The most newsworthy thing for UNC recruiting in any sport the past couple of weeks is probably the commitment of Cam Whitmore, once many UNC fans’ crown jewel in this class, to Villanova, effectively shutting the door on 2022 recruiting for Hubert Davis and his new staff. They seem to be approaching 2023 a little bit differently than they did this year, though, which is intriguing, and we also have our first 2024 offer, as far away as that might seem. On the football side, we’re essentially waiting on two players without firm decision timelines to make decisions, and they’re keeping things pretty close to the chest. Let’s get into all of that below:
All Tar Heel eyes are on Andre Greene and Zach Rice, hoping that they’ll pick UNC over Clemson and Virginia, respectively. Both haven’t announced top 2’s, but looking at their visit schedules, it looks like UNC’s going to be in two head-to-heads. Greene was at UNC for their game against Duke and has been on both campuses several times since the summer, while Rice was in Chapel Hill for their victory against Virginia, which one hopes did something to sway him. All we can do is see where they show up on campus until either or both announce commitment dates. I’d feel slightly better about Greene than Rice if I were a UNC coach, but truly there’s very little way to tell.
Looking ahead, one of UNC’s highest-profile recruits in the class of 2023 is Caleb Downs, brother of Josh and borderline 5-star safety prospect. Downs will be in Chapel Hill this weekend, and UNC obviously has a lot going for it between his brother’s current stardom in Chapel Hill, his uncle Dre Bly being the secondary coach, and obvious positional need. That’s not to say anything’s a done deal, though — Clemson and Alabama are already heavily involved with Downs, which means UNC’s got a tough battle ahead of them.
UNC Football 2022 Commitments
Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach, VA
Life Christian Academy
Colonial Heights, VA
With Whitmore’s commitment to Villanova, UNC is officially done with the class of 2022 — the lone uncommitted prospect they’ve offered is Mark Mitchell, and he’s got a top 4 of Kansas, Duke, UCLA, and Missouri. With that said, Hubert Davis’ first class, and one he got a very late start on, ranks in the top 5 in the country and should probably stay there by the class’ end. Not bad work at all for a first-time head coach, particularly in the way he addressed needs and created urgency when he had players competing for the same spot. It’s unclear if such aggression will work for the future, because he did end up missing on five-star prospects Whitmore and Jaden Bradley for lower-ranked guys at their positions, but for an emergency situation, I think it was excellently handled. A class of Seth Trimble, Jalen Washington, Tyler Nickel, and Will Shaver is a really good set of building blocks for program-building success — it reminds me a bit of the 2014 class with Joel Berry, Justin Jackson, and Theo Pinson, though likely not quite as impactful or as memorable.
Davis is attacking the 2023 class fairly differently than he has the 2022 one so far. While he spent most of his time in this cycle pursuing players ranked in the 30-100 range in the country, nearly all of his offers to 2023 players are to players who are either ranked in the top 35 or will get there soon, in the case of Matas Buzelis. I suspect this season will be a test case of sorts for Davis, with three transfers and three players not expected in Chapel Hill after this year. If he can get a cohesive team built out of that circumstance, as a first-year coach, I think he'll lean more heavily on potential one-and-done players and the transfer portal more than he otherwise would have.
Davis also put out his first 2024 offer this past week, which doesn't feel quite like a real year but I'm going to ignore that. Jarin Stevenson is a power forward from Pittsboro who's tracking to be one of the class' elite players, but I don't know much else about him because he's only a sophomore. We'll keep track of him as his recruitment develops.
I'll start putting up the 2023 offers chart soon, now that the 2022 class is done with.