It’s Friday! Celebrate with a good ol’ blast of early-2010’s nostalgia, if you like. But there’s also sports to cover, and specifically, UNC recruiting, which has been expectedly quiet since football’s second signing day at the beginning of February. Of course, not much is going on in the world of basketball recruiting since the basketball season is going on, but we might be getting some big news in the prep basketball world soon. Let’s get into it:
- UNC added a couple of late surprises to its 2021 class, including cornerback Donte Balfour (who Jake wrote about here) and a couple of preferred walk-on specialists, namely Cooper Graham, a punter from Mountain Island Charter school in Mount Airy, NC, and Teagan Leanderink, a kicker/punter from Brentwood Academy in Tennessee. Leanderink is ranked the 8th best kicker in the 2021 class by Chris Sailer, which is a pretty big deal — he could compete with Grayson Atkins immediately if the latter keeps pulling his kicks left.
- UNC’s pursuing a couple of jewels for the class of 2022: chief among them, to me, are 5-star defensive tackle Travis Shaw, and at least one, if not more, of the running back triumvirate of Omarion Hampton, Michael Allen and George Pettaway (UNC’s pursuing other big-time running backs, but those are the ones who have been most linked to UNC), all four-star talents. According to this article, UNC’s chances are pretty good with Hampton, decent with Pettaway, and murky with Shaw: the latter, it’s expected, is going to boil down to a UNC-Clemson battle, and the Heels usually haven’t won those. The future at running back for UNC looks uncertain after the departure of this past season’s 1000-yard rushers, though there are whispers of Caleb Hood being ready to vastly outplay his ranking, and Ty Chandler should be able to do some damage — landing at least one of these guys would be an excellent move for the future. Landing Shaw would be a straight-up program changer in the best way: If UNC can beat out Clemson, even for an in-state player, pretty much anything is possible.
UNC Football 2022 Commitments
|Malaki Hamrick||OLB||6'4||205||4-star||12||Shelby||Shelby, NC||Verbal|
|Tayon Holloway||CB||5'11||170||4-star||15||Green Run||Virginia Beach, VA||Verbal|
|Tychaun Chapman||WR||5'10||160||4-star||20||Princess Anne||Virginia Beach, VA||Verbal|
|Trevyon Green||OT||6'7||338||3-star||51||Life Christian Academy||Colonial Heights, VA||Verbal|
- It’s good to see Dontrez Styles returning to action after a fairly scary injury from the beginning of January in his first game of the season. Hopefully he has a fruitful and enjoyable rest of his season before heading to Chapel Hill this fall; I’m glad he gets to have a senior year of high school basketball
- In wider recruiting news, Chet Holmgren seems to be getting ready to announce his college decision, according to Grassroots Hoops: It could come next week. Gonzaga is increasingly appearing to be his eventual destination, but he’s been extremely tight-lipped about his eventual college choice (assuming he goes that route, which seems likely but not certain) so nothing’s totally off the table.
- And finally, literally 15 minutes before this article’s publication, UNC’s apparently offered another prospect in the 2022 class: Dereck Lively, a top-50 (and rising) big man from Westtown, Pennsylvania. Lively’s a long, athletic player who seems like he could play either big man spot and excels at rim-running, making him seem pretty ideal for UNC’s system. He currently holds offers from Florida, Florida State, LSU, Pittsburgh, and several others, and reportedly has been talking to Duke and Kentucky though doesn’t have an offer yet. We’ll keep an eye on this as and if it develops.
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|