Heel Tough Blog: 2021 4✮ WR Gavin Blackwell Commits to Carolina to Reunite with Sam Howell


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After a slow day on Wednesday afternoon to close the 2020 recruiting cycle and Tim Brewster’s unexpected departure on Thursday, the Tar Heels have landed two of their biggest remaining targets in the 2021 class. The two additions have fully eased the concerns around what Brewster’s departure would mean and where the Tar Heels 2021 class would go. Now, just a few days later the Tar Heels are one of the hottest teams on the 2021 recruiting trail.

The second of the two big commitments in the last few days came this afternoon when 4✮ WR Gavin Blackwell announced his commitment to the Tar Heels via social media. The current junior at Sun Valley High School in Indian Trail will be reunited with his former high school quarterback, Sam Howell, who is the current starting quarterback for the Tar Heels.


This past season, Blackwell, the No. 84 overall prospect and No. 14 wide receiver in the 2021 class according to 247Sports Composite rankings, led the Spartans with 67 receptions for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns, leading Union County in each of the first two categories. This numbers were strong, but declined from his huge junior season, where he was Howell favorite target, catching 51 passes for 1,136 yards and 19 touchdowns, numbers that landed him all-conference honors for the first time in his career and third-team All-Observer honors as well. His freshman season was the only time in his three year prep career that he was not able to finish with over 1,000 yards or 50 receptions, but he still started his career off strong by hauling in 23 passes for 538 yards and five touchdowns. So far in his high school career, Blackwell has racked up 2,682 receiving yards, a 19.0 yards per catch average and 33 touchdowns on 141 career receptions.


Blackwell is a wide receiver that will have the chance to make an early impact when he steps on campus. He will enter as one of the stronger route runners on the team and will also have some of the strongest hands on the team as well. His time at the high school level in an offense that was as advanced as Sun Valley’s was prior to Howell’s departure will work wonders and that connection that those two have cannot be overstated. Blackwell doesn’t have the most mind-blowing speed, but he has the ability to create seperation and his reliable hands let him make plays on the football that will help to keep this offense explosive. He has been able to cause issues for defenses after the catch at the prep level, but it doesn’t appear that that will be a strength of his at the next level with the speed of the defenders that he will see in the ACC. There is a lot to love about Blackwell’s game, though, and with all of that will depart at wide receiver for the Tar Heels after 2020, there is plenty of reason to believe he’ll play a major role early at Carolina.


Blackwell commitment is a big one for the Tar Heels, not only at wide recevier, but in general. His commitment means the Tar Heels have already landed five of the top 35 prospects in the state of North Carolina and three of the state top 15. Blackwell is also the fourth four star to commit to the class already and is now one of the building blocks of what looks to be another great recruiting class for the Tar Heels. The class is currently the 10th best in the country according to 247Sports Composite team rankings and 3rd best in the ACC rankings.