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Four-star cornerback Zion Ferguson flips his commitment from LSU to UNC

There had been worries about this class, but the tide appears to be shifting.

Syndication: austin360 Suzanne Cordeiro/Special to American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

On Saturday, Zion Ferguson announced that he had flipped his 2024 commitment from LSU to North Carolina.

Read that sentence again.

First, the details about Ferguson: he’s a 4-star cornerback from the Atlanta area, and he had been committed to LSU since September. However, as nothing is official until pen can be put to paper in December, he had left his recruitment open enough to where UNC kept reaching out. This was especially true once the new defensive staff alignment had been set. He chatted with On3 in May ($) about only having one official visit, and that was for UNC.

Inside Carolina also had details, which notes that he’s been on UNC’s radar for a while. He attended camp last summer in Chapel Hill, and even while the cornerbacks coach has changed from Dre Bly to Jason Jones, their pursuit of Ferguson didn’t stop, nor did his interest of Carolina. One advantage Carolina had: family proximity. Ferguson’s grandmother lives in Durham, and playing in Chapel Hill will allow him to be close to family.

Up until Ferguson’s commitment, UNC’s 2024 class was heavy with a a lot of 3 stars, but nothing really higher, leading many to speculate that something was up on the trail and that Brown may have been losing his touch. Brown seemed keen on that criticism earlier in the week when he had his summer availability and talked about recruiting. Specifically, whereas a lot of programs are offering players money up front, Brown states that is not what he and his staff will do, rather, they discuss the great NIL opportunities once they get to campus.

It’s one big reason why flipping an LSU recruit is notable. With TV money coming at schools in the Big 10 and SEC like never before, combined with hazy NIL rules, players are quickly learning that they don’t have to be discreet about asking for money up front. While technically still illegal, since there is zero enforcement mechanism it’s created a situation where boosters are able to send money in that direction. Ferguson coming to UNC with all of this in mind is newsworthy.

It’s also a vote of confidence for the new defensive staff — especially cornerback coach Jones and secondary coach Charlton Warren — from a high-level recruit that the system UNC will play is one that can develop talent. One of the knocks against Dre Bly was that while he could recruit, the talent development seemed to flatline as the secondary consistently was one of the worst in the ACC if, not the country. Whatever the new coaches have shown to Ferguson seems to have impressed him enough to make the leap over to UNC.

Finally, the move has made Carolina have a sneaky strong 2024 recruiting class.

You may have been underwhelmed with the amount of three stars that have committed, but a look at the 247 (15th) and Rivals (10th) rankings after the commitment show that Carolina is still one of the top teams in the country in terms of recruiting. They aren’t done, either, as several highly-rated players are still interested or being recruited by Carolina for the 2024 class, including this weekend. Sometimes commitments start happening in bunches, as all it takes is one highly-rated player to join, then others decide it’s worth it as well.

Per Inside Carolina ($) there are other commitment decisions coming within the next month, so we’ll see if this is the beginning of a landslide to round out the class or an exception. Either way, it’s hard not to look at this commitment as anything but good news.