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UNC Football: 4-star Gabe Stephens commits to Carolina

UNC now has four in-state recruits for 2021.

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

North Carolina has landed another highly-touted in-state football recruit. On Friday, athlete Gabe Stephens verbally committed to the Heels. Inside Carolina first reported the commitment.

The 6’3, 195-pound athlete plays Mountain Island Charter in Mount Holly, North Carolina. A consensus four-star recruit by 247 Sports, Rivals, and ESPN, Stephens’ commitment continues to emphasize UNC’s focus on elite defensive talent. His current rankings are listed below.

Rivals: Cornerback, 4-star, NR (national), #17 (position), #11 (state)
ESPN: Safety, 4-star, no rankings listed
247 Sports (organic): Athlete, 4-star, #127 (national), #9 (position), #8 (state)
247 Sports (composite): Athlete, 4-Star, #240 (national, #17 (position), #13 (state)

As always, rankings are fluid and it’s still early in the 2021 ranking process. Interestingly, all three major ranking services list him at three different positions, but his future is expected to be on the defensive side of the ball. This past season he lined up at defensive back, linebacker, and wide receiver. He accumulated 47 solo tackles and 85 total tackles. Those totals included 11 sacks and 14 total tackles for loss. As a receiver, he caught seven passes and four touchdowns. (All stats courtesy of MaxPreps).

Stephens picked UNC over Ohio State, Florida, Virginia Tech, and South Carolina among others. Stephens is the fourth verbal commit for 2021, joining safety/athlete Dontavius Nash athlete/quarterback Caleb Hood, and linebacker Power Echols. All four players are from North Carolina, continuing Mack Brown’s efforts to lock down elite in-state talent.