The Tar Heels lost the commitment of 2023 4✮ LB Kaveion Keys last Thursday and now they have found his replacement.
Just moments ago at a ceremony held at his high school, 2023 3✮ LB Michael Short announced that he was committing to Mack Brown and the Tar Heels over Wake Forest, Missouri and others. Short, a former East Carolina commit, took his final official visit to Chapel Hill over the weekend after he backed off his commitment to the Pirates earlier in the week. That was the final step in the late push that the Tar Heel made to land one of the underrated gems of the in-state class.
Short, the No. 142 inside linebacker in the 2023 class according to the 247Sports Composite player rankings, is coming off of an outstanding senior season at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, NC that helped land him the Power 5 offers. As a junior in 2021, he earned all-conference honors after racking up 93 total tackles, including 21.0 tackles for loss. This year, he took it a step further as he brought home All-Queen City Conference honors once again and along with the defensive player of the year award for the conference. He finished the season with 121 total tackles, 26.0 tackles for loss and 12.0 sacks this season.
Short, the No. 39 player in the state of North Carolina, is a nice addition for a class that was still looking for a sideline-to-sideline to pair with the two downhill linebackers that they already have committed to the class. He has tremendous speed that allows him to track down running back and quarterbacks in space with ease and makes him tough to contain when they blitz him. He plays with a nice physical edge and can make ball carriers pay when he gets to them. He takes aggressive angles to the football, which has worked well for him at the high school level but could be risky against the type of speed that he will face at the Power 5 level. The other question mark with him, just like with the other linebackers in this class for the Tar Heels, is his coverage ability. As we saw this season, Chizik’s system relies on the linebackers dropping into coverage and Short didn’t really have to do much of that at the high school level. Still, this is a player with a ton of upside and has some tools that Tommy Thigpen should be able to fine-tune when he gets on campus.
With the commitment, the Tar Heels’ class jumps up two spots in the 247Sports Composite team rankings to 24th overall and jumps them ahead of Louisville into 4th in the ACC rankings. The focus now shifts to signing day, where the team will be hoping to add commitments from 3✮ RB Jordan Louie and 3✮ DT Rodney Lora.