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Heel Tough Blog: Weekly Storylines- February 20th

It has been a little over five weeks since the conclusion of the Tar Heel football season, but the first month of the offseason saw plenty of activity around the program as they look to bounce back from the disappointing 2021 season. This was the first quiet week of the offseason, but there were still some storylines from around the program that you may have missed.

@UNCFootball- Twitter

Five Former Tar Heels Receive NFL Combine Invites

The NFL Scouting Combine is now about three weeks away and on Wednesday, the list of participants for the event was released. Amongst the group of 324 prospects that received an invite were five Tar Heels. Ty Chandler, Joshua Ezeudu, Jeremiah Gemmel, Sam Howell and Marcus McKethan will all have the chance to improve their draft stock in Indianapolis, while Tomon Fox, Kyler McMichael and Jordan Tucker will have to wait until Tar Heel Pro Day for their next shot to impress scouts. The invites for Gemmel and Ezeudu are important considering they did not get to participate in all-star games. The most shocking snub for the Tar Heels was McMichael, who impressed many with his performance in the East-West Shrine Game. The combine will take place in Indy March 1st through the 7th.

@schoettcalla- Twitter

Jeff Schoettmer Leaving Defensive Staff

Earlier this week, it was announced that the Tar Heels were losing one of the more veteran members of the defensive staff. After four seasons as a defensive grad assistant and a defensive analyst, Jeff Schoettmer will be leaving the staff despite his former defensive coordinator as a player, Gene Chizik, returning to Chapel Hill. Schoettmer had worked closely with linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen since taking the job back in 2018, primarily spending time with the inside linebackers, helping aid in the development of Chazz Surratt and Jeremiah Gemmel amongst others. He has also helped train former Tar Heel linebacker and current Washington Commanders standout, Cole Holcomb, in the offseason. This is a loss that could have a bigger impact than many may realize.

@B_Quatro4- Twitter/ @CoachHawk_k9- Twitter

Bryson Allen-Williams and Kyre Hawkins Join Defensive Staff

Even though the staff is losing Schoettmer, they added two graduate assistants to the staff this past week on the defensive side of the football. Former South Carolina inside linebacker will come to Carolina after spending the last two seasons under former South Carolina assistant Shawn Elliott as the quality control coach at Georgia State. He will be a defensive grad assistant, but as of right now, his specific role has not been revealed. He will be joined by another former linebacker in Kyre Hawkins, who announced that he will be departing Colorado to take a job with the Tar Heel staff. The former James Madison national champion has been around the coaching world since concluding his playing career, spending time as a graduate assistant with East Carolina, a short stint as the inside linebackers coach and run game coordinator with Division II Alderson-Broaddus and a successful defensive line coaching stop at Division III Emory & Henry before his arrival in Boulder. In his time as the defensive line coach with Emory & Henry in the spring of 2021, his group led the country in sacks with 26 sacks in four games and produced the conference player of the year and three all-conference players. He will be an assistant to Tim Cross on the defensive line this season.

@conner_harrell- Instagram

Conner Harrell Wins High School Football America National Player of the Year

The High School Football America National Player of the Year award is one of the most prestigious awards given out nationally each season for high school seniors and on Saturday it was announced that Tar Heel quarterback enrollee Conner Harrell was taking home the award for the 2021 season. In his final season at Thompson High School, he threw for 2,804 yards, 41 touchdowns and just three interceptions while completing 69.1% of his passes on the way to a third straight 7A state title. Harrell joins names like Derrick Henry, Leonard Fournette and Kyler Murray who have taken home the award in its ten year existence and he is the first ever prospect to win the award that was ranked outside of the top 250 prospects in the country according to 247Sports. The Tar Heels really got a steal here.

@rledits24- Twitter

Tar Heels Out of the Running For 2023 4✮ EDGE Tomarrion Parker

The Tar Heels have not gotten off to the fastest start in the 2023 and last Wednesday they were eliminated from running for a player that they appeared to be in good standing with early on in his recruitment. Tomarrion Parker, a 4✮ edge rusher from Phenix City, Alabama, was someone with who the Tar Heels seemed to establish a strong connection with last year after offering and hosting him a few times during this past season. However, a trip to Georgia back in mid-January and a new round of offers completely changed his recruitment and led to the Tar Heels being excluded from his top five. This isn’t something that should be overly concerning in terms of the overall outlook of the class, but this certainly stings after it felt early on that you had a fighting chance in this battle.

@JarvisHicksJr1- Twitter/ @myersparkfball- Twitter

Tar Heels Add Two More Walk-Ons to 2022 Class

The Tar Heels might be done with the scholarship portion of the 2022 recruiting class, but when it comes to the preferred walk-on’s, the team is still working. The staff handed out four more PWO offers in the past two weeks and landed two more commitments from the group, starting early last week with offensive tackle Jarvis Hicks Jr.. In 2021, he received preseason All-State honorable mention and postseason All-County honors while finishing the season with 20 pancake blocks. On Wednesday, the team added safety Phillips Alvarez from Myers Park, their second commitment from the Charlotte-area powerhouse amongst the preferred walk-ons in this class. As a senior this past season, Alvarez finished with 50 total tackles and five pass deflections. With the commitment of Major Byrd to the team as a preferred walk-on a couple of weeks ago, the team now has three walk-on’s joining the team from Myers Park High School this summer.


-2023 4✮ ATH Lewis Carter

-2023 3✮ LB Caleb LaVallee

-2023 3✮ TE Vance Bolyard

-2023 3✮ CB Colton Hood

-2023 3✮ CB Kaleb Cost

-2023 3✮ LB Jeremiah Telander

-2023 3✮ OT Oluwatosin Babalade

-2023 DL Jaybron Harvey

-2023 ATH Jordan Bass


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