The benefits of appearing in the Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve will be numerous for North Carolina's football program, but one of the most important won't be apparent until next February. Beyond the financial rewards and extra practice time, UNC will also gain significant exposure during the most critical stretch of the recruiting season.
First, there's the television broadcast on ESPN that'll put both teams in the national prime-time spotlight. The Tar Heels will also be featured in daily newspaper and television reports at home and in Atlanta for nearly an entire month leading up to the kickoff at the Georgia Dome. They'll also make a few headlines in the talent-rich Southeastern Conference area due to the matchup against Auburn.
Recruits in Georgia will also be able to visit UNC's practice sessions in the week leading up to kickoff. The Tar Heel coaching staff won't be able to talk with recruits who visit practice, but that simple extra contact with the program can only be helpful.
There are six to 10 prime prospects in Georgia the Tar Heels would like to impress. Note there are several players in the group who are also considering Auburn. The list includes:
Marcus McNeil, offensive lineman from Ellenwood. The 6-foot-8, 313-pounder who is rated as one of the nation's top blocking prospect, visited UNC officially on Nov. 30. His other scheduled visits are to Auburn, Georgia Tech and Miami.
Jeff Francoeur, defensive back from Lilburn. Francoeur, a 6-4, 205-pounder is rated as a top No. 10 secondary prospect by some recruiting outlets. Francoeur is also a professional baseball prospect who walloped 20 homers as a junior. He's scheduled his last official visit with UNC on Jan. 25. Clemson, Mississippi and Notre Dame are the other schools Francoeur is visiting.
Demario Minter, defensive back from Stone Mountain. A top 20 prospect in Georgia, the 5-11, 175-pounder. Minter is a superb cornerback prospect who idolizes Deion Sanders, Darrell Green and Champ Bailey. Not bad role models. He's scheduled a Jan. 18 trip to UNC. Auburn, Georgia and Maryland are Minter's other visits.
Maurice "Mo" Avery, quarterback from Atlanta. An athletic, mobile quarterback whose style has been likened to Michael Vick. His official visit to Chapel Hill was on Nov. 30. Avery is also trekking to Arkansas, Louisville and Memphis.
Jonathan Palmer, offensive lineman-defensive lineman from Ellenwood, Ga. Palmer, 6-4, 298 pounds. He's a prep teammate of UNC recruit Marcus McNeill. Palmer was among a large group making official visits to Chapel Hill on Dec. 7. He's also visiting Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech.
Brandon Cannon, defensive lineman from Stone Mountain is a 6-3, 235-pound sack machine. Cannon is slated to make his final visit to UNC on Jan. 25. By then, he'll have already seen Auburn, Clemson and Maryland.
Bryan McClendon, cornerback from Atlanta. McClendon's father, Willie, played at Georgia, and the Bulldogs are getting an official visit along with Auburn and Georgia Tech. He made his trip to UNC on Dec. 7.
Brandon Mitchell, wide receiver-safety from Atlanta. The 6-2, 177-pounder made an official to UNC on Dec. 7. Florida and Georgia Tech have also offered Mitchell.
There are others being recruited by the Tar Heels in Georgia who could also be affected. Of course, none of us will know for sure the impact of the Peach Bowl on recruiting until February, when the national signing period begins. But we expect it will be a very positive one.
Heels Football Commitments (15 Total)