UNC’s top ranked commit, Malik Hornsby, reopens recruitment

Malik Hornsby, the highest ranked UNC verbal commitment for the 2020 football recruiting class, announced on Tuesday that he is re-opening his recruitment process.

Hornsby posted the announcement on his Twitter page. Hornsby verbally committed to the Tar Heels on May 15 and the four-star talent out of Missouri City, Texas, quickly became the prize of coach Mack Brown’s first full recruiting class.

Ranked as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the country, Hornsby also had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and Arizona. He was considered a steal for the Tar Heels, who went into Texas, where Brown coached and won a national title, and landed one of the top talents.

But Hornsby tweeted a message Tuesday morning saying “At this time I would like to announce that I am re-opening my recruiting process. This is a life changing decision for me and I have to get it right!”

Hornsby also took time to thank the UNC staff and added “There is no love lost for UNC but I have to do what’s best for my family.”

Hornsby did not post a list of top schools.

As a junior he threw for 1,970 yards and 23 touchdowns, while rushing for 758 yards and 14 scores. He quickly shot to the top of UNC’s commitment list as the top player in 2020. As of last week, the Tar Heels had the No. 7 ranked class in the nation, according to 247Sports and No. 3 in the ACC. With Hornsby off the list, UNC’s class dropped to 17th in the nation.

Hornsby was one of two quarterback commitments in the class of 2020. One month after landing a verbal from Hornsby, Brown got a verbal commitment from Jacolby Criswell, the No. 12 dual-threat quarterback in the nation and the No. 2 player in the state of Arkansas.

UNC’s 2019 class included Sun Valley quarterback Sam Howell, who enrolled in January and went through spring football with the Tar Heels. Quarterbacks Jace Ruder and Cade Fortin will both be sophomores in 2019.

Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV covers college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central and the ACC for the Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.