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Fact or Fiction: UNC can become a recruiting power

National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.

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1. North Carolina can become a national recruiting power.

Tony Grimes
Tony Grimes (Rivals.com)

Farrell’s take: FACT. Maybe not in 2021 but Mack Brown and his staff are recruiting so well that in 2022 and beyond the Tar Heels could begin to spot recruit around the country. That’s how hot they are. Of course, a lot depends on what kind of season they have but they should be good this year and will make a run at a division title. Landing a five-star like Tony Grimes sends a message to recruits that something special could be going on in Chapel Hill. It wouldn’t surprise me to see North Carolina become a major player for some prospects well outside of its historic recruiting region.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. North Carolina is recruiting incredibly well. Landing Grimes over Georgia and others is a huge victory on the trail and Brown deserves so much credit for what he’s doing in Chapel Hill. But let’s pump the brakes just a little bit on talking about North Carolina as a national recruiting power. UNC has had one double-digit win season since … 1998. Fourteen of 17 current commits hail from the state of North Carolina, one other from South Carolina and Tennessee, and Grimes is from Virginia. The Tar Heels need to win and win big to become a national recruiting power and while they can have a lot of success regionally – and win more games than in recent years – I’m not there yet when it comes to them beating Alabama, Clemson and others regularly for top prospects.

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2. Virginia Tech has been the disappointment of the 2021 cycle so far.

Justin Fuente
Justin Fuente (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FACT. Things started off well for the Hokies with four-star commitments in Texas from quarterback Dematrius Davis and wide receiver Latrell Neville but the wheels have come off since. Not only have both decommitted but they also lost three-star Tyas Martin from Arkansas. In-state recruiting has been awful and in-state linebacker Naquan Brown is LSU-bound after the Hokies thought they had a chance. Recruiting needs to step up in a big way in Blacksburg as they are second-to-last in the ACC right now after finishing dead last in 2020.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. Virginia Tech is not doing well, there’s no question about it, but another program that really has not hit its recruiting stride yet is Ole Miss. Yes, I know it’s early July but look across the South and teams are loading up quickly with commitments. That leaves two choices for first-year coach Lane Kiffin: Either flip a lot of prospects later or take second-tier prospects because all the top ones have already pledged somewhere else. Ole Miss has only seven commitments, the fewest among any SEC program and that’s worrisome. Seven of the top 10 prospects in the state of Mississippi remain uncommitted and that’s promising but the window is closing faster than ever.

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3. Caleb Williams will pull a stunner on Saturday.

Caleb Williams
Caleb Williams (Rivals.com)

Farrell’s take: FICTION. Caleb Williams, the nation’s top quarterback, will announce his decision on Saturday among Oklahoma, Maryland and LSU. But if he doesn’t pick the Sooners it will be a stunner. Maryland is the only program with a Hail Mary chance here as Mike Locksley does a great job recruiting, but this seems like a forgone conclusion.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. LSU would be the longest shot since four-star Garrett Nussmeier is already in the class so that just doesn’t make sense to me. Maryland would be the stunner and it’s tempting playing with Rakim Jarrett, but I’d be shocked if Williams doesn’t commit to Oklahoma. After Spencer Rattler, Williams would be the heir apparent, he fits the offense perfectly and playing for arguably the best offensive mind in college football in Lincoln Riley is too much to pass up.

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