For the second straight day, UNC has received the verbal commitment from a four-star prospect. The program continues to attract top talent at a pace that hasn’t been seen in at least a decade. On Wednesday, in-state cornerback/running back DeAndre Boykins verbally committed to the Tar Heels. The announcement came via Inside Carolina.
He is the Heels’ second commitment this week, and the sixth in the last 16 days. For a quick refresher, catch-up at the links below.
Tuesday, March 3rd: Keeshawn Silver, 5-star DE
Friday, March 6th: Drake Maye, 4-star QB
Saturday, March 7th: Kobe Paysour, 4-star WR
Sunday, March 8th: Eli Sutton, 4-star OL
Tuesday, March 17th: Tymir Brown, 4-star CB
The four-star prospect plays for Central Cabarraus High School in Concord, NC. Currently a junior, he is considered a top-15 in-state talent by all three major recruiting services. Check out his overall ratings at this moment in time. As we’ve mentioned multiple times this week, rankings often fluctuate between the junior and senior seasons, so these will change.
Rivals: APB, 4-stars, #57 (national), #2 (position), #3 (state
ESPN: S, 4-stars, #212 (national), #8 (position), #13 (state)
247 Sports (organic): S, 3-stars #414 (national), #33 (position), #22 (state)
247 Sports (composite): S, 4-stars #177 (national), #8 (position), #9 (state)
Boykins holds evaluations as both a safety and all-purpose back (a fancy made-for-clickbait word for a versatile running back). That explains some of the inconsistency in the current numbers, but it’s hard to argue that UNC is getting another top-tier talent. Any updates to those rankings will now come after athletic activities resume later this year.
Regardless, there’s a valid reason Boykins has been evaluated at multiple positions. As a junior, the 5-11, 185-pound Boykins rushed for 603 yards on 99 carries (6.1 ypc) and 9 touchdowns. That followed up a sophomore season, where he gained just 274 yards, but averaged 7.4 ypc and still scored 9 TDs. Not highly utilized in his high school’s offensive system, he produced when called upon.
He’s been equally efficient on defense, where he was credited with 48 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 3 interceptions. All stats were accumulated in just nine games according to MaxPreps. Clearly productive on either side of the ball, his future position is still to be determined.
With Michael Carter set to graduate and Javonte Williams trending up as a possible early-entrant for the NFL draft, Boykins could step into a young running backs room. Walk-on British Brooks is projected to be the only senior when the 2021 season kicks off. Josh Henderson will be a junior, and 2020 signees Elijah Green and D.J. Jones will either be freshmen or redshirt freshmen.
However, the UNC staff has made remaking the secondary a priority. Of the 20 defensive backs listed on UNC’s 2019 roster, including incoming transfers Kyler McMichael (Clemson) and Bryce Watts (Virginia Tech), only 13 players are projected to have eligibility remaining by the time Boykins arrives. That may seem like a lot, but as we saw this past season, injuries and attrition can be almost instantaneous.
Boykins is UNC’s 11th recruit of the cycle and either the only running back commit at the moment, or the third commit to join the secondary after Dontavius Nash and Tymir Brown. Of those 11 recruits, 10 are from North Carolina, including Boykins. Additionally, Boykins is UNC’s eighth ESPN 300 recruit. He joins fellow recruits Gavin Blackwell, Power Echols, Dontavius Nash. Drake Maye, Kobe Paysour, Keeshawn Silver, and Tymir Brown on that esteemed list.
For context, if all current commitments hold firm in December, Mack Brown will have signed at least 34 in-state recruits since arriving in November of 2018, averaging over 11 per class. UNC only had 52 total in-state recruits from 2012-2018, or less than 8 per class in those 7 years. They can also claim 17 ESPN 300 recruits in the 2019-2021 classes. That’s an almost unfathomable improvement after a total of 22 ESPN 300 recruits committed to UNC from 2012-2018. UNC’s recruiting momentum right now is like nothing the program has seen in a long time, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Spring sports might be cancelled at Chapel Hill, but anticipation for fall is building more strongly than ever.