Welcome to this week’s recruiting update! This week has been extremely thin on recruiting news. So thin, in fact, that there isn’t really any football news to discuss. However, what we can discuss is a basketball recruiting announcement that is set to take place later tonight. Before we do so, here’s where we stand with UNC’s football commitments for 2021.
UNC Football 2021 Commitments
|Keeshawn Silver||DE||6'5||275||5-star||4||Rocky Mount||Rocky Mount, NC||Verbal|
|Drake Maye||QB||6'5||210||4-star||6||Myers Park||Charlotte, NC||Verbal|
|DeAndre Boykins||S||5'11||200||4-star||6||Central Cabarrus||Concord, NC||Verbal|
|Power Echols||ILB||6'1||206||4-star||6||Vance||Charlotte, NC||Verbal|
|Raneiria Dillworth||DB/LB||6'2||185||4-star||7||Glenn||Kernersville, NC||Verbal|
|Gabe Stephens||DB/LB||6'3||205||4-star||11||Mountain Charter||Mt. Holly, NC||Verbal|
|Kamarro Edmonds||RB||5'11||200||4-star||11||Havelock||Havelock, NC||Verbal|
|Jahvaree Ritzie||SDE||6'4 1/2||274||4-star||12||Glenn||Kernersville, NC||Verbal|
|Dontavius Nash||S||6'2||170||4-star||16||Hunter Huss||Gastonia, NC||Verbal|
|Eli Sutton||OT||6'7||285||4-star||20||Brentwood Academy||Brentwood, TN||Verbal|
|Tymir Brown||ATH||5'10||166||3-star||32||Jacksonville||Jacksonville, NC||Verbal|
|Gavin Blackwell||WR||6'0||164||4-star||34||Sun Valley||Monroe, NC||Verbal|
|Diego Pounds||OT||6'6||305||3-star||39||Milbrook||Raleigh, NC||Verbal|
|Caleb Hood||ATH||5'11||212||3-star||45||Richmond||Rockingham, NC||Verbal|
|Kobe Paysour||WR||6'1||175||3-star||65||Kings Mountain||Kings Mountain, NC||Verbal|
|J.J. Jones||WR||6'3||195||3-star||82||Myrtle Beach||Myrtle Beach, SC||Verbal|
|Trevion Stevenson||OLB||6'3||217||3-star||88||Phoebus||Hampton, VA||Verbal|
Back to basketball, tonight at 6pm four-star power forward Trey Kaufman plans to announce which college he will play for next fall. His top five schools are Purdue, Indiana, North Carolina, Indiana State, and Virginia. Notice a pattern? Out of his five choices, three of the schools on his list are located within his home state. This is one of a few reasons that recruiting analysts feel as though UNC is on the outside looking in, and believe that either Indiana or Purdue are likely to secure Kaufman.
To cement the fact that UNC virtually has no chance of landing Kaufman, Twitter had some interesting events transpired last night. Whether someone knows something worth value or not, there were numerous tweets stating that Kaufman had already committed to Purdue.
Trey Kaufman, who is a 2021 top 40 player just committed to Purdue University. He was a heavy favorite for Indiana. Looks like his announcement was supposed to be tomorrow at 6pm but a radio station might have went live during the recording for tomorrow. Can anyone confirm this?— World Of College Basketball (@WorldofCollege1) October 30, 2020
Sports Illustrated followed up the Twitter explosion with an article of their own that can be found here. The reality of all of this, however, is that right now it is only a rumor until concrete facts are presented. What is worth noting is that both 247Sports and Rivals both have Indiana as the favorites at the time of writing this article. We will see at 6pm who the winner of the four-star forward actually is.
As far as UNC goes, it looks like this will be yet another prospect that slips through Roy Williams’ fingers in the 2021 recruiting cycle. Patrick Baldwin Jr., Chet Holmgren, Hunter Sallis, and Trevor Keels are currently the only players that will be left on UNC’s recruiting board, and analysts do not have the Tar Heels as the favorites to land commitments from any of them. So what went wrong this recruiting cycle? Unfortunately that’s a complicated question to answer, and any guesses would be...well...guesses. However, let’s give it a shot.
One important detail to note when it comes to UNC’s current commits in Dontrez Styles and D’Marco Dunn is that they are both in the state of North Carolina. While one wouldn’t think this means much considering the fact that the pandemic affects in-state prospects as well, it is interesting that they are the only ones to commit while all of the out-of-state targets opted to commit somewhere else. In the case of Trey Kaufman, staying in his home state was one of a few important factors. One has to wonder how much that matters for some of the other prospects, but of course the counter argument is that Duke has landed two out-of-state prospects and are currently projected as favorites to land both Baldwin and Keels. With that said, one could say that proximity to home has at least something to do with recruiting issues, but is only one piece of the puzzle.
Another theory that is worth throwing out there is that recruits may not like what the situation looks like in terms of how many minutes they would get with the Heels, which we all know is a big selling point for top prospects. Let’s take a look at a very rough draft of what next year’s team could look like:
Center/Power forward: Armando Bacot, Day’Ron Sharpe, Walker Kessler
Small forward: Dontrez Styles, Puff Johnson, Leaky Black
Shooting guard: Kerwin Walton, D’Marco Dunn
Point guard: Anthony Harris, RJ Davis
If we are to assume that this is correct, the most alarming part of this roster is that there is lack of depth at the point guard position. While Leaky Black could once again flex down to that spot, Roy Williams has to be losing sleep over the idea of going through the same horrific point guard depth issue that he encountered in the 2019-20 season. Aside from that, this roster would have a fair amount of depth in the post, and pretty good depth in the wing positions. Could the roster use more talent? Of course. Which is why I feel like this theory is likely more true when it comes to the front court, but probably isn’t the deterrent for prospects at the guard positions.
Finally, there’s COVID-19. One thing that Roy Williams has always been good at is staying on the road, visiting a lot of the recruits on his list, adding recruits to his list, etc. The pandemic has ruined any kind of routine that Roy Williams and his staff have had for years now, and one can imagine that it’s been hard to get things done the way that he wants to get them done. Sure, all coaches are going through the exact same thing right now, but it’s reasonable to expect that some coaches will be able to handle this unique situation better than others. I do not know what it’s like to be in Williams’ shoes right now, but all I know is I do not envy him one bit.
In conclusion, these are just my theories as to what is going on with Carolina basketball recruiting. Some of it might be true, or it could just be that recruits aren’t convinced that UNC is the place for them. The 2019-20 season could not have possibly helped them when talking to recruits, but we also don’t have any solid proof that it hurt them. Maybe their luck will change before the spring hits, but right now things are looking rather bleak for the 2021 class.
How are you feeling about the state of recruiting right now? Do you have any theories of your own? Let us know in the comments below.
UNC Basketball 2021 Offers
|Chet Holmgren||C||7'0||190||5-Star||1||Minnehaha Academy||Minneapolis, MN|
|Patrick Baldwin Jr.||SF||6'8||190||5-Star||3||Hamilton||Sussex, WI|
|Hunter Sallis||CG||6'3||165||5-Star||7||Millard North||Omaha, NE|
UNC Basketball 2021 Commitments
|Dontrez Styles||SF||6'6||205||4-star||58||Kinston||Kinston, NC||Signed|
|D'Marco Dunn||SG||6'4||180||4-star||79||Westover||Fayetteville, NC||Signed|