Heel Tough Blog: Weekly Storylines- February 6th
National Signing Day 2022 may have been a silent one for the Tar Heels on Wednesday, but this was another lively week around Tar Heel football. Here is a look at the storylines that you may have this week around the program.
Patrick Suddes Hired as Billy High Replacement
While this hire might nto get as much attention as the coaching staff hires did this offseason, the Tar Heels hire of Patrick Suddes as the team’s new Assistant AD of football and general manager was a big one. Suddes will come to Carolina from Georgia Tech where he held the same role for each of the past three seasons. He helped piece together one of the program’s best recruiting classes in 2020, landing in the top 25 according to Rivals. That was the first time in 13 years that the team had landed a top 25 class and just the second time in the program’s history. In the 2021, Suddes helped to make a big splash in the transfer portal, as the Yellow Jackets landed eleven transfer commitments. The Yellow Jackets did some nice work in the portal again this cycle to try to offset and small recruiting that had just 15 commitments. This isn’t his first time working for Mack Brown, as he was the director of player personeel in 2013 at Texas. Suddes spent the three years prior to his arrival to Georgia Tech at Auburn, the final two as the Assistant AD of football. The first nine years of his career, he worked with Nick Saban, spanning across his with LSU, the Miami Dolphins and Alabama. This is a tremendous hire for the Tar Heels.
Mack Brown Gets One Year Extension
The head coach of the Tar Heels received a one year extension from university on Wednesday following the completion of the historic 2022 recruiting class. Brown will now have a contract into January of 2027, as the university continues to show their support of the 70-year Hall of Famer despite a tough 2021 season on the field. Brown was grateful for the extension when he mentioned it in his press conference on Wednesday afternoon and pointed out how big of a benefit this is on the recruiting trail.
Sam Howell Steadies Stock at Senior Bowl
The buzz around the football world this week has been around the Reese’s Senior Bowl down in Mobile. The weekend was a great chance for the top quarterbacks in the 2022 draft class to separate themselves. Sam Howell may not have had the week that Malik Willis had, but he seemed to have a pretty nice week to sort of solidify his standing as a borderline first round quarterback. He had a nice start to the week on Tuesday before two quiet days to close the week in the practices. In the game on Saturday, Howell completed six of his nine passes for 67 yards and ran for 29 yards on five carries, scoring the lone touchdown of the day for the American squad when he found the endzone on a third quarter run. The only downside to the day was two fumbles for Howell, both which were recovered, but one of which showcased the biggest concern that many have with him, how long he holds the ball. However, this was a solid week for Howell and should be in position to still make a climb up the draft board if he can shine at the NFL Combine and his pro day.
Ty Chandler and Kyler McMichael Help Stock in Shrine Game
Howell wasn’t the only Tar Heel draft prospect that participated in an offseason bowl game this week. Both Ty Chandler and Kyler McMichael were in attendance for the East-West Shrine Game and really helped their stocks. Chandler was named to the all-practice team by the NFL Draft Bible and proceeded to shine in Thursday night’s primetime game, leading all ball carriers in the game with 69 yards on 11 carries and also catching one pass for eight yards. Meanwhile, McMichael was a standout in the defensive backfield throughout the week and had a solid showing on Thursday. After entering the week absent from nearly every major draft board, there is a legitimate chance he could start to appear on many of them in the near future.
Kevin Donnalley and Alex Marrs Moving Into New Roles
One of the first things that Mack Brown talked about in his press conference on Wednesday was the new roles that current staff members Kevin Donnalley and Alex Marrs were moving into. Donnalley, a former offensive tackle for the Tar Heels from 1987-90, joined the staff as the Director of High School Relations back in March of 2020 and will now be elevated to a new leadership role that was established by the Koman family. Brown says that Donnalley will also assist Darrell Moody in his evaluation of current players draft stock and help them in making decisions when considering entering the draft. Marrs will move into the Director of High School Relations role after spending the five years as a quality control coach.
Tar Heels Land Four Walk-On Commitments
After receiving their first walk-on commitment in the 2022 class, the Tar Heels added four more this past week. The week started with the team adding two walk-on linebackers in CJ Murphy and Major Byrd before two legacies announced their commitments to the program over the weekend. On Friday evening, Kellan Hood committed to the team, following in the footsteps of his father Errol Hood, who played for the team from 1998-01, and his brother, a current member of the team who just concluded his true freshman season. On Sunday night, he was joined by Deems May III, who will follow in his father’s footsteps as well.