NCF On The Trail: North Carolina Tar Heels

The shockwaves from Texas A&M quarterback commitment Kyler Murray’s unofficial visit to Texas on Wednesday were still being felt Thursday because he's such an important target for both schools.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Even it looks like there is momentum for an early signing period in mid-December, college coaches still are torn on whether that’s a good thing. Plus, what does an early signing period do to the financial aid agreements players are already signing?

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Midyear additions: North Carolina

January, 13, 2015
Jan 13
According to, the following players have signed with North Carolina:

J.K. Britt, S
HT: 5-11 WT: 185
Positional Rank: #49 S
Stars: 3

Hunter Crafford, LS
HT: 6-2 WT: 200
Positional Rank: N/A (TR)
Stars: none

Jalen Dalton, DE
HT: 6-5 WT: 240
Positional Rank: #9 DE
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#86)
Under Armour All-American

Juval Mollette, WR
HT: 6-4 WT: 195
Positional Rank: #48 WR
Stars: 4

Anthony Ratliff-Williams, QB-DT
HT: 6-1 WT: 189
Positional Rank: #34 QB-DT
Stars: 3

Andre Smith, OLB
HT: 6-0 WT: 215
Positional Rank: #33 OLB
Stars: 3

Williams Sweet, OT
HT: 6-6 WT: 280
Positional Rank: #34 OT
Stars: 4

Carl Tucker, TE-H
HT: 6-2 WT: 220
Positional Rank: #4 TE-H
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#275)

Ty'Son Williams, RB
HT: 6-0 WT: 202
Positional Rank: #15 RB
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#139)

Mason Veal, OT
HT: 6-5 WT: 288
Positional Rank: #39 OT
Stars: 4

UA practice notebook: Day 3 

December, 31, 2014

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Todd Wofford knows a good football player when he sees him.

As the coach at Central Gwinnett High School, Wofford has worked with some special players over the years, including ESPN 300 outside linebacker and current Alabama commitment Adonis Thomas and current Ohio State linebacker Trey Johnson. So it speaks volumes when he gushes about the running back talent he is tutoring this week at the Under Armour All-America Game.

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UA Day 1: Best sights and sounds

December, 29, 2014
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Several players made incredible plays on Day 1 of the Under Armour All-America game practices. Byron Cowart had several sacks, quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Deondre Francois and Brandon Wimbush all made impressive throws, and Notre Dame commit Shaun Crawford had a big pass breakup. Here’s a closer look at some of the top plays caught on camera.

Notre Dame pledge Shaun Crawford with nearly perfect technique on a pass breakup of a pass intended for George Campbell.

Quarterback Kyler Murray with a beautiful touchdown pass.

George Campbell coming down with the catch.

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins against Alabama recruit Richie Petitbon.

Georgia recruit Terry Godwin makes a catch against Iman Marshall.

Quarterback Deondre Francois with a nice touchdown pass over the middle.

UNC OL pledge Tommy Hatton winning a battle against the No. 1-ranked player in the country, Terry Beckner Jr.

Oregon recruit Canton Kaumatule with a great spin move to win his one-on-one battle.

Byron Cowart with a nice move on Drew Richmond for the sack of Blake Barnett.

South Carolina commit Arden Key with the tackle.

Brandon Wimbush with a nice touch pass.

James Franklin comes up big again on the recruiting trail, playing a key role in landing talented cornerback Garrett Taylor. Plus, don’t be surprised if the silly season produces some major recruiting drama over the next two months.

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Class rankings: Nov. 19 update

November, 19, 2014

The top five remains steady, but Ohio State has moved a step closer to potentially breaking into that group. The Buckeyes, whose class is led by three five-star prospects, added a commitment from an eighth ESPN 300 player in offensive lineman Matt Burrell Jr. The top-10 OG is a big, tough and competitive player. He needs to continue to better blend technique with his aggressive nature, but with some work he can be a physical and productive presence in the trenches for Ohio State.

It has been a challenging season for North Carolina, but the Tar Heels, who have won three of their past four games, were able to score a big victory on the recruiting trail. With a commitment from ESPN 300 DE Jalen Dalton, North Carolina was able to keep the state's No. 3-ranked prospect at home. A lengthy and athletic defender with good upside, Dalton is a promising player who could grow into a potential playmaker for a team that needs major help on defense. Despite some of the struggles this season UNC has still managed to put together a strong class that now sits at No. 21 and features five ESPN 300 prospects.

Inside the rankings

The biggest challenge for Urban Meyer and his staff since he arrived in Columbus has been luring top-flight defensive front personnel and overall skill from the Midwest that is comparable to what he had at Florida. It has been a down period in Ohio for the 2014 and 2015 classes in terms of sheer numbers and caliber of players, which led to the Buckeyes going after guys like Joey Bosa (Florida), Raekwon McMillan (Georgia), Vonn Bell (Georgia) and many others to help supplement the roster. That trend is continuing with the commitment of 2015 athlete Torrance Gibson.

The good news for the Buckeyes is that the upcoming in-state 2016 class is much stronger and deeper, which hopefully will allow for them to not have to venture too far south this time around to supplement the roster. The Buckeyes already have four players committed in 2016 and all are from Ohio.

To read the full class rankings, click here.

Scout's Take: DE Jalen Dalton to UNC 

November, 13, 2014

North Carolina has secured a commitment from Under Armour All-American defensive end Jalen Dalton. Below, see what the addition of this key in-state prospect means for the Tar Heels:

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Kansas State and TCU battle in one of the biggest games of the weekend, and Horned Frog coach Gary Patterson said both teams have been built off a comparable recruiting philosophy. Could landing ESPN 300 Junior recruit Jovanny Garcia start a trend for Minnesota?

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ESPN’s RecruitingNation released the updated class ranking for 2015 on Wednesday. Of course, Alabama remains in the top spot, but will be challenged by Georgia and Florida State for the top spot come National Signing Day.

Looking deeper into the class rankings, five teams off to poor starts could have a difficult time holding off rival teams for top recruits, including:

South Carolina

One could argue that the Gamecocks aren’t in need of a strong close in 2015 with 28 prospects already committed and a current place in the Top 10 classes, but needs remain on defense at tackle, linebacker, and cornerback for sure. A 6-6 or 7-5 season could make it tough to close, and give momentum to others trying to flip South Carolina commitments. Closing on Florida State defensive tackle commit and South Carolina native D.J. Jones could be tough, because the Seminoles remain atop the polls, and Clemson and Alabama are also possibilities. The same can be said for ESPN300 athlete Darius Slayton, who will likely choose between Georgia and South Carolina with a preference for wide receiver at the next level.

Miami (FL)

There was increased excitement headed into the 2014 season with the NCAA cloud lifted, and a number of exciting playmakers returning on offense. Throw in the otherworldly start to the 2016 class with seven ESPNJr300 pledges, and it looked like the Hurricanes were set up for a big finish in 2015 with momentum. Now 3-3 with a 6-6 finish a real possibility, the Hurricanes are no longer in the closing position. In fact, holding onto ESPN300 running back Dexter Williams could be difficult, and the Hurricanes have already lost ESPN300 tight end Bowman Archibald to Wake Forest. The Miami (FL) staff will be working hard to keep prospects such as Williams and ESPN300 linebacker Charles Perry in the fold, while attempting to finish the 2015 class that is need of playmakers and pass-rushers on defense.

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Help is on the way: ACC 

October, 8, 2014
Each year on the recruiting trail, schools are met with needs that need to be addressed to shore up depth issues both immediately and down the line. With four months until national signing day for the class of 2015, many teams have addressed and met needs.

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ACC's top recruiting visits 

September, 5, 2014

The second weekend of the season in the ACC will feature a number of unofficial visits featuring two of the Tar Heel states top uncommitted prospects in Shy Tuttle and Emanuel McGirt. The marquee official visit involving an ACC program will take place at Ohio State with the nation's top-ranked prospect set to make a second trip to see the Buckeyes.

1. Shy Tuttle
ESPN 300: No. 31

[+] EnlargeShy Tuttle
Miller Safrit/ESPNShy Tuttle's visit to North Carolina is important as the offensive tackle is set to make a decision on September 26.
The nation's No. 5 defensive tackle will be in Chapel Hill Saturday night for the Tar Heels game against San Diego State. Simply put, this is a huge unofficial visit for Larry Fedora and staff with Tuttle scheduled to announce a decision September 26. Headed into the season, Tennessee was considered the favorite over North Carolina with N.C. State fighting to stay in the mix. Tuttle was on campus again in Knoxville last weekend for the Volunteers' season opener --making Saturday's visit to Chapel Hill that much more important for the Tar Heels. Tuttle will follow up his trip this weekend to North Carolina with a Sept. 20 unofficial visit to N.C. State's game against Presbyterian. There are two factors working in Tennessee's favor in the Tuttle recruitment headed into this weekend. One, the talk of Tuttle and No. 90 Jalen Dalton going to the same college is just that -- talk. Tuttle will make his decision independent of Dalton, so the package deal is more myth than reality at this point. Two, Tuttle has said his mom prefers North Carolina. While that may be the case, Tuttle's circle is more than just his mother, and there is some Tennessee pull within the group. This recruitment is seemingly close between the Volunteers and Tar Heels with all the pressure on Fedora to keep the best of the best at home.

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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: George Campbell is one of the most highly sought after players in the country, but the five-star athlete will announce his decision Friday on’s RecruitingNation. Plus, we now know when No. 5 cornerback Tarvarus McFadden will announce his decision, and the battle to land him involves five of the best recruiters in the country. We also continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.

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#SceneAndHeard Lunch Break: Sept. 3 

September, 3, 2014
ESPN 300 Hines to cut list today

ESPN 300 No. 149 Nyheim Hines will announce his Top 7 at 7 ET tonight. While he's not technically cutting schools from consideration, programs that don't make the Top 7 are essentially out of contention at this point. Among those that are near locks to make the seven are NC State and Duke with North Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio State also good bets. Also in serious contention are Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, Virginia Tech and Virginia. The major factor in the speedster's recruitment is his twin sister, Nyah. Nyah has been offered by NC State as a hurdler. Duke was considered the favorite last spring, but things are certainly pointing to the Wolfpack as the current team to beat with the track offer resting with Nyah.

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ESPN 300 safety Jamile Johnson Jr. is a versatile defender who could make an immediate impact in Chapel Hill.

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