If its February, then Mack Brown must be racking up results on the recruiting trail. On Friday, North Carolina football received their fourth verbal commitment for 2021. This afternoon, they added a fifth recruit to their commitment list.
Junior wide receiver Gavin Blackwell has announced his decision to stay in-state and play in Chapel Hill. He made the annoucnement via his Twitter.
Happy Birthday Momma!— Gavin Blackwell ¹³ (@Gavo2times_) February 10, 2020
COMMITTED ‼️ pic.twitter.com/eOvftAxXJe
Blackwell immediately becomes UNC’s highest ranked recruit (so far) for 2021. The consensus four-star wide receiver from Sun Valley High School in Monroe, NC is also a top-5 talent in North Carolina. If Sun Valley High School seems familiar, it is because that is where Sam Howell played. Yes, Blackwell and Howell are former, and now future, teammates. Check out Blackwell’s overall rankings from ESPN, Rivals, and 247 Sports.
Rivals: Wide Receiver, 4-star, NR (national), #13 (position), #5 (state)
ESPN: Wide Receiver, 4-star, #70 (national), #14 (position), #4 (state)
247 Sports (organic): Wide Receiver, 4-star, #149 (national), #27 (position), #12 (state)
247 Sports (composite): Wide Receiver, 4-Star, #84 (national), #14 (position), #4(state)
Those evaluations will shift after the summer camp circuit, but it’s clear that Blackwell is a top-tier talent. Measuring approximately at 6-0 and 160 pounds, he is UNC’s first offensive commitment for this class, and will add to a wide receiving corps that could include current Tar Heels Dyami and Khafre Brown, Emery Simmons, Antoine Green, Welton Spottsville, and Justin Olsen. North Carolina will also add incoming recruits Josh Downs, Tylee Craft, Stephen Gosnell, and Ray Rose. Downs was also an ESPN300 recruit.
In his sophomore year with Howell at quarterback, Blackwell caught 51 passes for 1136 yards and 19 touchdowns. As a junior, he hauled in 68 receptions for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns. He'll enter his season senior season as the top receiver in the state and plenty of opportunities to improve on the previous two seasons.
He also found time to do his best Marquise Williams impersonation when taking in the victory over Miami last fall.
A large group of recruits -- mostly consisting of verbal commitments and top in-state underclassmen -- were in Kenan Stadium on Saturday for #UNC 's home opener. SEE WHO: https://t.co/B8cK0Vqb6W (VIP) pic.twitter.com/1naKFWNARX— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) September 8, 2019
Blackwell is UNC’s third ESPN300 recruit of the cycle, which is already half the amount of such players the Heels signed for 2020. He is also the fourth four-star and fifth overall commit. Four of those five have committed in the last 21 days.
Dontavius Nash is the longest tenured recruit after committing at last summer’s Showtime Camp. Caleb Hood was the first recruit of this calendar year when he announced his decision last month. Two-time North Carolina Defensive Player of the Year, Power Echols, followed suit five days later. Gabe Stephens kept the party going when he joined the family last Friday.
All five players are from North Carolina. Stephens and Blackwell’s commitments are notable, not just because of their talent, but because both were announced after renowned recruiter and TE coach Tim Brewster fled to Florida for the same position. It’s fair to say this recruiting train ain’t slowing down.
Blackwell chose UNC over Ohio State, LSU, Florida, Virginia Tech, and South Carolina.