When D.J. Jones committed to Mack Brown and his staff back on June 26th, many thought the Heels would turn away any other running backs in the 2020 class. It turns out that was not the case, as the Heels added a third running back to the class on Tuesday night.
2020 3✮ RB Elijah Green commits to North Carolina over Michigan State, Boston College and others via Twitter shortly after 7:00 PM. According to 247Sports, Green, who hails from Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in Roswell, GA, is the No. 948 overall player in the 2020 class and the No. 63 running back in the class. Rivals.com does not have an overall rating on Green, but lists him as the No. 13 all-purpose back in the class. As a junior at Blessed Trinity last year, Green ran for 406 yards and a touchdown on 69 carries. Green had a breakout season as a sophomore, running for 1,317 yards and 10 touchdowns on 218 rushing attempts after beginning his career in 2016 with 116 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries in seven games.
Green’s tape shows why the Heels decide to add him, despite the other two commmitments. Green is more of a technical runner than a downhill runner and has the accelaration and speed to cause issues on the edges for opposing defenses. That accelaration allows Green to hit the gaps quickly and pull away from third level defenders making him a nightmare for opposing defenses in open space. His ability to make defenders miss in the open field can’t be forgotten and is another reason that he has averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Green will have to run behind a strong offensive line to be successful, but he has the skillset to be an effective change-of-pace back in the Heels new offensive system.
With Green commitment, the Tar Heels have three running backs committed to the class. One has to wonder if the Heels plan changed once Devon Lawrence stepped away from the team over the summer, a scenario that seems the most likely. The main concern, though, lies not the added depth at running back, but more with the amount of scholarship spots remaining in the 2020 class. Green’s commitment is the Tar Heels 22nd of the 2020 class and continues to shrink the number of spaces that are available for some of the Tar Heels top remaining prospects. At this point, it seems like the Heels will focus on three prospects as they close down the early signing portion of the 2020 cycle. Desmond Evans, Kedrick Bingley-Jones and Ja’Qurious Conley will all have a spot in the class if they want it, but it is possible that beyond them, some tough decisions will have to be made.
Green’s commitment moves the Heels class back up to 16th overall in the 247Sports Composite team rankings, up two spots from where they entered the day. The class remains fourth in the ACC rankings.