This was another busy week in and around Tar Heel football as the month of January comes to a close. With it being a busy one, there are some storylines that you may have missed and we’re here to get you caught up.
Major Recruiting Weekend Underway
This might be the biggest recruiting weekend of the offseason as many of the team’s major targets in the 2023 class and a few from the 2024 class will be on campus for unofficial visits. The 2023 group will be headlined by the team’s lone commit in the class, 4✮ QB Tad Hudson, and big time in-state targets such as 4✮ WR Christian Hamilton and 3✮ OT Jamaal Jarrett. The group will also include some major out-of-state targets like 4✮ S Michael Daugherty and 4✮ DL Joel Starlings and big time 2024 prospects such as ATH Jonathan Paylor and OT Kam Pringle. With the team seeing some early targets in the 2023 class trending elsewhere, this is an important weekend for that class in particular.
Corey Gaynor Expected to Be Ready for 2022, Excited to Play for Searls
Gaynor was the first of the Tar Heels two transfers to speak on Thursday to the media about his decision to transfer to Carolina this offseason. He was concise and to the point with his answers about his move and what he has been told about the role he will play but he did give an important update about the injury that cost him the final ten games of this past season. He said that everything is going well right now with his rehab and that he is expecting to be ready for the start of this upcoming season, a big boost for a Tar Heel offensive line that needs him in this process of rebuilding that unit.
Noah Taylor Was Likely Heading Back to Virginia Before Visiting Chapel Hill
Taylor, the Tar Heels other transfer commitment in this current class, took to the podium following Gaynor to talk about his transfer in the division and dropped an extremely interesting tidbit about how he ended up at Carolina. He said that originally he was “80%” sure that he was going to return to Virginia for his final season when he entered the portal and up until his visit to Chapel Hill. However, he immediately fell in love with the campus when he arrived and now is excited to close out his career with Mack Brown and Gene Chizik. Many may be wondering about his fit in Chizik’s scheme, but he is confident in his versatility and has the stats to back it up.
Larry Fedora Named Head Coach of New Orleans Breakers
The USFL is set to resume in April of this year and while Gene Chizik, who was named the coach of the Birmingham Stallions a few days before taking the defensive coordinator job with Mack Brown to return to Chapel Hill, isn’t going to be coaching the league, a former Tar Heel coach will be heading up one of the sidelines. On Thursday, it was announced that Larry Fedora, the Tar Heels head man from 2012 through 2018, will be the head coach of the New Orleans Breakers. In his seven seasons with the Tar Heels, Fedora finished with a 45-43 overall record, leading the program to its first double-digit win season since 1997 in 2015 when the team went 11-3. This will be his first head coaching job since the Tar Heels parted ways with him back in 2018 after a 5-18 record in his final two seasons. This will also be his return to coaching after he sat out the 2021 season after being let go after one year with the Baylor Bears as their offensive coordinator in 2020.
2022 TE Jake Young Commits as PWO
The Tar Heels have their first preferred walk-on commitment of the 2022 class as of Thursday night. Jake Young, a tight end from Marvin Ridge High School in Waxhaw, NC, announced via social media that he will be continuing his football career with the Tar Heels, spurning 10 FCS offers and FBS offers from Army and Marshall. In his final high school season, he caught 23 passes for 289 yards in the eight games that he played in and helped pave the way for a Marvin Ridge offense that averaged 153.5 rushing yards per game.
Team Extends Eight Offers With Heavy Focus on Trenches and Secondary
This was another big week of traveling for the coaching staff and that once again resulted in a big week for offers. The big focus early on in the week was the defensive backfield, as they offered two corners, Antonio Robinson, a 4✮ in the 2023 class, and Zion Ferguson, a prospect that has yet to be ranked in the 2024 class, and two safeties, Jordan Castell, a 3✮ prospect in the 2023 class, and Zachary Tobe, also a 3✮ prospect in that class. Late in the week, the focus turned to the hog mollies up front, as they extended offers to 2023 OT Ian Geffrard, 2023 IOL Johnathan Cline and 2023 DL Semaj Turner. The biggest offer of the week, though, may have been the preferred walk-on offer extended to Deems May III, who will now have the chance to follow his dad’s legacy with the Tar Heels.