Updated: Sep 24, 2019
After a week away from the high school gridiron, the Heel Tough Blog returned to the recruiting as we headed to Lee County High School in Sanford, NC for a look at 2020 3✮ Tar Heel commit Jayden Chalmers and 2020 5✮ Tar Heel target Desmond Evans. Let’s take a look at how these two performed in one of the most anticipated scouting trips of the season.
We’ll start with the man that everyone wants to know about: the player rated No. 20 player in the 2020 according to 247Sports, Desmond Evans. Evans had a very strong showing on Friday night, showing off his athleticism and pass-rushing ability multiple times throughout the night. Although it wasn’t a completely dominating performance, he did finish the night with five total tackles, two sacks and three quarterback pressures. Evans looked very good in the handful of reps that he saw as a stand-up defensive end on Friday, which is what he’ll be at Carolina. His athleticism makes him a problem for any offensive tackle and he has the speed to chase down offensive skill players in the open field. As a pass rusher, his speed is beneficial, but against more athletic tackles at the college level, Evans will have to use the finesse moves that uses very effectively when he showcases them. He is such a special talent that his addition to the 2020 class could allow Jay Bateman to expand his scheme even more. Evans has the ability to handle himself in coverage, something that could allow Bateman to add some different blitz packages to his scheme next year. His size will also cause problems for even if he can’t get to the quarterback. At 6’6, when he gets his hands up, it’s tough for any quarterback to throw to his size of the field. The Tar Heels want this commitment badly and after Friday night’s performance, it’s easy to see why.
Now let’s talk about Chalmers, who many might not know a whole lot about. Chalmers committed to Carolina back on June 18th, just a day after receiving what he called a dream offer from Mack Brown and his staff. Chalmers was and still is the lowest rated player in the Tar Heels 2020 class, but those rankings are purely speculatory. Chalmers was thrown at three times on Friday night, but not a single one was caught. Chalmers recorded two pass breakups thanks to his great coverage skills and closing speed to the football. Chalmers has great speed, which allows him to keep up with the fastest of receivers and he is smart with the angles that he takes to football, as they allow him to make plays on the football without getting out of position if he can’t make a play on the football. Chalmers is a good open field tackler, as showcased by his three tackles on Friday. His skills on the field aren’t the question for Chalmers at this point, but the off-the-field uncertainty certainly seems worth the risk.
There were some other standouts on Friday night that need to be recognized. Lee County running back Larry Baldwin had a huge night and run as hard as any high school running back I’ve seen this year. With the Tar Heels already having three running backs committed in the 2020 class, it’s unlikely the Tar Heels would add Baldwin to the class as a scholarship player, but wherever he ends up, he has a chance to put together a successful career.
Another player who had a big impact on Friday night was Lee County wide receiver Tyric McKendall. The dynamic receiver led the Yellow Jackets in receiving and also had a big night as the primary returner on both kicks and punts. McKendall is only a sophomore and looks to be a name that we will have to keep an eye on going forward.
Others who stood out included Appalachian State commit DeAndre Dingle-Prince and Ivy League offered quarterback Colin Johnson for Lee County and wide receiver Octavius Carpenter and defensive end Jayleen Bullock for Fike.
The Heel Tough Blog schedule will be switched up a bit over the next month, starting next Friday night. The originally scheduled trip to Northside-Jacksonville High School will be postponed, as we will instead head to Burns High School in Lawndale, NC to see 2020 3✮ Tar Heel commit Ray Rose and South Point take on Burns. 2020 4✮ S Ja’Qurious Conley and Northside-Jacksonville will now be seen on October 11th, when they welcome in their cross town rival Jacksonville. 2020 3✮ ATH Cedric Gray’s game will be pushed to October 18th, when he and the Knights will take on Olympic at home.