As the calendar flips to January, we enter another year of North Carolina football recruiting. National Signing Day will be on February 1st this year, giving recruits only a few more weeks to consider their options before they can start signing a binding Letter of Intent. While many prospects have made verbal commitments at this point, there are still a few who have decided to take things down to the wire. Luckily, the Tar Heels are still in contention for a few of them.
Running back A.J. Davis
Davis is a four-star running back who is currently ranked 214 in the nation. He is the 15th-best running back in his class and the 32nd-best talent out of Florida for 2017. The Tar Heels have focused on Davis for a long time now, and he could represent one last attempt to add game-changing talent to the class.
The five-foot-eleven, 190-pound rusher has narrowed his final decision down to North Carolina, Louisville, and Pittsburgh, stating “I have a really great relationship with all the coaches and they reach out to me every day.” It seems that wherever he ends up, Davis is destined to be a force in the ACC.
For him, his decision comes down to who can offer him the most playing time as a freshman. When discussing his impending visit to Chapel Hill on 1/11, this issue sounded important to him:
"I just want to see how their depth chart is looking and meet the whole coaching staff," Davis said about his UNC visit. "Their depth chart ---- they are looking bad at running backs right now. So they want me to come in and play as a true freshman."
The Tar Heels have running backs Michael Carter and Antwuan Branch committed to the 2017 class. Neither are as highly regarded as Davis is, however, it’s interesting to hear the way he speaks about his possible future teammates. North Carolina will lose T.J. Logan when he graduates, and they could still lose junior Elijah Hood if he changes his mind and decides to declare for the draft. It feels like Hood’s final decision could have a profound effect on Davis’ commitment. He would likely receive playing time either way, but if Hood goes, the doors would be wide open for Davis.
Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir
When we last saw updates regarding Lenoir, he just had a home visit from North Carolina. Since November, UNC has offered and the four-star cornerback has narrowed his list down to five teams. It is now down to Carolina, Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA, and USC. He is said to be taking three official visits this month and will be in Chapel Hill on 1/14.
Given a chance to discuss his top five picks, Lenoir seemed grateful for UNC’s persistence with him, saying “they've been on me ever since I decommitted from Oregon, even before. They recently offered me and never lost contact.”
All-Purpose Back Darrian Felix
Like Lenoir, Darrian Felix was visited by UNC back in November. Since that visit, the three-star all-purpose back declared his top five, including North Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Oregon. A Ducks fan growing up, Oregon is still considered to be the favorite, however, given the state that program is in at the moment, the Tar Heels could swoop in and get a surprise commitment. They have definitely been active with former Oregon commits over the last few months.
Offensive Tackle Will Lawrence
On the 2018 front, the Tar Heels have been included in Will Lawrence’s list of top five programs. He might not be signing soon, but the six-foot-four, 285-pound offensive lineman could be a very good get down the line for a unit that struggled this year. The three-star talent is rated 376 in the nation, ranking 29th at his position, and coming in at 15th in his home state of Tennessee. He is still very young, but the talent is clearly there.
Lawrence has narrowed his list of schools down to five, including Arizona, LSU, Michigan, and Ohio State, alongside UNC. He has received over 30 offers to this point, meaning he will have plenty of options should he decide to reopen his recruiting at any point in the next year.