Heel Tough Blog: Where Will the Tar Heels Get a Defensive Tackle?

Defensive tackle is set to remain a position of need for the Tar Heels on the recruiting trail now that 2021 4✮ target Payton Page is committed to Clemson. The Tar Heels have just two true nose tackles on this roster right now, so adding depth here soon is important. We rate the options that the Tar Heels have when it comes to adding depth here.


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1. 2022 Class Addition

Unfortunately, this looks to be the most likely of the options at this point. The positive here is that the 2022 defensive tackle class is one of the best in recent memory, especially here in the state of North Carolina. The biggest prize in this class will be 5✮ Travis Shaw, but just like every other 5✮ defensive tackle prospect in the state over the last decade or so, the Tar Heels will likely have to fight off Clemson to land his commitment. The good news for the Tar Heels is that their recruiting reputation might be the best it’s been in the modern recruiting era and this staff is built to be competitive and even win some of these recruiting battles. The state is also home to two highly-sought after 4✮ prospects in Curtis Neal and Santana Hopper, both of whom to this point have seemed to establish strong foundational relationships with the staff. There will be other names who will emerge here, as well, including some inevitable out-of-state offers, so it would be a shock, even if they end up picking up some help in this class, if they don’t land at least one defensive tackle prospect in this class.


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2. 2021 Class Addition

The late push by the Tar Heels for Payton Page may have been a sign of where they feel they stand with some of their other major targets in this class. The Tar Heels are down to just two major targets at the position and rumors have said that the staff has potentially distanced themselves from 4✮ Tyleik Williams despite landing in his top six schools list just a few weeks ago. If that is true, the Tar Heels would be down to just one major target left here: the always unpredictable 4✮ Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins. While it feels like Ingram-Dawkins has a pretty solid relationship with both the staff and current commits, he seems to be all over the place and it’s hard to get a strong read on exactly who has an advantage in his recruitment. For that reason, it’s hard to instill much confidence in a scenario where he commits to Carolina. COVID-19 recruiting restrictions will almost certainly prevent the Tar Heels from being able to get any players currently committed elsewhere on campus to complete a flip. Landing a commitment is not looking nearly as good as it did at one time.


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3. Transfer Portal Addition

The staff opted against adding anyone this offseason from the transfer portal, speaking confidently about the group that is currently in place throughout the past few months. If the group was to struggle whenever this 2020 team does take the field, though, it may not be out of the question that they dip into the transfer pool next offseason to find some help here. The group isn’t expected to lose anyone at the position in the offseason (unless Xach Gill moves into the middle, which is entirely possible) and the staff looks like they would only take a player that they are extremely confident can provide help at the position, especially with the limited scholarships that are available.


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