August is a vital month in the recruiting cycle, especially for football, because it’s the last month before the school year, and thus the football season, starts for most high schools and colleges, which is to say, both for prospects and for coaching staffs. Recruiting goes on all the way through the season and even into February, of course, but August is the last month that coaches can put energy into recruiting that during the season is going to be devoted to gameplanning, scouting opponents, and managing their team, so they obviously prefer their targets to commit before then. It’s similar for players — committing earlier, particularly if you’re happy with your offers, means you have one less thing to focus on during the school year, and high school is tough no matter who you are! So it’s not surprising that several UNC targets seem to have taken steps in their recruitment as the new month is underway. Let’s get into it:
- From the moment anybody started thinking about the football class of 2022, it was clear that UNC’s aspirational crown jewel was going to be Travis Shaw, the defensive tackle from Greensboro who’s a top-5 player in the country. Not at his position, just top-5. UNC’s pursuit of him was early and constant, and I feel like I’ve been talking about him for forever at this point (the pandemic doesn’t help). Well, the wait is officially coming to an end, as Shaw has announced that he’s made a decision and will announce his commitment on August 21st out of a top 4 consisting of UNC, Alabama, Georgia, and NC A&T. Since the announcement, UNC has received two Crystal Ball predictions for Shaw, including one from Steve Wiltfong, 247 Sports’ Director of Football Recruiting and somebody who usually only submits predictions with information. Obviously, nothing’s set in stone, but there are indications that the good guys might come away with a massive, massive win here.
- One of UNC’s other huge targets right now is running back George Pettaway out of Suffolk, Virginia, who’s a 4-star prospect who’s in the top-5 for his position in the class. Pettaway hasn’t set an announcement date but did release a top 4, which includes UNC along with Florida, Oregon, and Penn State. There isn’t a timeline on his commitment but he’s visited UNC much more often than the other options (and he hasn’t visited Oregon at all, though he apparently wants this to change in September), so there’s some cautious optimism here to go with a recent Crystal Ball prediction to UNC. Florida is a threat, though, seeing as they don’t have any other running backs committed or that they’re pursuing.
- The staff’s other three big targets are safety Jake Pope from Georgia, who’s a 3-star prospect with a star-studded offer list (his top 5 are UNC, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Notre Dame); 4-star wide receiver Andre Greene from Richmond, whose recruitment still looks wide open; and 5-star offensive lineman Zach Rice from Virginia, who’s choosing between UNC, Virginia, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. That’s not all the players they have offered, but those 5 are the battles they’re most invested in right now, it would seem.
UNC Football 2022 Commitments
|Malaki Hamrick||OLB/Edge||6'4||205||4-star||10||Shelby||Shelby, NC||Verbal|
|Omarion Hampton||RB||6'0||215||4-star||12||Cleveland||Clayton, NC||Verbal|
|Sebastian Cheeks||LB||6'3||210||4-star||15||Evanston Township||Evanston, IL||Verbal|
|Beau Atkinson||DE/Edge||6'6||240||4-star||19||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||4-star||29||Walton||Marietta, GA||Verbal|
|Bryson Jennings||DE/Edge||6'6||235||3-star||22||Clover Hill||Midlothian, VA||Verbal|
|Connor Harrell||QB||6'1||189||3-star||43||Thompson||Alabaster, AL||Verbal|
|Trevyon Green||OT||6'7||338||3-star||58||Life Christian Academy||Colonial Heights, VA||Verbal|
|Deuce Caldwell||LB||6'1||210||3-star||91||Mauldin||Mauldin, SC||Verbal|
|Justin Kanyuk||OT||6'5||290||3-star||93||Bethlehem Catholic||Bethlehem, PA||Verbal|
- The big good news for UNC fans is that there’s news on the Cam Whitmore front. In response to the surge of recruiting interest in the athletic forward in the past month, he’s scheduled three official visits to UNC, Illinois, and Miami, all schools that offered him this summer. It’s still early in the process, but getting him to use one of his fall official visits on UNC is a huge first step.
- Shooting guard Zion Cruz has set an announcement date kind of out of the blue; he hadn’t narrowed down his offer list at all before telling the world he’d be committing on August 19th, a week from today. While he called UNC a “dream school” and said he’d love to visit, setting a date before getting the chance to do so seems like a bad sign for Hubert Davis, which is a shame. The Heels only offered relatively recently, and it seems they may have been too late on this one. The only other pure shooting guard prospect UNC was recruiting, Nick Smith from Arkansas, listed a top 8 that left out UNC last week. He seems SEC-bound if he doesn’t go the G-League route.
- Davis, meanwhile, has two more offers out for the class of 2023, bringing him to a total of five. They were to JJ Taylor, a five-star wing from Chicago, and four-star Matas Buzelis, who’s from the Chicago suburbs but attends a high school in New Hampshire. Buzelis is listed as a 6’8 wing on his recruiting profile, but calls himself a “6’10 point guard” on Twitter, which I find quite funny. He does have a pretty solid handle, for what that’s worth. It’s good to see Davis getting offers into the 2023 class early while not immediately casting an extremely wide net — it marks a different approach from that of Roy Williams, but still maintains the image of exclusivity that we’d like to see from a UNC offer.
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||135||Oak Mountain||Birmingham, AL||Verbal|
UNC Basketball 2022 Offers
|Chris Livingston||SF||6'6||200||5-Star||5||Buchtel||Akron, OH|
|Derek Lively II||C||7'1||220||5-Star||7||Westtown School||Norristown, PA|
|Mark Mitchell||SF||6'8||205||5-Star||12||Bishop Miege||Mission, KS|
|Jaden Bradley||PG||6'2||178||5-Star||17||IMG Academy||Bradenton, FL|
|Zion Cruz||SG||6'5||175||5-Star||20||The Patrick School||Hillside, NJ|
|Cam Whitmore||SF||6'6||200||4-Star||55||Archbishop Spalding||Severn, MD|
|Isaac Traudt||PF||6'9||205||4-Star||60||Grand Island Senior School||Grand Island, NE|
|Tyler Nickel||SF||6'8||210||4-Star||79||East Rockingham||Elkton, VA|