It’s now July, the month that has the least to do with school out of the 12 on the Gregorian calendar. And because of that, it’s a pretty active month for college recruiting — high schoolers don’t have their own seasons or classwork to be worrying about and can throw themselves into the recruiting process, and college coaches, even though they’re holding practices and planning for upcoming seasons at least a little bit, aren’t gameplanning and getting stuck in the various tribulations that being in-season brings. On the football side, UNC’s added two recruits to its 2022 class in the past week, and you have to think that more are coming. On the basketball side, a lot of things look very different from how they did a week ago. Let’s dive in:
- The headline news of the week is that Mack Brown and his staff picked up three commitments in the past week. The first came last Friday from linebacker Deuce Caldwell, even before the big official visit weekend had started. Caldwell is a high school safety who projects as a linebacker at the college level, where his speed will be a huge advantage going sideline to sideline in run support and in covering running backs and tight ends in the passing game. He’s from Mauldin, South Carolina, but has plenty of connections to the Tar Heel State, including a cousin we know and love: Theo Pinson.
- The next, on Sunday morning, came during the huge official visit weekend I mentioned last week from a player who I didn’t mention among the group I picked out: offensive lineman Justin Kanyuk. Kanyuk is a three-star player out of Bethlehem, PA, who’s listed as a tackle and has apparently been pretty impressive in camps this summer despite his relatively modest ranking among his class (103rd at his position). He picked UNC over his other Power 5 offers from Maryland and UVA. UNC’s been building a stable of offensive linemen for a couple years, and it’s always good to be adding bodies, especially if they’re as mobile as Kanyuk is reported to be.
- The final one of this recruitcap came on Wednesday from defensive back Marcus Allen. Allen, out of Walton High School in Marietta, GA, is a big defensive back at 6’2 and profiles as a safety for Jay Bateman; this article from InsideCarolina reveals that Bateman and UNC were the only team offering Allen as a safety after seeing his potential to be uber-rangy and watching how well he communicates on the field — Bateman puts a lot of the on-field audible responsibilities on his middle-of-the-field safeties, reasoning that they’re the only players who see the whole rest of the field. Here’s a numbers quirk: while he’s listed as a 3-star recruit by the 247 Composite, Rivals is a little higher on him (and the overall ‘22 defensive back class) than the rest. According to the Composite, Allen is the 33rd-ranked CB in the country, while according to Rivals, he’s a 4-star player and 37th at his position. Regardless, it’s clear he’s a good pickup at a position where UNC has been identifying and snagging talent really well of late thanks to the recruiting energy of Dre Bly. Allen picked UNC over finalists Auburn and Georgia Tech.
- More announcements could be coming soon. Connor Harrell announces his commitment on July 4th and the Heels seem to be leading that race; Omarion Hampton’s official visit ended with him announcing a commitment date of July 22nd, which seems good for the good guys, and we’re waiting on tenterhooks for Travis Shaw to make his announcement, which seems like it could come any day now.
UNC Football 2022 Commitments
|Malaki Hamrick||OLB/Edge||6'4||205||4-star||8||Shelby||Shelby, NC||Verbal|
|Beau Atkinson||DE/Edge||6'6||240||4-star||18||Leesville Road||Raleigh, NC||Verbal|
|Tayon Holloway||CB||5'11||170||4-star||19||Green Run||Virginia Beach, VA||Verbal|
|Tychaun Chapman||WR||5'10||160||4-star||26||Princess Anne||Virginia Beach, VA||Verbal|
|Marcus Allen||DB||6'2||165||3-star||33||Walton||Marietta, GA||Verbal|
|Connor Harrell||QB||6'1||189||3-star||44||Thompson||Alabaster, AL||Verbal|
|Trevyon Green||OT||6'7||338||3-star||59||Life Christian Academy||Colonial Heights, VA||Verbal|
|Justin Kanyuk||OT||6'5||290||3-star||103||Bethlehem Catholic||Bethlehem, PA||Verbal|
|Deuce Caldwell||LB||6'1||210||3-star||113||Mauldin||Mauldin, SC||Verbal|
- The big news on campus is that as I write this, Dawson Garcia is in Chapel Hill, officially visiting UNC as a potential destination for his transfer from Marquette. Garcia, who made the All-Big East Freshman Team after a season where he averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds a game, has entered his name both for consideration in the NBA Draft and into the NCAA transfer portal, and by all accounts is considering all three options — transfer, go pro, go back to Marquette — pretty heavily. As a 6’11 stretch big, he’s exactly the kind of player it seems that Hubert Davis is looking for in his frontcourt, and Davis is of course familiar with what Garcia can do after he lit the Heels up in the Dean Smith Center for 24 points and 11 rebounds in the Golden Eagles’ upset of UNC. Despite the additions of Brady Manek and Justin McKoy, there’s definitely room on the Heels’ roster for a player of Garcia’s abilities at his caliber, so this would be a huge coup if Davis could attract him to Chapel Hill. Garcia’s also taken a visit to Illinois, and more could be coming in the near future.
- Brandon wrote earlier this week about the 247Sports rankings update, which affected both of UNC’s commitments in a pretty big, and positive way. I want to take this space to briefly recap what the update did for several of UNC’s other targets, and guess at how that might affect their recruitments.
Dereck Lively probably had the most powerful leap of the entire 2022 class, going from the 25-30 range all the way to #7 in the country (I’m talking Composite rankings here; in their local rankings he’s #3 only behind Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates). Lively has dominated the grassroots circuit in the past several months and this ranking reflects that, and it makes his recruitment a whole new ballgame. Both the G-League and Overtime Elite will probably be heavily involved, and he’s now a clear elite, one-and-done prospect who’ll have every power in college basketball asking for his services.
Cam Whitmore also made a huge jump, from just outside #100 to #55 (30 in-house). I called this happening last week (not that I deserve props), and the result is that Whitmore has an offer list that’s pretty incongruous with his ranking. It’s not unimpressive, with UNC, Alabama, Villanova, Louisville, and Illinois headlining it, but he’s a borderline 5-star player now, and I expect more heavy hitters to come calling for the powerful, athletic wing from Maryland.
Concord point guard Jaden Bradley fell a little bit, from #13 to #17 (down to 25 in-house), but not as much as I might have expected. Bradley’s apparent top three choices, UNC, Michigan, and Kentucky, all have point guard commitments in his class, but only Kentucky’s Skyy Clark is rated higher than he is, and there’s even a healthy amount of separation between him and Trimble or Michigan’s Dug McDaniel (ranked 61st). I wouldn’t have been super-surprised to see Bradley fall outside the top 25 given my impressions of his relative lack of scoring and athletic development since his sophomore year, but it seems the 247 staff are believers that he’s got more of those traits than we’ve been led to believe. If Hubert Davis feels the same way, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him continue to court Bradley despite having a lead guard in the fold.
UNC Basketball 2022 Commitments
|Jalen Washington||PF||6'9||210||5-Star||21||West Side||Gary, IN||Verbal|
|Seth Trimble||PG||6'3||185||4-Star||48||Menemonee Falls||Menemonee Falls, WI||Verbal|
|Will Shaver||C||6'10||245||3-Star||140||Oak Mountain||Birmingham, AL||Verbal|
UNC Basketball 2022 Offers
|Chris Livingston||SF||6'6||200||5-Star||4||Buchtel||Akron, OH|
|Jarace Walker||PF||6'8||220||5-Star||8||IMG Academy||Bradenton, FL|
|Jaden Bradley||PG||6'2||178||5-Star||13||IMG Academy||Bradenton, FL|
|Mark Mitchell||SF||6'8||205||5-Star||10||Bishop Miege||Mission, KS|
|Jalen Washington||PF||6'9||210||5-Star||19||West Side||Gary, IN|
|Nick Smith||SG||6'4||185||4-Star||30||Sylvan Hills||Sherwood, AR|
|Derek Lively II||C||7'1||220||5-Star||20||Westtown School||Norristown, PA|
|Isaac Traudt||PF||6'9||205||4-Star||50||Grand Island Senior School||Grand Island, NE|
|Justin Taylor||SF||6'6||200||4-Star||87||St. Anne-Belfield School||Charlottesville, VA|
|De'Ante Green||PF||6'9||215||4-Star||112||Asheville Christian Academy||Swannanoa, NC|