The Tar Heels' struggles to land blue-chip prospects in this 2024 class has become a concerning development of the past month. While the class already has twelve commitments, not a single player ranks in the top 300 according to 247Sports Composite rankings. The team's issues couldn’t be more evident than at quarterback, where the team missed on each of their first three targets, leaving them to search for other options. Even that started out bumpy, with their first second-tier option seemingly sticking with his commitment to another school. After digging even deeper, the team has finally found their quarterback in this cycle.
On Saturday night, 3✮ QB Michael Merdinger announced via social media an offer from the Tar Heel staff and, just moments later, the team picked up a crystal ball prediction from Steve Wiltfong to land his commitment. Now, not even 24 hours after the announcement of the offer, he has popped in favor of the Tar Heels.
The Fort Lauderdale-based quarterback is a player that is on the rise in the 2024 class. His high school head coach called him “hotter than fish grease” earlier this offseason and he’s not wrong. While he still remains outside of the top 1000 prospects according to 247Sports, Merdinger has been making strides this offseason. He showed out at the Elite 11 regional in Orlando where he won the award as the most accurate quarterback in attendance with a host of other quarterbacks with far better recruiting rankings in attendance. That led to plenty of interest from power conference programs, including the Tar Heels, who had been in talks with him for a little over a month prior to yesterday’s offer and today’s commitment.
Much like the rest of this class, this is a player that has a lot of upside but he might have the least production of anyone in this class. Merdinger has yet to become a full-time starter at the high school level, as he backed up Central Florida signee Dylan Rizk for the Chiefs this past season. He saw some decent backup reps and did start one game, finishing 2022 with 721 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception while completing 69.5% of his passes. This is a massive risk, but one that could pay off big time if he can develop.
This is far from the biggest recruiting addition in program history and honestly feels a lot like some of the additions that the team had late under Larry Fedora. With this class being full of guys like that, this group's development will go a long way toward determining the legacy of Mack Brown’s second stint in Chapel Hill.