It has been a while since we went on to the virtual recruiting trail, but we returned on Friday night, this time to the state of Illinois. This was the first visit to “the Prairie State” this season and it was to get a look at one of the Tar Heels most recent offers in 2022 4✮ OLB Sebastian Cheeks. Here a breakdown of his game with Evanston Township High School in their conference game against Niles West.
It wasn’t the biggest night that Cheeks has had this season, especially with the fact that he did not play in the second half, but we did get a preliminary look at the No. 10 outside linebacker in the class in this one on Friday night. He finished the night with two total tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss and one quarterback pressure.
While the production wasn’t great from Cheeks on Friday, he is still able to display a little bit of why he is as highly rated of a recruit as he is. One of the main focuses for the Tar Heels coaching staff when it has come to recruiting this defense under Jay Bateman has been to add versatile pieces, which is exactly what Cheeks is. He was moved around the entire first first half, spending the majority of it in the middle, but had some success on the edge and even in a hybrid spot throughout the night. He looked natural in coverage, opening up his hips easily and not looking foregin when it came to playing in space. Cheeks plays with a nice physical edge, which he was able to show primarily when blitzed, something that led to arguably the most impactful play of the game on the quarterback pressure that led to the lone interception of the night. The one thing that he wasn’t able to really show that I was hoping to see was his sideline-to-sideline ability, another thing that has become important for linebackers to possess in this system. There is still plenty to like about this young man’s game.
It’s tough to get a real read on where exactly the Tar Heels stand with Cheeks at the moment after offering him just under two weeks ago. Notre Dame has been the long-time favorite here, but with the recruiting restrictions potentially being lifted later this summer, according to recent 247Sports articles, he wants to take some visits this summer. The big question here will be, is Carolina on that list. Either way, this will be a tough road for the Tar Heels to his commitment.