This weekend, two of the Tar Heels top remaining targets in the 2020 class spurned the Heels for other destinations. While the Tar Heels 2020 class is still in very good shape with sixteen prospects committed, the Heels have some major targets that would fill positions of need and help create the type of competition that Mack Brown wants in Chapel Hill. Let’s look at the Tar Heels ten most important targets remaining in the 2020 class.
5✮ WDE Desmond Evans- Lee County (Sanford, NC)
Evans is the highest rated prospect that the Heels are targeting in this 2020 class, so immediately he is a high priority target. It also helps that Evans has Carolina in high standing and that many believe both of the in-state schools are the leaders for his services. At 6’6, 238 lbs., Evans can wreak havoc with his hand in the dirt or standing up. Landing Evans would give the Tar Heels their highest-rated commit since Marvin Austin in 2007 and would make a major statement about the impact that Mack Brown and his staff have had in-state.
4✮ DT Kedrick Bingley-Jones- Providence Day (Charlotte, NC)
The one-time Florida commit has reopened the door for Carolina after Larry Fedora’s departure and Mack Brown and crew have made huge progress with the in-state defensive tackle. Bingley-Jones took his official visit to Chapel Hill over the weekend and seemed to enjoy his visit. For Jay Bateman, this young man has to be a priority, because his mix of athleticism and physicality makes him a perfect fit for the 3-4 defensive end position.
4✮ S Ja’Qurious Conley- Northside-Jacksonville (Jacksonville, NC)
Safety is one of the biggest positions of need for the Tar Heels in the 2020 cycle and it helps that they have one of the best in the 2020 class in the home state. Conley has the all-around ability to make an early impact, something the Heels may be in the market for with Myles Dorn graduating after the 2019 season. The Heels are currently in a good spot with Conley, but so is South Carolina. While this one feels like an important one, the Heels do have some other leads at safety that they can still expand on if Conley was to go elsewhere.
4✮ SDE Myles Murphy- Dudley (Greensboro, NC)
Another force along the defensive line, Murphy has been one of the Heels top targets in-state for a while. Murphy will move from Southeast Guilford High School to state power Dudley, where he will play alongside 2021 Tar Heel target Payton Page. Murphy has the size and talent to play relatively quickly at the college level and can play either nose tackle or defensive end in Jay Bateman’s scheme. South Carolina is the favorite as of right now, but the Heels did receive an official visit and Murphy has been a frequent visitor on campus. South Carolina seems to have the edge here, but that doesn’t mean that the Heels shouldn’t keep pushing to land his services.
3✮ WDE Quentin Williams- Mallard Creek (Charlotte, NC)
The defensive line trend continues here, but this is a move that might affect the outside linebacker position more than anything. At 6’3, 234 lbs., Williams has the size to stand up at the college level and the Tar Heels are definitely still in the market for 3-4 outside linebackers in the 2020 class. Williams has the athleticism and speed of the edge to be that rush edgee that Jay Bateman’s defenses need. While the Heels are having to battle off West Virginia, Miami and Virginia Tech, it feels like Carolina is in good enough shape to feel confident about this one.
4✮ S Malcolm Greene- Highland Springs (Highland Springs, VA)
This is another player that was originially offered by Larry Fedora and his staff, but has really made a connection with the new staff of the past few months. As mentioned above, Greene would address a position need for the Heels who are currently extremely thin at safety and will only thinner following the 2019 season. His ball skills combine perfectly with his hard-hitting ability make him a good fit Bateman’s defense and a candiate to start early if needed. Considering that the Heels have just now made a push for him, there are some long-time candidates in Clemson, Virginia Tech and Duke to battle off, but that should scare Carolina away from making him a priority.
3✮ OT Anthony Carter Jr.- Butler (Matthews, NC)
Carter was likely to land on this list regardless, but he sits a little higher following Timothy Lawson’s commitment to Louisville over Carolina. Carter Jr. is a flexible offensive lineman that has the size to guard and the technique to play tackle and has already placed Carolina in his top eleven, despite having not been on campus prior to this past weekend since Mack Brown arrived in Chapel Hill. Carter Jr. definitely has some interesting suitors for his services, but Carolina should be one of the hardest pushers to land his services for the remainder of his recruitment.
4✮ DT Jacolbe Cowan- Providence Day (Charlotte, NC)
You may be asking how an in-state player as talented as Cowan has fallen to this point, but it’s really pretty simple. While Carolina is not completely out of the race, powerhouse programs like Ohio State and Georgia will be tough to fend off. Cowan is another player who could play either the 3-4 defensive end spot or the tackle spot and succeed and he has the talent to make an early impact. Still, there are other players along the defensive line right now that should take presidence over Cowan.
3✮ RB D.J. Jones- Pine Forest (Fayetteville, NC)
While the Heels are currently in good shape at the running back position, the graduation of Antonio Williams at the end of the 2019 season and the always possible NFL draft declaration from Michael Carter, makes running back a bit more important than many may realize. The Heels will need a running back to offset the power of Elijah Burris who is currently committed to the class. Jones does just that and that’s why it’s big news that the Heels are, in many recruiting expert’s mind, in a two team battle with Michigan for his commitment.
4✮ WDE Antwaun Powell- I.C. Norcom (Portsmouth, VA)
We have to close this list out with another defensive linemen that will have the ability to play that rush end position that is needed in the Jay Bateman’s scheme. Powell left the Heels out of his top school list back in April, but has re-evaluated Carolina over the past few weeks and is still a target for Carolina. The issue is, with all of the targets that are ahead of him, it’s tough to put him higher on this list.