The news just keeps flowing for the Tar Heels as they head down the home stretch in the month of May. J.J. Jones' commitment grabbed a hold of most of the headlines this week, but let’s look at the other headlines that you may have missed this week.
Timeline Still Uncertain For Return of the Football Staff
Stadium TV’s Brett McMurphy said on Thursday that the Tar Heels are on track to resume football operation, but Inside Carolina reported today that a decision has not been made on when the program will return to campus. The original timeline, as stated by Mack Brown in his press conference a couple of weeks ago, would put the staff back on campus in mid-June and the players back on campus in mid-July, giving them a little over a month and a half to get prepared for the regular season opener with Central Florida that is scheduled to kickoff on September 4th. It’s unclear as to if the NCAA is going to allow fall camps to begin in August, but the fact that they have said a universal restart is not necessary is promising for the fans, especially in the southern part of the country where most states are in the midst of the reopening process. We still have a long way to go and as we know, things can change overnight with this situation, but as of right now, there is still some positivity around the program that this 2020 season will happen this fall.
Rene Has Faced Many Challenges, But Is On Track to Be Ready for the Season
Last Wednesday, we heard from the fifth-year senior for the first time since he suffered the torn ACL that ended his 2019 season in the second game of the year in Miami. After being able to spend the first half of his rehab in Chapel Hill, Rene was forced to return home due to the pandemic and try to continue the process without the type of equipment that was available to him back in Chapel Hill. While back in Ontario, he also suffered the tragic loss of his uncle to COVID-19, something that he says he is doing his best to work through. “We’ve been able to move on,” Rene told the media on Wednesday. “And I talk to my cousins each and every day, we facetime, group chat, and make sure I’m just there for moral support and just do everything I can to help them get through this time.” None of this has stopped him from putting in the work necessary to get himself back on the field for his final season at Carolina, though. "I'm in the back end of the process getting ready to be fully back within a month from now," he said. Rene says he’s at about 90% and the feeling now is that there is a solid chance that he could be ready for the season opener, barring a setback. The good news is, there isn’t a ton of pressure on him to get back on the field with plenty of experienced and talented options set to battle for playing time at the position regardless of his status. While that is a good thing, the Tar Heels would love to have Rene, one of the top cover corners in the ACC in 2018, back on the field.
Tar Heels Take Over the Lead for Grimes
It’s been a really good week for the Tar Heels with 5✮ cornerback target Tony Grimes. Both Brian Dohn and Michael Clark, two of 247Sports to prediction makers this year, casted crystal balls in favor of the Tar Heel, both of which are high confidence picks at this time. This solidifies the progress that the Tar Heels had been gaining during the pandemic and ahead of him releasing a top three, the Tar Heels are now a lock to be in that trio. With the Tar Heels now clearly in the lead for Grimes, the goal turns to get him to push his decision date up from his December 1st date that he released earlier this year. It will definitely be a challenge to get him to do that, but as we saw recently, the recruiting process looks like it is beginning to wear on him a bit, something that right now heavily favors the Tar Heels. It’s hard to remember the last time the Tar Heels were in this good of standing with a prospect ranked inside the top ten in the country and if they can find a way to pull this off it would be a major to the rest of college football.
Ingram-Dawkins Set to Adjust Top Six
One of the Tar Heels biggest remaining targets in this 2021 cycle, Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins, announced on Monday that he will be releasing a new top six in the near future. The Tar Heels seem to be a lock to be amongst a group that will likely see Tennessee drop out after KaTron Evans’ commitment earlier this month. J.J. Jones’ commitment to Carolina this past week definitely caught his attention, but right now it’s hard to get a great read on where exactly each school stands with the Gaffney, SC product. It feels like Carolina has some momentum with Ingram-Dawkins right now, but they will have to continue and sustain that push over the next month if they hope to land his commitment on June 26th, his new announcement date. As of right now, Ingram-Dawkins seems like the best chance the Tar Heels have of landing a defensive tackle in this class.
Patterson Commits to Clemson
It was no shock, but 4✮ WDE Zaire Patterson picked the Clemson Tigers during his scheduled announcement on Tuesday. A little over a week ago, the Winston-Salem product informed the Tar Heels that they would not be landing his commitment. The question now becomes how important is it in the staff's mind to land a weakside defensive end in this class? 3✭ WDE George Wilson is the obvious candidate to get more of the attention after the Tar Heels sprung a late offer on him earlier this month. The good news is the Tar Heels seem to have made some noise with him since entering the race, but they are still working from behind here. With no other deep relationships established in the class, unless another new offer pops up, it seems like it’s Wilson or no one.
Latest 247 Rankings Provides More Boosts For Commits and Targets
247Sports released their latest set of rankings on Monday and it had some major implications for some of Tar Heel commits and major targets. Drake Maye took another step towards becoming the top rated pro-style quarterback in this class, while Keeshawn Silver joined Maye in taking another step towards being 5✮ prospects. Raneiria Dillworth continued his climb, as he not only entered the top 247 for the first time, but now sits in the top 150 according to the sites rankings. Meanwhile, major targets like Jahvaree Ritzie (No. 127 overall to No. 63 overall) and George Wilson (No. 204 overall to No. 183 overall) saw huge changes in their rankings. Another player who saw a huge change in his ranking is DT target Tyleik Williams who jumped over 100 spots in the overall player rankings, moving from No. 228 overall to No. 124 overall. These new batch of rankings from 247Sports definitely had more drastic changes than the Rivals ones that were released a week prior and definitely had a positive effect for this already great Tar Heel class.