football program’s “junior day.”

The 6’1, 205-pound linebacker out of Charlotte, NC helped lead Vance High School to their first state title this past December. Considered a four-star recruit by 247 Sports and ESPN, Echols’ commitment is another building block in a completely revamped defense under Mack Brown and Jay Bateman. After signing up to 6 (depending on who you count) players in the 2020 class that will either primarily play as off-ball or on-ball linebackers in Bateman’s scheme, the Heels are continuing to make that position group a high priority. Echols’ current rankings are listed below:

Rivals: ILB, 3-star, NR (national), #12 (position), #14 (state)
ESPN: ILB, 4-star, #146 (national), #2 (position), #9 (state)
247 Sports (in-house): ILB, 4-star, #160 (national), #7 (position), #11 (state)
247 Sports (composite): ILB, 4-Star, #210 (national, #6 (position), #13 (state)

As always, rankings are fluid and it’s still early in the 2021 ranking process, but at least all three services are in current agreement on evaluating him as an inside linebacker. The bottom line is that UNC is getting a high-caliber commitment early in this cycle. He is also on the ESPN 300 list, becoming the first such recruit for UNC for his class. The Heels signed six ESPN 300 recruits for 2020.

As a sophomore, Echols was the 2018 Defensive Player of the Year in the state of North Carolina. He followed that up with a stellar junior year where he accumulated 156 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, and forced seven fumbles. He was also named the MVP of his state championship game. Perhaps most importantly. Echols can now challenge defensive back Storm Duck for owning the best name on the Tar Heel roster.

Echols chose the Tar Heels despite holding offers from Penn State, Virginia, Tennessee, and most notably, Clemson. He is the third verbal commit for 2021, joining safety/athlete Dontavius Nash and athlete/quarterback Caleb Hood. All three players are from North Carolina, continuing Mack Brown’s efforts to lock down elite in-state talent. In the state’s loaded junior class, this is a strategy that will be especially important this cycle. We’ll see if this, coupled with Hood’s commitment earlier this week, have any kind of early domino effect for the Heels.