The Mack is back, but what about his recruiting touch?
For fans of North Carolina football, the early returns seem fairly promising.
Over the weekend, Mack Brown’s team netted six verbal commitments for the 2019 season, including a quartet of three-star players and four-star wide receiver Khafre Brown.
The brother of first-year Tar Heel receiver Dyami Brown, Khafre is listed as ESPN.com’s seventh-best recruit in North Carolina, and the 32nd-ranked receiver nationally. Brown scored nine touchdowns and averaged 16.9 yards per reception as a senior at West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, N.C. Brown, who is listed at 6-feet, 170 pounds, chose the Tar Heels over Tennessee, Duke, Alabama, Florida State, and N.C. State, among other schools. Brown possesses plenty of speed and could make an impact next to his brother in the receiving game as soon as next season.
North Carolina earned a second addition Saturday to its receiving corps with a commitment from three-star Emery Simmons. Hailing from South View High School in Hope Mills, N.C., Simmons changed his original commitment from Indiana to UNC this summer. He then committed to Penn State in late July, and finally landed back with the Tar Heels this weekend after decommitting from Penn State. ESPN lists Simmons at 6-foot-1, 186 pounds, and he is listed as the No. 21 player in the state.
Two three-star linemen on opposite sides of the ball also signed with UNC Saturday. Defensive end Kristian Varner, a Hiram, Ga. native, decommitted from Louisville last month and received new offers from Vanderbilt and Missouri. Ultimately, though, Varner went with the Tar Heels, and will look to use his 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame to bolster UNC’s defensive front.
The other lineman to commit was Chester, S.C. native Wyatt Tunall. A 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive tackle, Tunall chose North Carolina over Appalachian State, N.C. State, and Troy. Tunall had originally committed to Appalachian State, but decommitted after the departure of head coach Scott Satterfield. Tunall is the only offensive lineman listed in UNC’s 2019 class.
Punter Ben Kiernan of Wakefield High School in Raleigh, committed to the Tar Heels to cap off an active Saturday for UNC. As a senior, Kiernan landed 23 of his 39 punts inside the 20-yard line.
On Sunday night, wide receiver Justin Olson became the fourth three-star recruit to commit to UNC this weekend. The player from North Mecklenburg High School committed to the Tar Heels over UNC-Charlotte. Olson, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, is the No. 46 recruit in the state of North Carolina, according to ESPN.
Based on the action this past weekend, it's clear Mack Brown and his as-of-now incomplete staff are looking to reclaim recruiting influence close to home, with three of the five Saturday recruits hailing from North Carolina. Olson, who committed on Sunday, also is an in-state product. Before the staff can turn its sights to national prominence, it will need to win the recruiting war on the local front, and this weekend's batch of commits was a promising start. North Carolina now has 14 commitments for the 2019 season after landing six this weekend, according to ESPN.
With five wins in the last two years for North Carolina, Brown, and the football program as a whole, have plenty to prove. As he gets settled in Chapel Hill again, Brown will surely look to turn three and four-stars recruits into five-star phenoms, and a bottom-feeding Tar Heel team into a perennial ACC contender.
For now, it seems unfair to label his past few days as anything but a pretty strong weekend.
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