It is no secret that Mack Brown and his staff have really shaken things up in the Carolina football program. After having an abysmal record with in-state recruits during the Larry Fedora era, Brown came back in and really put a stranglehold on not only this state, but has done some significant damage in neighboring states. More damage could could be on the way thanks to 2022 prospects George Pettaway and Travis Shaw, but that all depends on whether or not the experts are trustworthy.
247Sports’ Crystal Ball has been pretty busy over the last couple of weeks, especially when it comes to UNC targets. Let’s start with George Pettaway: the top 100 running back out of Suffolk, VA right now has 100% of the expert picks going to UNC. Last week, recruiting expert Brian Dohn locked in his pick for the Tar Heels, though it is worth noting that he is only one of two experts that have made a prediction. Pettaway recently announced the top four schools that he will focus on for the remainder of his recruiting, and they included the Tar Heels, Penn State, Florida, and Oregon. Of those four schools, Pettaway has only taken an official visit to Penn State, but he has taken two unofficial visits to Chapel Hill over the last 12 months. Right now it is unclear when he announce his commitment, but hopefully we will hear something within the next couple of months.
Though Pettaway will be a huge commitment for the Tar Heels, Travis Shaw could be a complete game-changer for the program. The 6’5, 310-lb defensive lineman is the third-best player in the country, and is the second-best at his position. Right now the 247Sports Crystal Ball has nine predictions submitted, and seven of them have been submitted within the last month. Of those seven predictions, six of the picks are for the Tar Heels, with the seventh pick going to North Carolina A&T. It’s also worth noting that out of Shaw’s top four schools, he has only taken official visits to Georgia, Clemson, and UNC, which more than likely means that these are the three schools that he is mainly focused on. 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong seems to think so as well. Here is what he had to say about Shaw’s recruitment:
“As things stand now, my 247Sports Crystal Ball is with the Tar Heels,” Wiltfong said on 247Sports’ Wiltfong’s Whiparound. “I think that this recruitment starts with the effort that (defensive line coach) Tim Cross and (assistant head coach and wide receivers coach) Lonnie Galloway have put in on this for the in-state Tar Heels. I think that there is a major comfort level with those guys. On one of his visits to Chapel Hill this summer, Travis Shaw brought a ton of family with him. I always think that that’s a nice indicator of where a school stands when you bring a tremendous amount of family and he did that as well.
“I was getting a lot of smoke this summer that this was a North Carolina/Georgia battle and as the decision draws near, I’m not feeling as much confidence about Georgia’s position. Clemson did get a late visit from Travis Shaw as well, so while I maybe had them third a month ago, you never can count them out, especially when they get a late visit. But I like what North Carolina stands, for what would be another extremely pivotal recruit for Mack Brown and his staff.”
Should he pick the Tar Heels, he would be one of the highest-ranked recruits in the internet era. Remember when people laughed when Mack Brown said he was returning to UNC because he was too old? It’s really starting to seem like the joke is on everybody but Tar Heel Nation.
As of right now, Carolina’s 2022 class is ranked 21st in the country, and fourth in the ACC. Landing both Pettaway and Shaw would likely catapult them into at least the top 15, but it just depends on what happens with other teams before both players make their announcements. Either way, it’s great that a new bar has been set for the program, and that Coach Brown and his staff continue to dominate the in-state recruiting trail. And yes, it is a fun bonus that he is stealing top recruits from neighboring states as well.
What do you think of the Crystal Ball updates for Pettaway and Shaw? Let us know in the comments below.