CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina’s football recruiting class of 2018 is in hand, and head coach Larry Fedora is pleased with the program’s haul.
UNC received seven signatures Wednesday, giving he class 21 members after the 14 that signed in the early signing period in late December. Fedora expressed excitement about that group then and on Wednesday, and with respect to the newest allotment he said they are “a nice addition to (that) group.”
Fedora met with the media Wednesday at the Kenan Football Center to discuss the class, having two signing days, and a few other things related to the program. Here is a quick run through much of what he had to say:
*Fedora said the early signing period changed things in that it was very hectic the week before Christmas working to put the finishing touches on prospects that were close to or ready to sign. But instead of the lead up to National Signing Day being like a recruiting fire drill, staffs narrowed their focuses, in some cases significantly.
“I didn’t realize the intensity level would just increase on the rest of the kids that were out there,” Fedora said. “It was like the pool (of prospects) was much smaller and everybody was all over those guys.”
Of the guys that UNC formally reeled in Wednesday, none are from North Carolina. Four are from Florida, two from Alabama and one from Georgia. One is a 4-star prospect, five are 3-stars and one is a 2-star kid.
Here’s some of what Fedora had to say about the class:
*On missing out on two big instate linebackers, notably Dax Hollifield on Wednesday. Hollifield committed to Virginia Tech. That said, Fedora is still pleased with the two linebackers in the class including Matthew Flint, who enrolled early and technically became a member of the class Wednesday.
Fedora: “We went into this recruiting class we wanted to sign two linebackers. (But) instate guys are always a priority for us, and we’re always going to work extremely hard on the guys in the state of North Carolina. We recruited two guys (Hollifield and 4-star DT Rick Sandidge) in this state in the last signing period and unfortunately, we weren’t able to get either one of them.”
*William Barnes, 4-Star OL, 6-5, 320, Apopka, FL
Note: Barnes nearly committed eight months ago after the Freak Show but waited, as per his father’s wishes. So he was in no rush but wanted to sign with UNC all along. He put off signing in December to wait for his teammate, Ed Montilus, to make his decision. If Montilus was also going to pick UNC, Barnes wanted to announce with him. Montilus is also a member of this class for UNC.
Fedora: “We knew he was a heck of a player… We got him here on campus, and the more time we spent with him the better the relationship we built with him and his family. We just found out what kind of people they are and the way he was raised and everything about him. And he ended up loving this place and wanting to be a Tar Heel, and now, today, he is.”
*As noted, 3-star OL Ed Montilus (6-3, 305) also signed with UNC on Wednesday. The pair comes from Apopka (FL) H.S.
Fedora: “We were fortunate enough to grab both of them. Apopka’s got a great program down there in Orlando. Rick Darling has been there for many years and he’s won a lot of football games and done a tremendous job with those guys. One thing you know about kids coming out of his program: They know how to win and they know how to work.”
*Antoine Green, 3-Star WR, 6-3, 195, Rockledge, FL
Note: Green originally committed to Florida State but re-opened his recruitment after Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M. UNC tight ends coach Chad Scott, who handles the region of Florida where Green is from, got very involved in the recruitment winning over the family and quickly building a great deal of trust.
Fedora: “A guy that can really run, a kid that plays up above the rim – he can really get up in the air, so he’s one of those big guys that we like having on the outside. But, he’s skilled enough to be able to play inside, also.”
Fedora also note that he watched Green at basketball practice a few weeks ago and was impressed with how he got up and down the court. “He’s real quick,” he said.
*Gavin Lewis, 2-Star DT, 6-4, 280, Madison, AL
Note: Unlike the other prospects that signed Wednesday, Lewis just recently landed on UNC’s radar, and that was because of new assistant coach Tommy Thigpen.
Fedora: “Once we hired Tommy Thigpen – Tommy was a guy that had been recruiting Gavin. We really don’t go recruit the state of Alabama, but Tommy was recruiting that area (while on the Tennessee staff) and had a relationship with him, and we knew we wanted to take another defensive tackle or defensive end. So once we looked at the tape and evaluated him, made sure that he was going to be able to handle everything academically, that’s when we offered him. We started recruiting him at that points, get to know the family as much as we could in basically about a 3-week period.”