The Tar Heels have gotten off to a bit of a slow start in the 2023 recruiting class following the struggles that they had on the field in 2021. The team entered Tuesday with just one commit in the class, a commitment that took place way back in August of last year.
However, earlier today, the team landed a commitment from 2023 3✮ OT Nolan McConnell to break a stretch of 275 days without a commitment in the class. McConnell, who the team offered back in early March, commits to Carolina over Virginia, Penn State and others after taking multiple visits to Chapel Hill since his offer. He was the first offer at the time from new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. who carried the relationship over from his time at Louisville.
McConnell is set to enter his senior season at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford, VA after being a contributor on both sides of the ball in his first three prep seasons. This past season, McConnell was named an All-Area honorable mention by the Free Lance-Star and second team all-district for a Colonial Forge team that finished 4-7 on the season. That followed a 2020 (Spring of 2021) season where he also took home All-Area honorable mention honors as part of a Colonial Forge offense that yielded the offensive player of the year in the region.
McConnell has good size at 6’7, 275 lbs and he uses that big frame well on tape. He has a strong first step that allows him to establish leverage on many reps that he had in each of the last two seasons and his hand placement is outstanding in most of those reps as well. He plays with the mean streak that the Tar Heels need in their offensive linemen as he simply steamrolls through guys in run blocking reps. He is not the most fleet of foot offensive lineman that we’ve seen commit to the Tar Heels in recent years, but he still looks pretty solid in pull blocking situations. He will be a work in progress as a pass protector because of the type of offense that Colonial Forge runs and the level of competition might be a bit of concern as well. McConnell is a guy that will likely need a little bit of time to grow when he first arrives to campus, but with his physicality and sound technique, he is a guy who is more than capable of being a key part of the team’s offensive line moving forward.
With the commitment of McConnell, the Tar Heels 2023 class moves inside of the top 50 according to 247Sports Composite team rankings and sits 8th in the ACC. Mack Brown said a couple of weeks ago that he thought the months of May and June would be huge for this 2023 class and so far the team is off to a positive start.