Current Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 00:40:10 -0500
After nine of North Carolina’s top 10 football prospects went out of state to pursue collegiate careers last year, North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora said signing in-state talent would be a point of emphasis for the class of 2013.
He followed through with that promise Wednesday on National Signing Day by signing seven players from North Carolina as a part of his second recruiting class as the head coach of the Tar Heels.
Fedora received 17 letters of intent for his class of 2013 that ranks 40th nationally and 6th in the ACC, according to Rivals.com.
ESPN ranks this year’s class as the 18th best in the country.
“It’s still the basis of our recruiting, and we’re always going to go after the in-state kids first,” Fedora said. “We have to do a great job evaluating those kids, and we want every one of those kids that we feel can help us win a championship and can be successful in the classroom here.
“We want them to stay here at home.”
In his first year with North Carolina, Fedora received letters of intent from six in-state players. His top get was quarterback James Summers, ranked No. 9 in the state, who hasn’t yet made it to Chapel Hill.
Rivals.com puts five of this year’s seven North Carolina players in the top-30 prospects from the state, including the No. 2 player, Rivals.com four-star running back T.J. Logan, a product of Northern Guilford High in Greensboro.
Logan, a Parade All-American honorable mention, led his team to an undefeated season and North Carolina 3AA championship in his senior season. In the title game he set North Carolina High School Athletic Association records with 510 yards and eight touchdowns.
“It was kind of mind boggling actually,” Fedora said. “You’re talking about the two best teams in the state in their classification. You’re talking about the state championship, and the guy rushes for eight touchdowns and for over 510 yards in a game.
“That’s pretty phenomenal.”
Though Rivals.com lists Tennessee-signee Marquez North as the top player in the state, UNC’s coaching staff believes they signed the best North Carolina had to offer.
“We did get the best player in the state of North Carolina this year,” tight ends coach Walt Bell said. “I think that’s a big misconception is that we didn’t.”
Logan, along with Durham Hillside product three-star running back Khris Francis, will be charged with replacing some of the offensive production that junior running back and punt return specialist Giovani Bernard took with him in his early exit to the NFL.
“I don’t anticipate going through the season with just (A.J.) Blue and Romar (Morris),” Fedora said. “So I anticipate those running backs playing.”
The Tar Heels will also be getting help on the other side of the ball from Charlotte native and three-star cornerback Brian Walker.
Rivals.com ranks Walker as the No. 12 player in North Carolina and the No. 39 cornerback in the nation.
Though the coaching staff couldn’t add as many they would like due to NCAA sanctions limiting scholarships through next year’s class, the class of 2013 will fill the Tar Heels’ needs, they said.
“I don’t know how flashy the class is,” offensive coordinator Blake Anderson said. “It meets our needs. We’re excited about the guys we got and they all fit what we do.”
Contact the desk editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.