Heel Tough Blog: Tar Heels Continue Hot Streak, Add 3✮ EDGE to Class


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Mack Brown said earlier this offseason that the months of May and June would be extremely important for the Tar Heels and the latter of those two months certainly has been lucrative for this staff. The Tar Heels landed their sixth commitment of the month and their third in the last four days on Wednesday afternoon when 2023 3✮ EDGE Tyler Thompson committed to them over Michigan, Duke and others.


Thompson’s commitment to the Tar Heels is something that didn’t look plausible coming into the weekend after Michigan appeared to knock his official visit out of the park. The Wolverines entered last Friday with all of the momentum and crystal ball forecasts for him, but the trip to Chapel Hill clearly made a major impact on him. Now, not even a week removed from appearing to be a Michigan lock, Thompson is now a part of Carolina’s 2023 class.


Thompson, the No. 54 edge rusher in the class according to 247Sports, is preparing for his senior season at Panther Creek High School in Cary, NC where he has had an extremely successful first three years. Last year as a junior, he had a monster season for one of the best Panther Creek teams in years, tallying 75 total tackles, 39.0 tackles for loss and 19.0 sacks, landing him third team all-state honors courtesy of HighSchoolOT.com. That built upon a sophomore season, his first with the varsity team, where wracked up 39 total tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. Thompson was also a key member of the Panther Creek basketball team each of the last two seasons, helping lead the team on a magical run to the 4A state finals where they would fall to Weddington.


Thompson is one of those guys that simply lives in the backfield when you turn on the film. He has really nice speed off the edge, but he is an extremely physical player, as well and that is what allows him to shed blockers so easily. He has a powerful upper body that combines with nice overall length that makes him tough to stop when coming off the edge and even allowed to succeed inside a bit in high school. He also does a nice job of mixing in some of the finesse moves as well to help free himself up and get to the quarterback. He has a nice first step off the line of scrimmage and that closing speed in space makes him a nightmare for quarterbacks and even running backs. The biggest concern with him, especially in the new system, will be his size, as he has just 205 lbs. on his 6’5 frame. While it may keep him off the field early, if he can add the weight and continue to build the upper body and powerful first punch, he should be able to get himself into the conversation at RUSH end.


With the commitment, the Tar Heels class rises up the 247Sports Composite team rankings once again, as they jump from 44th up to 38 overall and up to ninth in the ACC from 11th. The staff now prepares for two more major commitments to close out the week, with major targets Christian Hamilton and Jaybron Harvey set to announce their decisions on Friday.

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