The Tar Heels are off to a great start in the 2022 recruiting cycle, as they have already landed three major commitments in the class, all from the state of Virginia. On Friday, the Tar Heels dipped into the in-state pool for the first time in the cycle when they landed one of the top pass rushers in the class.
A short time ago, 2022 4✮ OLB Malaki Hamrick, the No. 12 outside linebacker in the class and the No. 5 player in the state of North Carolina, announced his commitment to Mack Brown and the Tar Heels via an announcement ceremony at his school. They were able to hold off a challenge from the Ohio State Buckeyes, as well as others, to land this commitment, continuing the building of the fence around the state on the recruiting trail.
Hamrick kicked off his junior season earlier in the evening with the Shelby Golden Lions who kicked off their 2020-21 spring season in search of another state championship. Hamrick was one of the best defensive players in the state of North Carolina back in the fall of 2019 for the state champion Golden Lions, who allowed just 7.0 points per game on their run to a second consecutive state title in their classification. He finished the season with 129 total tackles, 39.0 tackles for loss and 19.0 sacks, all which ranked either first or second on the team a year ago. That was enough to earn him all-conference, all-state and all-region first team honors and even landed him on the USA Today preseason high school All-American second team. He jumped onto the scene back in 2018 as a freshman when he finished with 63 total tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks, earning all-conference honors, an impressive feat for a freshman especially at Shelby.
Hamrick is a phenomenal straight line pass rusher at the high school level and with his production, it’s hard to see him not having a chance to succeed at the college level as well in this Jay Bateman system. His speed and quick release off the line of scrimmage will make him tough for slower offensive tackles to get their hands on and he uses his finesse moves well to navigate past the ones that can get their hands on him. Although he will have to add some weight if he wants to succeed at the edge rusher position that we think he will play with the Tar Heels, he has already shown that he doesn’t mind playing with a physical edge which does allow to help in run defense. He has really good length, something the Tar Heels like to have at that edge rusher position, so the only real area where there is concern is with his weight. Hamrick is yet another talented edge rusher that looks to be part of the continuing evolution of the Tar Heel pass rush.
With Hamrick’s commitment, the Tar Heels 2022 class is now four commitments strong and they have their first in-state commitment of the cycle. The class now ranks 15th overall according to the 247Sports Composite team rankings and 3rd in the ACC rankings. This could be the start of another legendary in-state class for the Tar Heels and this is a great starting piece to build that class with.