ACC

Recruiting Mailbag: How has UNC’s national championship win affected its recruiting?

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, left, talks with his former player Justin Jackson at the NBA draft basketball combine on Friday.
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, left, talks with his former player Justin Jackson at the NBA draft basketball combine on Friday. AP

About twice a month, I’ll answer readers’ recruiting questions about Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State. Tweet your questions to @jonmalexander and use the hashtag #AskJMA. Or email me at jalexander@newsobserver.com.

Let’s get to it:

@jamfam18: #ASKJMA Has UNC status among recruits moved back to Tier 1 since winning the NatChampionship? If not, why?

For basketball players who grew up UNC fans, probably so. For others, probably not.

The News & Observer’s UNC beat reporter, Andrew Carter, wrote about this last week after Kevin Knox spurned the Tar Heels.

Carter said: “In the past five recruiting cycles, including the class of 2017, UNC has offered scholarships to 49 players ranked among the top 25 prospects in their class, according to 247sports.com’s composite ranking. Only three of those 49 players have signed with UNC: Justin Jackson (No. 9 prospect, class of 2014), Theo Pinson (15, 2014) and Isaiah Hicks (16, 2013).”

He also wrote: “UNC, meanwhile, hasn’t had a one-and-done player since Brandan Wright entered the 2007 draft.”

Roy Williams thinks the NCAA’s ongoing investigation into UNC’s academic scandal, which he calls “junk,” has affected recruiting. But even before the investigation reopened in 2014, it had been a while since a top-five prospect chose to go to UNC.

“Williams has built his program on the notion of family, togetherness and camaraderie,” Carter writes. “His best teams have, in fact, been teams – ones forged over time by past failures, and ones whose nuclei grew up together over a span of years.”

Read the rest here.

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Joel Berry, right, returning for his senior season means the Tar Heels don’t have to worry about finding another point guard at the last minute. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

@whereiiswaldo: How does Joel Berry coming back for a senior season affect any of the recruits that #UNC has in their plans? @jonmalexander #AskJMA

It does not. After wing Kevin Knox went to Kentucky, the Tar Heels appear to have finished with their 2017 recruiting class. They have five players signed so far.

UNC is set at the point guard position. Behind the 6-0, 195-pound Joel Berry, the Tar Heels will have sophomore point guard Seventh Woods, who’s 6-2, 180 pounds, as well as incoming freshman and four-star combo guard Jalek Felton, who can play the point. Felton, who’s 6-2, 170 pounds, was ranked No. 1 in South Carolina.

Berry returning for his senior season means the Tar Heels don’t have to worry about finding another point guard at the last minute.

@calmaxpack: Is (Dave) Doeren starting to turn the corner with recruiting? Last year’s class was disappointing, but the coming one has started strong.

As The News & Observer’s N.C. State beat reporter, Joe Giglio, reported two weeks ago, “Doeren revamped his recruiting support staff this spring in what is a part of a catch-all department called ‘creative services.’ 

The revamped staff is using social media as a means to recruit.

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N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren gets ready to lead his team onto the field in November. Doeren has revamped his recruiting to include a social media. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

Whether that has worked so far, I do not know. But Doeren received a commitment from a big time recruit last month in Devin Leary, a 6-2, 189-pound quarterback from Erial, N.J. Some recruiting sites rate him a four-star, pro-style quarterback. 247sports rates him three stars and ranked No. 14 at his position.

Leary, who’s in the class of 2018 at Timber Creek High, has won two state championships. He was also the 2016 USA Today NJ Offensive Player of the Year, and broke the New Jersey state records for both passing yards and passing touchdowns this past season as a junior. He threw 48 touchdowns to only four interceptions for 3,688 yards.

Doeren also received a commitment earlier this year from Heritage High’s Ricky Person, a 6-2, 202-pound running back, who is rated four-stars on 247sports. He is ranked No. 9 at his position.

It seems that Doeren has turned a corner, but it is still early in the recruiting process.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander

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