At this point in the offseason, the Tar Heels have most of their 2018 recruiting class settled, though athletes up and down the east coast continue to consider the program. One such player is four-star offensive tackle William Barnes, who recently named the Tar Heels in his top seven schools. The six other programs that made the cut include Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia.
The Apopka, Florida native would be considered a top recruit as the 45th overall player in the 2018 recruiting class. He is the fifth-best offensive tackle and the seventh-best talent out of his home state. At six-foot-four and 312 pounds, Barnes is well equipped for his role on the offensive line.
Barnes has received around 20 offers and saw a strong amount of interest from ACC schools before narrowing it down to UNC and FSU. North Carolina initially offered him in April of 2016 before bringing him to campus for visits in November 2016 and March 2017. Barnes was also in camp with the Tar Heels in June. Tight end coach Chad Scott and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic have been recruiting him throughout the process.
Considering his home town, many evaluators believe the Gators are in the lead with the Heels not far behind. If Barnes were to commit to Chapel Hill, he would join fellow four-star offensive tackle Avery Jones in their recruiting class. However, the Heels already went big on improving the offensive line in 2017, adding five linemen to the roster. Barnes would certainly rise to the top in terms of potential, but it’s hard to say if that situation would be as enticing as a different team with less competition.