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2014 North Carolina Recruiting Class Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 6, 2014


North Carolina Tar Heels 2014 ... Head Coach: Larry Fedora


North Carolina Tar Heels

2013 Record: 7-6
8/29 at South Carolina L 27-10
9/7 Middle Tenn W 40-20
9/14 OPEN DATE
9/21 at Georgia Tech L 28-20
9/28 East Carolina L 55-31
10/5 at Virginia Tech L 27-17
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/17 Miami L 27-23
10/26 Boston College W 34-10
11/2 at NC State W 27-19
11/9 Virginia W 45-14
11/16 at Pitt W 34-27
11/23 Old Dominion W 80-20
11/30 Duke L 27-25
Belk Bowl
12/28 Cincinnati W 39-16


- The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Stuffing the run. Opponents ran at the Tar Heels early and often last season because they knew it would produce results. The team ranked 82nd nationally in the category, allowing over 182 yards a game. While the linebackers will be in good shape, led by veterans Norkeithus Otis, Travis Hughes and Jeff Schoettmer, the D-line will be on the hunt for stoppers capable of preventing plays from even getting to the second level.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive back. Caleb Henderson is a game-changing quarterback, and Elijah Hood is a big speedster who can rock at running back with a little bit of time. There aren’t a slew of killer receivers, but there are decent three-star prospects to develop. The offensive front gets a terrific tackle in Bentley Spain along with a few other above-average prospects. End Jeremiah Clarke will wreak havoc, and he could be a big help to a secondary that loaded up at safety led by Allen Artis and M.J. Stewart.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 31. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. After coming up with a few great classes for the defense, UNC loaded up once again with two excellent linemen in tackle Greg Webb and end Dajuan Drennon, but the defensive backs should be the key with safety Desmond Lawrence and corner Brian Walker leading the way. The offense is getting some nice pieces to play around with led by running back T.J. Logan and quarterback Mitch Trubiski, who'll each play a big role sooner than later.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 31. That Class Was Heavy On ... New head coach Larry Fedora hasn’t have any time to work, and he has to deal with the pressure of a new gig and trying to live up to the expectations of past UNC recruiting classes. For good and bad, the program has been a factory for pro talent over the last few years, and while there aren’t any jaw-droppers in this class, there’s talent at linebacker and a few good-looking defensive backs on the way. Next year’s class will have to load up on skill players. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 18. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive tackles. This is yet another strong class brought in by Butch Davis, and while it’s not the deepest group, the star power is terrific at the top led by a pair of NFL defensive tackles. Once Delvon Simmons hits a weight room and fills out his 6-5 frame, he’ll be a dream of a 3-4 one-gap defender, while JUCO transfer Sylvester Williams could be the anchor of the front four tomorrow. 318-pound Devonte Brown is going to be a rock on the inside. Marquise Williams is the most talented quarterback the program has had in a long, long time, while Travis Hughes might turn out to be the best middle linebacker prospect in America.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 24. That Class Was Heavy On ...
Defense. Considering Tar Heels are going to be splashed all over the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft, Butch Davis had an easy sell to load up on the defensive side. Brandon Willis could grow into a smallish, quick tackle with a little work or a tough end right away. Kareem Martin is a 6-6 athlete who'll be a speed rusher on the outside, while Ty Lingon, Darius Lipford, and P.J. Clyburn are interesting players who should be a key part of the 2012 team. Offensively, QB Gio Bernard is small, checking in at 5-9, but he's a baller and a talented playmaker. The best recruit was James Hurst, a sure-thing offensive tackle who'll be an All-ACC performer within three years.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 7. That Class Was Heavy On ... receivers. Carolina’s response to losing Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate, and Brooks Foster to the NFL was to sign a half-dozen receivers, headed by four-star stud Jheranie Boyd. No returning wideout caught more than 11 passes a year ago, meaning Boyd and his classmates will get every opportunity to play right away in September. In fact, they’ll be counted on to do so.

Belk Bowl
North Carolina 39, Cincinnati 16
Basically … North Carolina jumped out early and never let the game get close, up 16-0 going into the second quarter with Romar Morris running for a two-yard score and T.J. Logan returning a kick for a score following a safety on a Kareem martin sack. The Tar Heel special teams also came through in the third quarter on a 86-yard punt return for a score from Ryan Switzer for a 29-3 lead before Cincinnati finally got into the end zone on a 15-yard Ralph Abernathy IV score. The two teams traded rushing scores with Morris giving UNC a 36-10 lead on a one-yard run and the Bearcats scoring on a Shaq Washington ten-yard run, but the outcome had been decided.

- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 19-of-33 passes for 171 yards and a score and ran nine times for 46 yards.
- North Carolina RB T.J. Logan ran 15 times for 77 yards, caught a pass for four yards, and returned three kickoffs for 120 yards with a score.
- North Carolina WR Ryan Switzer caught three passes for 22 yards, ran once for eight yards and returned three punts for 83 yards and a touchdown.
- North Carolina DE/LB Norkeithus Otis made seven tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss.
- Cincinnati DB Darren Doston made ten tackles with three broken up passes.

at Duke 27, North Carolina 25
Basically … Duke took the Coastal title and is on to the ACC championship after Ross Martin hit a 27-yard field goal for a 27-25 lead, and DeVon Edwards intercepted a Marquise Williams pass to snuff out North Carolina’s final drive. The Blue Devils held a 24-15 lead after Edwards returned a kickoff for a score and Jamison Crowder caught his second touchdown pass of the day, but the Tar Heels controlled most of the second half with Williams finding Quinshad Davis for a 23-yard score and Thomas Moore giving them the lead on a 37-yard field goal.
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 23-of-34 passes for 274 yards and two scores.
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 17-of-36 passes for 223 yards and a score with two picks, and he led the team with 104 rushing yards and two scores on 16 carries.
- North Carolina TE Eric Ebron caught five passes for 121 yards
- Duke held the ball for 35:23 and outgained UNC 461 yards to 448

at North Carolina 80, Old Dominion 20
Basically … The North Carolina offense roared thanks to a huge day from Marquise Williams, who threw five touchdown passes with two to Ryan Switzer from 42 and 57 yards out and a 56-yarder to Quinshad Davis. T.J. Logan scored four times with two one-yard touchdown runs, a 63-yard scoring dash, and answering an ODU third quarter score with a kickoff return for a touchdown. The Tar Heels made a blowout an embarrassment with 24 unanswered points, all in the third. Old Dominion hung around in the first quarter, down 14-13, before UNC scored 42 straight points with 35 in the second.
- North Carolina RB T.J. Logan ran 14 times for 137 yards and three touchdowns and returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 20-of-27 passes for 409 yards and five scores.
- Old Dominion RB Gerard Johnson ran for 81 of the team’s 371 total yards on one play, finishing with 143 yards on nine carries.
- Total yards: North Carolina 721 – Old Dominion 371

North Carolina 34, at Pitt 27
Basically … Ryan Switzer returned two punts for touchdowns taking one 65 yards back in the second and 61 yards away late in the fourth to give the Tar Heels the win. In a game of runs, North Carolina took a 27-3 lead helped by Marquise Williams scores from 16 yards and ten yards out, and sparked by the first Switzer punt return for a score. Pitt came roaring back with two Tom Savage touchdown passes including a 33-yarder to Devin Street, and with a two-yard James Connor run tying it up before Switzer’s game-winner.
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 15-of-27 passes for 173 yards and ran 15 times for a team-leading 79 yards and two scores.
- Pitt QB Tom Savage completed 23-of-38 passes for 313 yards and two scores.
- North Carolina outgained Pitt 149 rushing yards to 46, but Pitt had the ball for close to 37 minutes.
- Pitt RB James Conner ran 19 times for 102 yards and a touchdown.

at North Carolina 45, Virginia 14
Basically … North Carolina was fine without quarterback Bryn Renner as Marquise Williams threw a touchdown pass to Quinshad Davis, and then Quinshad Davis threw a touchdown pass to Marquise Williams to get up 14-0 in the first quarter. Williams ran for a three-yard score, Ryan Switzer returned a punt for an 85-yard touchdown, and Dominique Green returned an interception on the way to a 42-7 Tar Heel lead. Virginia got an eight-yard Kevin Parks touchdown run and a 23-yard Keeon Johnson scoring grab.
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 15-of-28 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, he ran 16 times for 46 yards and a score and caught a 29-yard touchdown pass.
- Virginia RB Kevin Parks ran 24 times for 100 yards and a score.
- North Carolina committed 13 penalties for 102 yards. Virginia came up with five for 45 yards.
- Virginia quarterbacks David Watford and Greyson Lambert combined to complete 22-of-43 passes for 204 yards and a score with two picks.

North Carolina 27 at NC State 19, Nov. 2
Basically … North Carolina rookie RB T.J. Logan scored the only touchdown of the second half, providing the margin needed to escape rival NC State. The Pack opened the scoring with a touchdown run from QB Brandon Mitchell, but it could only manage four Niklas Sade field goals the rest of the way. The Tar Heels took the lead for good late in the second quarter on a 59-yard trick play touchdown pass from WR Ryan Switzer to WR Quinshad Davis.
- Mitchell led all rushers with 105 yards and that six-yard touchdown on 21 carries.
- Three different Carolina players, Switzer and quarterbacks Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams combined to go 24-of-38 for 275 yards, two touchdowns and a pick.
- Tar Heel TE Eric Ebron caught a game-high nine balls for 70 yards.
- Wolpack quarterbacks Mitchell and Pete Thomas went 14-of-29 for 176 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

at North Carolina 34, Boston College 10
Basically … Down 7-6 after BC’s Andre Williams ran for a 56-yard touchdown in the first quarter, North Carolina scored 28 straight points with Marquise Williams throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to Bug Howard and running for a four-yard score. Howard also caught a ten-yard touchdown pass from Bryn Renner as part of the blowout, with the UNC defense not allowing anything until a 38-yard Nate Freese field goal in the fourth.
- North Carolina picked a nice time to come up with one of its best games of the season. Bryn Renner was sharp, completing 18-of-21 passes for 227 yards and two scores, while Marquise Williams did what he was supposed to do by adding a rushing element. The O line didn’t provide a push for the ground game and the backs, and it got Renner whacked too much.
- After a four game losing streak, now North Carolina has a shot to go on a run. It’s going to take focus and a lot of work, but the final five games are all winnable going to NC State and Pitt and hosting Virginia, Pitt and Duke. If the defense can hold up like it did against BC’s passing game, it should win four of the last five and go bowling.

Miami 27 … at North Carolina 23
Basically … Dallas Crawford filled in for an injured Duke Johnson and ran for two three-yard touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner with 16 seconds remaining, to give Miami the win. Down 13-7, Nth Carolina scored 16 straight points with three Thomas Moore field goals and a 20-yard Quinshad Davis touchdown, but Miami took over in the fourth quarter. The Cane offense didn’t get into the end zone until the first Crawford run, getting the first touchdown on a blocked kick for a score in the second quarter.
- Nothing went right for Miami, but the team still came away with the win. Stephen Morris threw four interceptions, Duke Johnson got hurt, and the defense was torn up. Even so, Dallas Crawford carried the offense when needed with 137 yards on 33 carries, barreling to take the heat off of Morris, who threw for 322 yards, but struggled.
- North Carolina’s offense couldn’t convert drives into touchdowns. Thomas Moore did a nice job hitting three field goals, but that was the problem – the final touchdown came early in the second quarter. The opportunities were there to put the Hurricanes away, and the Tar Heels didn’t do it.
- The Hurricane defense went bye bye, but as always, Denzel Perryman came up with a big day. He’s always around the ball and he’s always coming up with the right stop at the right time, making 12 tackles.
- The Tar Heels might have played well, but now they’re 1-5 with the season slipping into the abyss. The offense moved the ball, the defense generated great pressure, and this could be seen as a positive performance going forward. But now the wins have to start coming against Boston College, NC State and Virginia up next.

at Virginia Tech 27, North Carolina 17
Basically … Virginia Tech got touchdown passes from Logan Thomas from 45 and nine yards out to get up 14-0, and it stayed ahead with a five-yard scoring pass to D.J. Coles. North Carolina was able to stay around on a six-yard touchdown pass from Marquise Williams to Eric Ebron, and it scored late on a 24-yard pass play to Quinshad Davis, but the offense kept turning the ball over and mistakes proved to be too costly.
- It’s been a big-time fight, but Virginia Tech is 4-1 with the Alabama loss the only blemish. Logan Thomas settled in and completed 19-of-28 passes for 293 yards and three scores to make up for a woeful ground game that gained just 48 yards.
- With Bryn Renner out with an injured foot, Marquise Williams tried to make the offense go, and he was able to do a little of everything completing 23-of-35 passes for 277 yards and two scores, and he led the team with 56 rushing yards with 18 carries, but the Hokies dared him to win through the air and he couldn’t do it. The UNC backs combined to run for 43 yards.
- The Tar Heels might have had problems dealing with Thomas when he was on, but there weren’t any issues against the run. Jeff Schoettmer did his part with 13 tackles and a tackle for loss, but there wasn’t enough consistent pressure on Thomas.
- It’s danger time for a North Carolina team that came into the season with high expectations. The Tar Heels are sitting at 1-4 with Miami coming up next, but that’s about it. As rocky as the record might be, it’s not crazy to hope to roll over Boston College, NC State, Virginia, Pitt, Old Dominion and Duke.

East Carolina 55, at North Carolina 31
Basically … Shane Carden threw three touchdown passes and ran for three more as East Carolina rolled at will on the North Carolina defense. The Tar Heels couldn’t keep up early after ECU got up 14-0 on two Carden touchdown passes, and were down 28-10 at halftime on two of Carden’s scoring runs. Bryn Renner kept firing for UNC, throwing three touchdown passes in the second half, including a 56-yarder to Quinshad Davis, but Carden was at it again with a 48-yard scoring play to Lance Ray to put the game well out of reach.
- After a rough game against Virginia Tech, Shane Carden might have come up with his best game as a Pirate, considering the opponent. He completed 32-of-47 passes for 376 yards and three scores with a pick, and he ran for 22 yards and three scores.
- Bryn Renner completed 28-of-46 passes for 366 yards with three scores and a pick, but the stats don’t quite tell the story. He had problems in the first half and he didn’t start getting things moving until the second half in desperate comeback mode.
- Lost in the shuffle in Carder’s tremendous day was a huge performance from Vintavious Cooper, who got rolling for 186 yards on a workhorse 35 carries. He also served as an excellent outlet receiver with eight catches for 70 yards.
- Where’s the North Carolina pass rush? The Tar Heels didn’t come up with a sack, but there was a little bit of pressure. There wasn’t enough to get Carden off his game.

at Georgia Tech 28, North Carolina 20
Basically … Down 20-7 in the second quarter, Georgia Tech dominated the rest of the way with 21 unanswered points on a 21-yard Darren Waller touchdown catch and short scoring runs from Vad Lee and David Sims. The Tar Heels got two touchdown passes from Bryn Renner, with a brilliant one-handed touchdown catch from Eric Ebron, and a four-yard Romar Morris scoring run, but the offense didn’t score in the second half.
- It wasn’t a perfect performance by Georgia Tech, but how did the defense step it up? The offense kept the ball. The Tech D did its part with several stops, but the Yellow Jacket offense had the ball for over 22 minutes in the second half and close to 33 minutes over the last three quarters.
- The Tech running game worked like it was supposed to with 324 yards and three scores, with the 1-2 punch of David Sims and Robert Godhigh combining for 199 yards and two scores, while Vad Lee connected on 7-of-12 passes for 104 yards and a score to go along with 55 rushing yards and a score.
- Bryn Renner has to be better. He has NFL skills, and he has a decent receiving corps to work with, but he only completed 14-of-29 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns with a pick. He didn’t get the offense moving in the second half, and going forward, he has to start consistently hitting on his midrange throws.
- The Tar Heel linebackers had fits, but Norkeithus Otis managed to make eight tackles with a sack and two forced fumbles. Kareem Martin had a nice game up front making ten tackles with a half a tackle for loss.

at North Carolina 40, Middle Tennessee 20, Sept. 7
Basically … Carolina earned its first victory of 2013, doubling up Middle Tennessee in Chapel Hill on the strength of two Romar Morris touchdowns. The Tar Heels jumped out to a 23-0 lead and never looked back, as Blue Raiders' QB Logan Kilgore threw three interceptions on a day when his health was less than 100%.
- Norkeithus Otis continues to evolve into the kind of disruptive defender that Carolina needs at Bandit. He collected five tackles to go along with half of the Heels' four sacks.
- Blue Raider Jordan Parker rushed for more than 100 yards, another sign that he plans on being one of the top backs in Conference USA this season.
- Carolina's top wide receiver Quinshad Davis caught just two balls for 18 yards and a score. On this day, QB Bryn Renner had more success targeting WR Sean Tapley and TE Eric Ebron, who each caught four balls.
- The Tar Heels scored on all five of their red-zone trips, including four touchdowns. Renner continues to be one of the nation's most efficient passers deep in the other guy's territory.

at South Carolina 27, North Carolina 10, Aug. 29
Basically … South Carolina struck early with a 65-yard Connor Shaw touchdown pass to Shaq Roland, and put the game away in the third quarter on a 75-yard Mike Davis touchdown dash. North Carolina’s only touchdown came on a four-yard Quinshad Davis catch in the second.
- Hot and steamy early, the weather was a factor all game long including a 45-minute delay due to lightning.
- Jadeveon Clowney looked like it was the first game of the season. He’ll get dogged on a national scale because he didn’t come up with a sack on every play, but he came up with three tackles with three quarterback hurries.
- Where’s the snap on Bryn Renner’s passes? The North Carolina quarterback threw for 194 yards and a score, but he didn’t drive his passes well enough and didn’t push the ball down the field.
- This was as physical as the South Carolina offensive line has looked in the Steve Spurrier era. The Gamecocks ran for 228 yards, and while 75 of them came on the Davis run, the offense was effective averaging six yards per pop. North Carolina averaged just 2.8 yards per run.

Spring Analysis

Why To Get Excited … yeah, some stars have departed, but the cupboard is hardly empty in Chapel Hill. Not only is it Year 2 for head coach Larry Fedora, whose offense smashed school records in 2012, but prolific passer Bryn Renner opted to return for his senior year. Even without RB Gio Bernard, there are enough playmakers to help turn Renner into a fringe Heisman contender.

Why To Be Grouchy … during the spring and summer, the defense will be searching for playmakers now that DT Sylvester Williams and LB Kevin Reddick have graduated. While DE Kareem Martin is in store for a special finale as a Tar Heel, he’ll be surrounded by a cadre of question marks, especially in the front seven of the D.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … plugging holes in pass defense. Carolina improved in 2012, and does welcome back a mess of letterwinners, like corners Tim Scott and Jabari Price, but the secondary has to be more than just a year older; it’s got to be a year better, too. The Heels were 81st against the pass, allowing a few too many connections over the top.

Team Concerns For 2013: The Tar Heels have to keep building up the young players as they still try to get out from under the NCAA sanctions. The offense and return game have to find a replacement for RB Giovani Bernard, and the O line needs to come up with two new starters losing future NFL guard Jonathan Cooper and tackle Travis Bond. The pass defense could stand to be a bit tighter, but overall, Larry Fedora has a solid team helped by a few great recent recruiting classes.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. After coming up with a few great classes for the defense, UNC loaded up once again with two excellent linemen in tackle Greg Webb and end Dajuan Drennon, but the defensive backs should be the key with safety Desmond Lawrence and corner Brian Walker leading the way. The offense is getting some nice pieces to play around with led by running back T.J. Logan and quarterback Mitch Trubiski, who'll each play a big role sooner than later.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 31. That Class Was Heavy On ... New head coach Larry Fedora hasn’t have any time to work, and he has to deal with the pressure of a new gig and trying to live up to the expectations of past UNC recruiting classes. For good and bad, the program has been a factory for pro talent over the last few years, and while there aren’t any jaw-droppers in this class, there’s talent at linebacker and a few good-looking defensive backs on the way. Next year’s class will have to load up on skill players. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 18. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive tackles. This is yet another strong class brought in by Butch Davis, and while it’s not the deepest group, the star power is terrific at the top led by a pair of NFL defensive tackles. Once Delvon Simmons hits a weight room and fills out his 6-5 frame, he’ll be a dream of a 3-4 one-gap defender, while JUCO transfer Sylvester Williams could be the anchor of the front four tomorrow. 318-pound Devonte Brown is going to be a rock on the inside. Marquise Williams is the most talented quarterback the program has had in a long, long time, while Travis Hughes might turn out to be the best middle linebacker prospect in America.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 24. That Class Was Heavy On ...
Defense. Considering Tar Heels are going to be splashed all over the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft, Butch Davis had an easy sell to load up on the defensive side. Brandon Willis could grow into a smallish, quick tackle with a little work or a tough end right away. Kareem Martin is a 6-6 athlete who'll be a speed rusher on the outside, while Ty Lingon, Darius Lipford, and P.J. Clyburn are interesting players who should be a key part of the 2012 team. Offensively, QB Gio Bernard is small, checking in at 5-9, but he's a baller and a talented playmaker. The best recruit was James Hurst, a sure-thing offensive tackle who'll be an All-ACC performer within three years.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 7. That Class Was Heavy On ... receivers. Carolina’s response to losing Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate, and Brooks Foster to the NFL was to sign a half-dozen receivers, headed by four-star stud Jheranie Boyd. No returning wideout caught more than 11 passes a year ago, meaning Boyd and his classmates will get every opportunity to play right away in September. In fact, they’ll be counted on to do so.

 
 

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