Out of all the things that went wrong for the Tar Heels this season, the crumbling of the offensive line in front of Mitch Trubisky has got to be the most costly. As good as the quarterback was, he was not always afforded the time he needed to get a play off. If UNC wants to avoid this problem in the future, they may have to go after some of the top linemen out there. Offensive guard Jalil Irvin seems like a good player to start with.
The six-foot-four, 280-pound offensive lineman has named North Carolina among his top four schools, which also includes Auburn, Tennessee, and Michigan. At one point, Irvin was committed to Michigan before determining to step back over the summer, citing a lack of communication as the reason. After his decision, programs were all over him and his list of top schools bloated to included Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Florida State, LSU, Clemson, Louisville, and Mississippi State before narrowing it down.
Blessings pic.twitter.com/OWiltVTGsk— Jalil Irvin. (@only1_lil) December 14, 2016
The Tar Heels offered Irvin in September, one month after he backed away from the Wolverines. He then came to Chapel Hill for an unofficial visit in October. Overall, Irvin is still thought to be somewhat under the radar, considering most programs didn’t start offering until he decommitted.
Irvin, a product of Stone Mountain, Georgia, is said to be a four-star talent. He currently ranks 286th in the nation and 23rd in his home state. He also ranks No. 15 out of all offensive guards in his class. Given his size, he is likely ticketed to be an interior guard, but he shows excellent footwork and strong hands, even against bigger defensemen.
For a full scouting report, I had to do a little bit of digging to find something from June, back when he first committed to the program:
Irvin displays excellent quickness, especially when working his way to the second level, and he's a good puller for a high school prospect. When he fires out low and gets his hands into defensive linemen, they tend to move backwards, though it's apparent he'll need to add strength before college—there are a couple plays in there where he gets stonewalled after initiating contact.
After his experience with Michigan, Irvin has been resolute about not making a final decision until his senior year. As much as the UNC football program could use his blocking ability, it could end up being a long time before we hear about him.