After a string of high-profile quarterback commitments (Sam Howell, Jacolby Criswell, Drake Maye) UNC football didn’t have an urgency to add another signal caller. But, you can never have enough capable arms on the sideline so the Heels ensured to nab one quarterback for the 2022 cycle. On Sunday afternoon, quarterback Conner Harrell verbally committed to the Tar Heels. The announcement came via his Twitter account.
The recruiting services are still trying to work through the evaluation challenges of the last 12 months, but there isn’t too much disagreement on the Harrell’s current standing. The consensus three-star quarterback is considered a top-30 player from Alabama.
Rivals: Dual-threat QB, 3-star, #NR (national), #NR (position), #28 (state)
ESPN: Dual-threat QB, 3-star, #NR (national), #22 (position), #21 (state)
247 Sports (organic): QB, 3-star, #NR (national), #39 (position), #28 (state)
247 Sports (composite): QB, 3-star, #680 (national), #44 (position), #26 (state)
Listed at 6-1, 190 pounds, Harrell plays for Thompson High School in Alabaster, Alabama. Lightly recruited heading into last season, Harrell used a stellar junior year to vault up various recruiting boards. In 14 games this past season (and first season as a starter), he totaled 3568 passing yards, 43 touchdowns, and just three interceptions. He added 361 rushing yards and five more TDs on the ground. Harrell also completed 229 of his 312 passing attempts, good for a 73.2% completion rate. (All stats come from MaxPreps).
Along the way, he led Thompson High School to an undefeated season and the Class 7A state title in Alabama. He was also named the 2020-21 Gatorade Alabama Football Player of the Year. That’s uh, pretty good, right?
As any UNC fans knows, the current quarterback room is absolutely loaded with Howell, Criswell, and Maye. But, as 2017 and 2018 demonstrated, a once-promising QB room can vanish in an instant by unexpected departures, injury, or poor performance.
By the time Harrell steps on campus, Howell will be in the NFL and Drake Maye or Jacolby Criswell will most likely be the starting at QB. However, whoever of Maye/Criswell is not starting very well could transfer to a better situation for their own prospects. A QB room of just Maye/Criswell and current fourth-string project Jefferson Boaz is a sobering thought. Harrell’s eventual arrival, assuming he stays committed, helps steady any uneasiness that might emerge.
Harrell is the ninth Tar Heel recruit for 2022, and the first UNC commit from Alabama since Matthew Flint and Gavin Lewis signed with the 2018 class. He selected UNC over Michigan, Arizona State, and Northwestern.