Heel Tough Blog: NCHSAA's Spring Football Decision Means Many Tar Heel Commits HS Careers End

On Wednesday afternoon, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced their adjusted calendar for the 2020-21 school year. The 2020 fall season has been postponed to the spring of 2021, and with it, many of the Tar Heels top commits in the 2021 class have likely played the final game of their high school career. Let’s take a look at the Tar Heel commits from the state of North Carolina and their status for the spring season.

4✮ PRO Drake Maye- Myers Park (Charlotte, NC)

Status: Expected to Stay In School

Earlier this offseason, Maye, the Tar Heels’ top commitment in the class now that Tony Grimes reclassified, told the Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr. in an interview that at that time, he was planning to stay for his spring semester. However, the Tar Heel legacy hasn’t made anything official since yesterday’s announcement and there are some rumors saying he may still be thinking the decision over at this time. With all of the quarterbacks currently on the Tar Heel roster expected to return next year, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Maye play out his senior season at Myers Park but we will still have to wait and see something official.

4✮ SDE Keeshawn Silver- Rocky Mount (Rocky Mount, NC)

Status: Will Enroll Early

Silver confirmed not too long after the state’s decision came down that he would be enrolling early at Carolina and would not be playing for Rocky Mount in 2021. The depth on the Tar Heel defensive line won’t take much of a hit this offseason, meaning Silver will want to arrive early to give himself plenty of time to climb the ranks. While there is a lot of optimism around the defensive line unit this season, there is still a lot of unknown and Silver wants to do all he can to earn early playing time.

4✮ WR Gavin Blackwell- Sun Valley (Monroe, NC)

Status: Will Enroll Early

Last week on the QC Preps show in Charlotte, Blackwell confirmed that if the season was moved to the spring, he would be early enrolling. He will reunite with former high school teammate and current star quarterback Sam Howell and help soften the blow that the losses of Dazz Newsome and Rontavious Groves will have on the Tar Heel wide receiving corps. While Josh Downs might be the favorite to take over the starting, especially if he can have a big freshman season, Blackwell coming in early will give him a great chance to earn meaningful reps early.

4✮ OLB Raneiria Dillworth- Glenn (Kernersville, NC)

Status: Will Early Enroll

Dillworth, like Silver, wasted no time confirming that he was early enrolling and would not be participating in his senior season at Glenn High School. His skillset is one that the Tar Heels will gladly welcome in early and the earlier he arrives on campus, the better the chances this versatile linebacker will be able to help a unit that still lacks depth. His rare skill set will give him a great chance to be a key part of the Tar Heel defense early next year.

4✮ SDE Jahvaree Ritzie- Glenn (Kernersville, NC) Status: Will Enroll Early

Ritzie was another player who wasted no time revealing that he won’t be playing his senior season in the spring and will be early enrolling at Carolina. Similar to Silver, Ritzie is going to want to get in and begin to prove what he’ll bring to table as early as possible because of the amount of young talent that he will have to navigate on the depth chart. He has the skills and talent to earn a role right away, but with so many of the players on the defensive line fitting that montra, as well, he will need the extra time to help him prove himself.

4✮ ILB Power Echols- Vance (Charlotte, NC)

Status: Will Enroll Early

Echols is one of the most decorated defensive players in the state’s history, but he will not be adding to that legacy in the spring. Instead, he will be heading to Chapel Hill, where he will be competing to help replace Chazz Surratt in the middle of the Tar Heel defense. Echols is one of the best sideline-to-sideline linebackers to ever play in the state and while he won’t be adding to what will likely be remembered for years to come, he might just be the favorite to take over the vacant starting inside linebacker role this time next year.

4✮ ATH DeAndre Boykins- Central Cabarrus (Concord, NC) Status: Will Enroll Early

Boykins is yet another top talent that will be joining the Tar Heels as an early enrollee and forgo his senior season at Central Cabarrus High School. While Boykins is listed as an athlete and has seen some success at running back, the expectation is that the staff will be looking to use his talents as a nickel corner. Boykins is another player who has the talent, but will have to navigate a ton of depth to earn some time in his first season on campus. Arriving early will at least give him a shot to do that.

4✮ ATH Gabriel Stephens- Mountain Island Charter (Mt. Holly, NC) Status: Will Stay in School

Stephens was the first Tar Heel commit to announce he was staying in school following the NCHSAA’s decision. Stephens says that this was “not a football decision this is a commitment to brothers and our mission.” Stephens will be looking to help Mountain Island Charter bring home their first state title in program history in the spring before he heads to Chapel Hill where the staff will have some work to do to find where he fits best.

4✮ RB Kamarro Edmonds- Havelock (Havelock, NC)

Status: Will Stay in School

Edmonds has also revealed that he will stay in school for his final season at Havelock High School this fall. While there is a possibility that the Tar Heels could lose both Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, the NFL’s value on running back isn’t what it used to be meaning Williams will likely be back for his senior season. This is the way of saying there may not be a ton of early playing time available, so staying in school for the spring season won’t hurt Edmonds at all.

4✮ S Dontavius Nash- Hunter Huss (Gastonia, NC)

Status: Will Enroll Early

Nash penned an emotional letter to his high teammates and fans after the decision by the state, as he revealed he will not be back in the spring and will enroll early. The Tar Heel secondary is expected to be loaded again the next season, but the safety depth isn’t nearly as strong as what Boykins will face at corner. With him arriving early, Nash will be able to try and establish himself and earn some snaps as a true freshman.

3✮ WR Kobe Paysour- Kings Mountain (Kings Mountain, NC)

Status: Will Enroll Early

Paysour said a few weeks ago that if the season was moved to the spring, he may look to transfer to the state of South Carolina for his senior season because he is enrolling early at Carolina. With a possibility that both starters at the outside wide receiver spots could be gone if this season goes well for Dyami Brown, the Tar Heels will be glad to get Paysour in early to compete for reps.

3✮ ATH Tymir Brown- Jacksonville (Jacksonville, NC)

Status: Undecided

Brown is one of the quieter commits the Tar Heels currently have on social media and that is no different when it comes to this situation. Brown is another player that is listed as an athlete, but is expected to play cornerback whenever he arrives and as we’ve talked about, the Tar Heels depth at corner will remain strong, the Tar Heels aren’t needing him to early enroll and compete for reps, leaving the door open for him to make the decision that is best for him.

3✮ ATH Caleb Hood- Richmond (Rockingham, NC)

Status: Undecided

This might be the most fluid situation out of all of the guys that we’ve talked about so far because of just how many factors go into this decision. On one hand, the staff would love to get him on campus as early as possible so they can work on finding where they think he fits best, whether that’s at quarterback, running back, safety or somewhere else. On the other hand, though, Hood is the leader of one of the top teams in the state that wants revenge from last season and is set up to be able to do so this season. I think this decision will depend a lot on how many of his teammates return and if there is still a spot available for an early enrollee.

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