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Heel Tough Blog: Early Signing Period Recap

With tonight’s announcement from Khafre Brown, the Heels 2019 early signing period group is officially in. While this class is still a month and a half away from being fully completed, this is a great start to Mack Brown’s first year back in Chapel Hill. Let’s take a look at the 2019 recruiting class that signed early.

Class Rankings

247sports- Overall: № 36 | ACC: № 6

Rivals- Overall: № 42 | ACC: № 7

ESPN- Overall: № 47 | ACC: № 9

4PRO-QB Sam Howell- Sun Valley (Indian Trail, NC)

Troy Cherry- MaxPreps

247sports- № 3 PRO

Rivals- № 4 PRO

ESPN- № 7 PP

One of the greatest high school quarterbacks in the history of the state of North Carolina, Howell’s gunslinger mentality reminds some of Baker Mayfield, something that will be a perfect fit for Longo’s air raid offense. He should come in and immediately compete for the starting job in 2019.

4Khafre Brown- West Mecklenburg (Charlotte, NC)

Ryan Callahan- Inside Carolina

247sports- № 33 WR

Rivals- № 33 WR

ESPN- № 32 WR

Brown’s speed gives him a chance to have an impact as both a receiver and a returner because, but his ability to create separation with his route running and catch anything in his catch radius may allow him play significant time early.

3OT Triston Miller- Charlotte Country Day (Charlotte, NC)

@tristonmiller55- Twitter

247sports- № 34 OT

Rivals- № 49 OL

ESPN- № 73 OT

Miller’s stock differs heavily, based on which site you get your information from. Watching the tape, I would tend to lean towards a higher ranking considering his shear strength and good technique that may result in him seeing playing time early.

3WR Emery Simmons- South View (Hope Mills, NC)

Raul B. Ruberia- The Fayetteville Observer

247sports- № 67 WR

Rivals- № 87 WR

ESPN- № 65 WR

Simmons is not being talked about enough in this class for the Heels. He may have the best hands in the Heels wide receiving corps as of right now and his ability to make defenders miss in the open field will have Tar Heel fans excited to get this young man on the field.

3RB Josh Henderson- Hun School (Princeton, NJ)

Frank Wojciechowski- Town Topics

247sports- № 37 RB

Rivals- № 18 RB

ESPN- № 45 RB

Henderson is an intriguing prospect because of his acceleration and shiftiness, but the concern will be where does he fit in the running back rotation. Enrolling early at least gives him a shot to prove himself.

3S Giovanni Biggers- The Boy’s Latin School (Baltimore, MD)


247sports- № 56 S

Rivals- № 44 S

ESPN- № 57 S

Biggers is that type of safety that Bateman loves to have on his defense. His closing speed allows him make plays, both as an in-the-box run stopper and as a pass coverage safety. His ability may sneak up on people a bit and with the depth at safety being thin, he has a chance to make an early impact.

3S Khadry Jackson- Windermere Prep (Windermere, FL)


247sports- № 67 S

Rivals- № 45 S

ESPN- № 72 S

One of the more flexible players in the 2019 class, Jackson can play either strong safety or outside linebacker. He’s flies around the field on tape and his athletic ability makes him an asset in pass coverage from a linebacker perspective. Keep an eye on Jackson to have immediate special teams impact at the least.

3WR Welton Spottsville- Havelock (Havelock, NC)

Matt Born- StarNews Photo

247sports- № 104 WR

Rivals- № 75 ATH

ESPN- № 131 WR

With the recent commitments at the wide receiver position for the Heels, Spottsville’s name hasn’t been talked about as much, but there’s a reason he is part of this class. Spottsville’s game breaking speed and open field ability make him an interesting fit in this offense. While it may end up taking some time to work his way up the depth chart, his dynamic skill set will get him on the field at some point.

3SDE Kevin Hester- North Cobb (Kennesaw, GA)

@KevinHesterJr1- Twitter

247sports- № 64 SDE

Rivals- No. NA SDE


Hester is an extremely raw talent that most of the recruiting sites barely knew about before his commitment. Hester is a bit of a project, having only played one year of high school football, but with his size he’s definitely worth the risk, especially if he shows that he can move inside, as well.

3OT Asim Richards- Haverford School (Haverford, PA)

247sports- № 74 OT

Rivals- No. NA OT

ESPN- № 136 DE

Richards is another player that possess a ton of upside. While he will definitely have some work to do footwork wise, Richards possess the size to be effective at the college level. He is definitely a project for new offensive line coach Brandon Jones.

3TE Kamari Morales- Lincoln (Tallahassee, FL)


247sports- № 39 TE

Rivals- № 35 TE

ESPN- № 19 TE-H

Morales will be questioned by some recruiting sites because of his size, but he has the ability to be a good all-around tight end and possibly make that impact felt early in his career. With the tight end position being thin on experienced depth, keep an eye out for Morales come fall camp.

3SDE Tomari Fox- Collins Hill (Suwanee, GA)


247sports- № 77 SDE

Rivals- No. NA DE


Fox reminds me of his brother when you throw on the film, but doesn’t seem quite as polished as Tomon did when he arrived on campus. Tomari will probably focus on adding weight this offseason, but don’t be shocked if he does see some early action due to limited depth along the defensive line.

3CB Storm Duck- Boiling Springs (Boiling Springs, SC)

Don Callahan- Inside Carolina

247sports- № 119 CB

Rivals- No. NA CB

ESPN- № 78 CB

One of the under the radar signings in this class, Duck is more than just a name. His ability as a man coverage corner will give him a chance to play early, despite Bateman’s defense expecting to be more zone heavy than John Papuchis’ was. Still, his 4.41 speed will be hard to keep off the field, whether those are defensive or special teams snaps.

3WR Justin Olson- North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, NC)

Durane Byrd Photography

247sports- № 145 WR

Rivals- No. NA WR

ESPN- № 123 WR

Olson will have his work cut out for him with a loaded group of receivers in front of him, but he does the one thing that will get you on the field as a receiver: he catches almost everything. Add in the fact that he has some return ability and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him used in some capacity early in his career.

3SDE Kristian Varner- Hiram (Hiram, GA)

247sports- № 97 SDE

Rivals- No. NA DE

ESPN- № 182 DE

Varner is one of the few that won’t be able to early enroll and the rumors say that Tim Cross wants Varner to add weight in his first year on campus. While it may take some time for him to get on the field, his technique and quickness off the ball headline the attributes that make him an intriguing prospect.

3OT Wyatt Tunall- Chester (Chester, SC)

South Carolina Living

247sports- № 143 OT

Rivals- No. NA OT

ESPN- № 109 OT

Tunall is another work in progress along the offensive line, but when he does step on to the field, his athleticism will allow him to get to the second level in run blocking and help in space on screen plays, something that we could see a lot of in this Phil Longo offense. He will be making the conversion over from a run-heavy offense to a pass-heavy offense, so there will be a learning curve.

3CB Obi Egbuna- Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, NC)

Melinda Hicks- Charlotte Observer

247sports- № 214 CB

Rivals- No. NA CB


Egbuna is an unknown to most recruiting websites and while it may take him some time to work himself into the rotation at cornerback, it is definitely possible because of his ability to take the football away. More than likely, though, he will see most of his time as a freshman on special teams.

2P Ben Kiernan- Wakefield (Raleigh, NC)


247sports- № 11 P

Rivals- No. NA K

ESPN- № 33 K

While both Rivals and ESPN list him as a kicker, Kiernan will likely be the Heels starting punter this upcoming season barring something unforseen. His strong leg will be a nice edition, especially if he can show some consistency, something the position lacked this season.

2LS Drew Little- North Stanly (New London, NC)


247sports- № 7 LS

Rivals- No. NA LS

ESPN- № 12 LS

With both the punting long snapper and kicking long snapper gone, Little has only one player standing in front of him at this point. Considering that he is on scholarship and was named one of the top three long snappers in the country by Rubio Long Snapping, I would be shocked if he isn’t handling at least one of these vacant duties this season.

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