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Ask Farrell: Could UNC's class finish No. 2 in the ACC?

After winning its first two games against South Carolina and Miami and becoming the early feel-good story in college football, North Carolina has returned to reality, losing four of the last five.

But Mack Brown and his staff are on the precipice of doing something special in recruiting. According to Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst Adam Friedman, it's something never before done in Rivals history, dating back to 2002.

If the Tar Heels could keep this recruiting class together and get recent Auburn decommit Trenton Simpson in the fold, then UNC would be the first team in Rivals history to sign four of the top five prospects in North Carolina.

ASK FARRELL: Should LSU be viewed as the title favorite?

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State

Simpson, who recently backed off his Auburn pledge, seems to be leaning toward the Tar Heels although Georgia, LSU and possibly Clemson could be getting more involved.

North Carolina already has commitments from four-star defensive end Desmond Evans, four-star safety Cameron Roseman-Sinclair and four-star defensive end Kedrick Bingley-Jones. The only top-five prospect from the state that didn’t pick the Tar Heels is four-star Mitchell Mayes, who opted for Clemson.

Getting Simpson’s commitment would be huge for North Carolina because he shot up in the last round of Rivals rankings and is on the cusp of a five-star ranking. Someone of that caliber would have an immediate opportunity to start and contribute on the defense.

The Tar Heels currently have the fourth-best recruiting class in the ACC behind Clemson, Florida State and Miami. The Tigers are the only team in the conference with a five-star commitment - and they have five of them so they cannot be caught.

We ask Rivals National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell if he sees a route for North Carolina to finish second in the ACC team rankings and what would that say about the job Brown is doing in making the Tar Heels relevant again?

MORE: ACC recruiting rankings

FARRELL'S TAKE

Mack Brown
Mack Brown (Jeremy Brevard/USAToday)

“I’m not sure if they’ll finish No. 2 in the ACC with Florida State and Miami still holding strong classes despite their struggles, but any finish in the top four is great for the Tar Heels considering where the program has been the last few years. If North Carolina keeps recruiting this way, the program will certainly be relevant again.

"The question remains regarding Brown’s age (68) and how long he will coach there. But I will tell you this, the Tar Heels will be in much better shape when Brown leaves than they were when he arrived. Whether they break through to the ACC title game again like they did at the height of Larry Fedora’s tenure will remain to be seen. Their division is so bad I could see it happening sooner than later.”

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