If you would have told Tar Heel fans on this same date a year ago that the 2020 class would be 23 members strong, many would have laughed you out of the conversation. However, here we are on August 15th, 2019 and Mack Brown and the Tar Heels are just two members shy of filling their 2019 class. Thursday’s commitment was a big one for the Tar Heels 2020 class in more than one was, though. Not only did it add another 4✮ talent to the class, it also addressed a key position of need for the team in the 2020 class.
Shortly before 8:00 on Thursday night, Conley announced his commitment to the Tar Heels over his three other finalists, South Carolina, Duke and Virginia Tech. Conley, the No. 25 safety in the 2020 class according to 247Sports, finished his junior season at Northside-Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville, NC with 79 total tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, three interceptions and three pass deflections, while also totaling 807 yards of total offense and ten touchdowns on 83 touches. Conley also averaged 38.8 yards per kick return and 27.4 yards per punt return and reached the end zone three times on special teams a year ago.
It’s easy to see why Conley was a high priority target of Bateman and his staff when you turn on his film. Conley has the sideline-to-sideline speed that allows him to be anywhere in the blink of an eye and the minute he gets there, he will make opposing ball carriers pay. That closing speed is what also makes him a perfect fit at free safety, where you have to be able to cover a large portion of the field quickly. The one question that some may have is his ability to takeaway the football, but three interceptions out of a primarily in-the-box safety role is a solid number. His special teams ability can’t be overlooked and almost guarantees he will see early playing time in Chapel Hill next season.
With Conley’s commitment, the Tar Heels have two of the top safeties in the country and the top two safeties in the state of North Carolina committed to the 2020 class. One would think that this is enough depth at safety, but if 4✮ Malcolm Greene is still looking at Carolina, it may be hard to turn him away.
Conley’s commitment keeps the Tar Heels 2020 class at No. 17 in the 247Sports Composite Rankings and No. 4 in the ACC rankings.
Earlier in the day, 2020 3✮ DT Tonka Hemmingway announced his college decision between his five finalists that he release back in May. Hemmingway, the No. 28 defensive tackle in the 2020 class, chose South Carolina, the school many thought he would commit to over the Tar Heels, Duke, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
The Tar Heels 2020 class is still in phenomenal shape on the defensive line, where the Tar Heels currently have four players committed, including 4✮ SDE Myles Murphy and 4✮ DT Kedrick Bingley-Jones. The Heels are also the leader in the clubhouse for 5✮ WDE Desmond Evans, who will have a spot in this class if he wants it no matter how many players are signed.