To say this weekend is a huge deal for Tar Heel football might be an understatement. Not only is Mack Brown hosting the Showtime camp that takes the place of Larry Fedora’s famous Freakshow camp, but two major 2020 Tar Heel targets are set to announce their commitments. Let’s take a look at the two prospects that are set to commit and where we see each of these major targets landing.
Trenton Simpson OLB/Mallard Creek (Charlotte, NC)
Decision: Today at 4:00 PM EST
247Sports Ranking: No. 52 overall, No. 4 OLB
Rivals Ranking: No. 76 overall, No. 8 OLB
ESPN Ranking: No. 111 overall, No. 9 OLB Scouting Report: Simpson would be a phenomenal fit in Jay Bateman’s defense that thrives on positionless football. Simpson has the sideline-to-sideline athleticism and tackling ability that makes him a phenomenal fit at the linebacker position that he will take on full-time this season as a senior. His coverage ability is that of a safety and is what makes him such a well-rounded prospect.
Expected Decision: Carolina was the favorite to land Simpson’s services up until his May 31st official visit to Auburn. Since that weekend, Inside Carolina is reporting that communications between Simpson and the Tar Heel coaching staff have been nearly completely severed. Since that point, Simpson has canceled the remainder of his official visits and everything has been trending in the direction of the Tigers. At this point, it would be an absolute shock if he didn't end up committing to Auburn this afternoon.
Where Does Carolina Go Next?: It’s important for Carolina to add linebackers in this 2020 class, as the Heels enter the 2019 season with just ten scholarship linebackers to fill four linebacker spots. While this number may fluctuate throughout fall camp until they figure out exactly who will stand up and who put their hand in the dirt, it is still a small number and will only get smaller over the offseason. The Heels do have one linebacker already committed in this cycle in 4✮ ILB Ethan West, but will need to add at least one, maybe two more linebackers to this class to feel comfortable. The issue is that, as of the moment, the Heels are not in a strong position with any of the linebackers in the 2020 class. That could mean the Heels will look to hand out some more offers at both inside and outside linebacker. Depending on how things fill out in the 2020 cycle, Cameron Roseman-Sinclair might be forced to move to linebacker. Also keep an eye on names like 3✮ WDE Quentin Williams and 3✮ WDE Stephen Sings who could stand up at the next level.
Timothy Lawson OT/National Christian Academy (Fort Washington, MD)
Decision: Tomorrow at 12:00 PM EST
247Sports Ranking: No. 925 overall, No. 82 OT
Rivals Ranking: No. N/A overall, No. N/A OT
ESPN Ranking: No. N/A overall, No. 56 OT Scouting Report: Lawson’s pass protection skills make him a great fit for Phil Longo’s air raid offense. Lawson has really strong footwork for a high school tackle and his hand placement is also really encouraging. He played both guard and tackle at the high school level, as well, showing he has some flexibility along the offensive line. He will have to add some weight, as he is only 275 lbs., but he seems like he has the skill set to make an impact at tackle at the college level.
Expected Decision: When he announced he would make his decision earlier this week, he listed the three schools that he will be deciding between. In an all-ACC affair, the 247sports crystal ball has a strong lean towards Louisville, but his last official visit was to Chapel Hill this past weekend and many believe that visit had an effect on Lawson. That's why this feels like more of a 50/50 decision between the Heels and Louisville.
Where Does Carolina Go Next?: The Heels do have two offensive linemen, 3✮ OT Trey Zimmerman and 3✮ OG Malik McGowan, already committed to the class, so if Lawson was to land with Carolina, the class would already be in phenomenal shape. Still, whether they land Lawson or not, this likely is not the end for the Heels on the offensive line. With the amount of attrition that has taken place along the offensive line over the last few seasons, it makes sense to look to add to this offensive line class. If Lawson does head to Louisville, the Heels will continue to look for that offensive tackle to add to the class, which would likely mean the focus would almost solely turn to 3✮ OT Anthony Carter Jr.. Carter Jr. will be pursued heavily by this staff regardless of the outcome with Lawson, but the other name to keep an eye on is Lawson’s high school teammate, 4✮ OG Aaryn Parks, who decommitted from Penn State on Wednesday.