The Tar Heels hosted their annual summer gathering of top recruiting prospects dubbed the “Carolina Cookout” on Saturday in Chapel Hill. There was plenty of buzz about a commit coming on the 2022 trail from one of the Tar Heels top remaining targets in the class, but on Sunday night the team received its first commitment following the event and it was not from a member of that 2022 cycle. Instead the team landed their first commitment of the 2023 class.
Shortly before 10:30 on Sunday night, 2023 4✮ QB Tad Hudson announced his commitment to Mack Brown and the Tar Heels after he attended the Cookout on Saturday. Hudson had been closely tied to Phil Longo and the staff since they offered him last February.
Hudson is set to kick off his junior season at Hough High School in Cornelius, NC in one of the top high school showcase events in the state of North Carolina, the OrthoCarolina Kickoff Classic. Last year as a sophomore in a COVID-shortened spring season, he threw for 1549 yards and a 16-9 TD-INT ratio earning all-conference honors and leading the Huskies to a conference title in the now-defunct I-Meck 4A conference, one that is widely regarded as the toughest in the state of North Carolina year in and year out. He and the Huskies were unfortunately knocked out in the 4AA quarterfinals by the eventual state champion Vance Cougars, a team who they upset earlier in the season to win the conference title. As a freshman back in the fall of 2019, Hudson took over in the Huskies first-round playoff game, leading them to victory before the team would fall to current Tar Heel running back Caleb Hood and the Richmond Raiders in the second round of the playoffs despite his three touchdown performance.
When watching Hudson’s film, it’s no shock why Phil Longo feels like he will be a great fit in his system. His deep ball accuracy is tremendous and he has a very strong arm to go with it that will allow him to succeed in this Tar Heel offense that has its most success with a quarterback that can drive the ball down the field. He has a solid base when he has a clean pocket and a nice delivery to go with it, but his footwork can definitely get a bit sloppy when he is under pressure. The interception numbers are definitely a bit concerning, as he has thrown 12 already in his career while starting just ten games, but that is something that you would imagine will be worked on in his final two seasons at the high school level and even into college if it proceeds. He, like when Sam Howell was in high school, already has a great frame that won’t need to be added to that much when he arrives, although he will be a much more pocket-based quarterback than Howell or even 2021 quarterback signee Drake Maye. The arm talent is there, now it’s just about cleaning up some of the risky throws, something that Longo and the staff will hope to see him do before he arrives to campus in a few years.
With the commitment, the Tar Heels have their first of the 2023 class and one of the top players in the state in the cycle. This is a nice start for the staff in a class that will have a chance to be one of the best in terms of talent in state history.