It is extremely early for 2026 prospects to be narrowing down their school lists, but that was the case yesterday for 2026 5✮ LB Tyler Atkinson.
Atkinson, the No. 12 overall prospect in the 2026 class according to 247Sports Composite player rankings, released his top ten schools on Wednesday via a post by On3 Sports’s Hayes Fawcett. The Tar Heels, who offered him back in January, are one of the ten alongside Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Tennessee and Texas.
The offer from the Tar Heels came on his lone trip to Chapel Hill. While it isn’t may not seem like much, that one is more than three of his other finalists and clearly did enough to keep the Tar Heels in the running.
The Georgia Bulldogs are the team with the early advantage, though, having hosted him six times, including once this season already. Alabama and Florida State have hosted him three times, with the Crimson Tide already having him in for a game this season as well. While the Tar Heels are a part of his top ten, it’s going to take a lot for them to catch the teams battling at the top of this race.
Atkinson is currently in the midst of an outstanding sophomore season at Grayson High School in Loganville, GA. In five games this season, he has 60 total tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.