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Heel Tough Blog: Weekly Storylines- May 16th

The Tar Heels are officially back into offseason mode and that means that it is time for the return of weekly storylines to the Heel Tough Blog. Here is a look at the biggest stories from around Tar Heel football this week as we hit the middle of May.

@Ricowalker15- Twitter

Tar Heels A Part of 2023 In-State Edge Rusher Rico Walker’s Top Eleven

Walker may very well be the most important in-state target to land at this point in the 2023 class for the Tar Heels and on Sunday they landed in his final eleven. Carolina is joined by Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State and Tennessee as those still in the running for his commitment right now. The Tar Heels have been the leader here for a while now, but both Clemson and Tennessee have made pushes to make this a closer race than once thought. Still, the Tar Heel staff has to feel pretty confident about where they are at right now.

@noah1rogers- Instagram

Tar Heels Crack Top Five For 2023 In-State Wide Receiver Noah Rogers

The top player in the state of North Carolina in the 2023 class announced his top five with the Tar Heels remaining in the hunt earlier this week. The 4✮ wide receivers from Rolesville High School in Rolesville, NC announced via social media his final five of Carolina, Clemson, Florida State, NC State and Ohio State. According to the recruiting experts, while this is a top five, this recruitment has seemingly become a two-horse race for his commitment. The Buckeyes look to be the leader right now and are starting to garner expert’s predictions in their favor as a result with NC State being the challenger after they had the early lead for him. Right now, it appears like the Tar Heels are on the outside looking in and would need to blow his mind on a visit this summer to even have any shot.

@paulbillupsii- Instagram

Tar Heels Amongst the Final Eight For 3Wide Receiver Paul Billups Jr.

Another one of the Tar Heels' major wide receiver targets narrowed down his list to eight earlier this week. Early on Wednesday morning, just after midnight, 2023 3✮ WR Paul Billups Jr. revealed the eight schools remaining in the running for him via social media. The Tar Heels are joined by Duke, Florida State, Michigan State, Penn State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and West Virginia as those that are still in the running to land his commitment. The Tar Heels have been the long time favorite here and continue to remain in that position as they look to strengthen their pipeline in the state of Virginia.

@_.braedenn- Instagram

Tar Heels One of Ten Remaining For 3Corner Braeden Marshall

The Tar Heels made the cut for this Florida defensive prospect who announced his final schools on Tuesday. The Tar Heels, who hosted him the previous weekend, are joined by Arkansas, Central Florida, Clemson, Miami, Nebraska, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Wisconsin as the teams remaining in the running for his services. Marshall has also set his official visits with the Tar Heels (June 24-26) and Penn State (June 17-19), which might just indicate that those two are the leaders for him right now. Getting that final swing in is a big win for the Tar Heels in this one as well.

@rob3billings- Instagram

Tar Heels Land in Recent Offer’s Top Eight

Last Friday the Tar Heels officially extended an offer to 2023 3✮ S Robert Billings and now, just a little over a week later, they are one of the final eight schools in the running for his services. They are joined by Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Kentucky, Michigan, Ole Miss and Oregon in that final eight. Clemson and Ole Miss look to be the favorites right now in this pursuit, but the Tar Heels made a statement by being included in this narrowing down of his decision and can be a factor moving forward, if they want to be, in this recruitment.

Pair of 2023 4Defensive Linemen Set Official Visits for Next Weekend

Two major targets on the defensive line made it official that they will take an official visit to campus next weekend. 4✮’s Jamaal Jarrett and Joel Starlings will both take those officials together beginning on Friday as the Tar Heels look to throw a punch in two battles where they don’t appear to be the favorites as of right now. With Jarrett, the Tar Heels are in need of a strong visit with Georgia continuing to extend its lead in the race and Clemson and Texas A&M making pushes after late offers. As for Starlings, the Tar Heels seem to be in a pretty solid spot, but could use a really good visit to vault them into the driver’s seat which appears to belong to South Carolina right now.

@jcfromda404- Twitter

Three More Targets Set Official Visits for Final Weekend in June

As we told you above, 2023 3✮ CB Braeden Marshall set his official visit to Carolina for the final weekend in June and he wasn’t the only Tar Heel target to confirm a visit for June 24-26 this week. 3✮ IOL Robert Grigsby, 3✮ DL Joshua Horton and 3✮ S Zachary Tobe all announced on Tuesday that they will be taking official visits in that final weekend of June, presumably giving the staff the final crack at these prospects who look to be heading towards summer decisions. They have to feel confident with their standing in each of these recruitments, especially in Tobe’s where they are the heavy favorites.

Schuyler Callihan- AllPanthers on Sports Illustrated

Eleven Former Tar Heels Participate in NFL Rookie Mini Camps

As of Sunday night, all 32 teams in the NFL have completed their rookie mini camps which featured eleven former Tar Heel participants spanned across the league. The four former players who were drafted this year (Ty Chandler- Vikings, Sam Howell- Commanders, Joshua Ezeudu- Giants, Marcus McKethan- Giants) and the six undrafted players that were signed to teams (Grayson Atkins- Colts, Jeremiah Gemmel- 49ers, Tomon Fox- Giants, Kyler McMichael- Buccaneers, Jordan Tucker- Steelers, Garrett Walston- 49ers) were all in action as expected, but a former Tar Heel veteran of the NFL was also in action over the weekend. Ryan Switzer, a standout for the Tar Heels from 2013-16, participated in Carolina Panthers rookie camp this weekend as he looks to bounce back from injury issues that have kept him off the field in each of the past two seasons.

@teagenlenderink- Instagram

Teagan Lenderink Transferring to Liberty

This is a transfer that may have flown under the radar because he is not on scholarship, but the Tar Heels are losing one of their backup kickers to transfer. Redshirt freshman kicker Teagan Lenderink announced via social media on Monday of this past week that he was leaving the Tar Heel program after one season and transferring to Liberty. The Tar Heels are in the process of replacing Grayson Atkins, who handled the place-kicking duties in each of the past two seasons, as junior Jonathan Kim appears to be set to take over, but struggled a bit with consistency according to Mack Brown at the conclusion of spring camp. The good news for the Tar Heels is that sophomore Noah Burnette and redshirt freshman Todd Pledger are still on the roster to provide depth and other options if Kim was to struggle that badly early in the season.


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