Heel Tough Blog: Tar Heels Add Second 4✮ Running Back in 2022 Class


Jason McCollum

The Tar Heels added yet another significant piece to a talent-ladened 2022 class on Wednesday evening, continuing their construction of a smaller class that could very well finish inside the top ten nationally. Shortly after 6:30 on Wednesday, 2022 4✮ RB George Pettaway announced his commitment to Mack Brown and the Tar Heels over Florida, Penn State, Oregon and others, giving the Tar Heels their second running back commitment of the class, joining fellow 4✮ Omarion Hampton, who committed to Carolina earlier this summer.


Pettaway, the No. 7 running back in the country and No. 98 overall player in the 2022 class according to 247Sports, has had an extremely productive prep career. He is currently in the midst of his senior season at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy in Suffolk, VA and is putting up some ridiculous numbers for the Saints who are off to a 3-1 start. In those four games, Pettaway has run for 749 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 43 carries and has also caught eight passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Those outstanding numbers follow a shortened junior season from the spring where he ran for 714 yards and 14 touchdowns and caught six passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns and was named to the All-Tidewater team by the Virginian-Pilot. As a sophomore, he was named first team all-state by the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association in a season where he ran for 516 yards and nine touchdowns and 11 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. Back in 2018, he ran for 877 yards and 11 touchdowns while adding 118 yards on eleven catches as a receiver out of the backfield. His explosion onto the scene came in 2017, when he ran for 666 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 14 passes for 208 yards in his first season with the program.


Pettaway is a great compliment to the edgy running style that they are getting with Hampton. He has some of the best speed and acceleration of any commit that the Tar Heels have had in the backfield in recent years and he accelerates in the open field in the snap of a finger. His speed can usually get the job done for him against the competition that he faces, but he does have the shiftiness to his game that allows him to make people miss when he puts a foot in the ground and changes directions and his 2019 film is full of clips with him making countless defenders miss in the open field. He also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and run some pretty solid routes from behind the line of scrimmage. There isn’t much of a physical edge to his game, but that is something that his fellow classmate brings plenty of physicality to the room in this class. Pettaway is a dynamic threat out of the backfield and should fit this offensive scheme like a glove.


This commitment gives the Tar Heels their fifth commitment from the state of Virginia, a state where the team has done a lot of damage in the class. Amongst the top ten players in the state for the cycle, the Tar Heels hold three commitments and are in good positions with the top two uncommitted players. The Tar Heels also plucked away Bryson Jennnings, a Virginia Tech legacy, earlier this summer, a telling sign for just how big of an impact this staff is having on the state right now.


With Pettaway’s commitment, the Tar Heels now have 14 prospects committed to the 2022 class. The commitment keeps the class at 13th overall in the country and 3rd in the ACC, but does close them in that top ten in the class. The focus for the Tar Heels now shifts almost fully to that top rated duo of Zach Rice and Andre Greene Jr. from the state of Virginia.

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