North Carolina

DE Dalton highlights UNC’s 2015 football commitments list

UNC’s 2015 commitments

Pos. Player Rivals Size From
TE Jake Bargas 3 stars 6-4, 225 Boca Raton, Fla.
DB Corey Bell 3 stars 5-9, 158 Charlotte
DB J.B. Britt 3 stars 5-11, 187 Newnan, Ga.*
DT Aaron Crawford 3 stars 6-0, 303 Ashburn, Va.
DE Jalen Dalton 4 stars 6-6, 220 Clemmons*
QB Nathan Elliott 3 stars 6-1, 190 Celina, Texas
OL Tommy Hatton 4 stars 6-3, 280 Montvale, N.J.
ATH Charlie Heck 3 stars 6-7, 250 Kansas City, Mo.
ATH Mike Hughes 4 stars 5-10, 160 New Bern
DB Prentice McKinney 4 stars 6-2, 180 Dallas
WR Juval Mollette 4 stars 6-4, 186 Randleman*
OL Nick Polino 3 stars 6-4, 270 Buford, Ga.
QB Anthony Ratliffe 3 stars 6-2, 195 Matthews*
LB Andre Smith 3 stars 6-0, 225 Jacksonville, Fla.*
DE Jason Strowbridge 3 stars 6-4, 245 Deerfield Beach, Fla.
OL William Sweet 4 stars 6-7, 280 Jacksonville, Fla.*
LB Johnathan Sutton 3 stars 5-11, 214 Swansea, S.C.
WR Carl Tucker Jr. 3 stars 6-1, 225 Huntersville*
OL Mason Veal 3 stars 6-5, 295 Charlotte*
RB Ty’Son Williams 3 stars 5-11, 202 Sumter, S.C.*

* - already signed and enrolled in school

Class size: 20

Class rank: 23rd (according to Rivals.com). This appears like a pretty good class – it includes six four-star players, according to Rivals, two of them offensive linemen – but, strangely (and barring a last-minute rush) North Carolina won’t use its full scholarship allotment. That’s surprising because this is the first time at UNC that coach Larry Fedora has had a full scholarship allotment to use.

His first three recruiting classes were limited because of NCAA sanctions. Three of UNC’s highest profile recruits, too, are on offense. The Tar Heels most need to address problems on their defense.

Best player: The real answer here? Check back in three or four years. That’s when we’ll know who the best player in this class turned out to be. On paper, defensive end Jalen Dalton was perhaps the most important commitment.

North Carolina beat out Virginia Tech and others for Dalton, who should have a chance to contribute early given the Tar Heels’ defensive woes a season ago. UNC desperately needed to land a difference maker on defense, and Dalton appears most likely to be that guy.

Biggest need filled: The offensive line didn’t develop as quickly as expected last season, and it will be a question mark entering next season, too. Generally, it takes linemen a while to develop, so it’s unrealistic to expect four-star recruits Tommy Hatton and William Sweet to contribute early. But in two to three years, they could be part of a nice nucleus along with tackle Bentley Spain, who was a highly regarded member of the 2014 recruiting class.

Still in mix for: Gary Jennings, a three-star prospect from Stafford, Va., according to Rivals, reportedly visited last weekend. He was UNC’s final official visitor, according to InsideCarolina.com and HeelsIllustrated.com, websites that cover recruiting.

Jennings, listed by the sites as an “athlete,” will play defensive back or receiver. Virginia and West Virginia seem to be the favorites for Jennings, who reportedly will announce his decision Wednesday.

Andrew Carter

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