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Take Two: Can Mack Brown keep up his momentum at North Carolina?

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

Joshua Downs
Joshua Downs (Nick Lucero/

MORE TAKE TWO: Will four-star Teriyon Cooper recommit to Texas?

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and an expert from the network.


When Mack Brown was hired at North Carolina this offseason there were some questions about whether the 67-year-old would have time to rebuild the Tar Heels program and what he would be bringing to the game in what has become a young man’s sport.

Nick Saban has bucked that trend, but Dabo Swinney, Kirby Smart, Lincoln Riley, Tom Herman and others seem to be the future of college football. Brown appears well on his way to proving some doubters wrong.

North Carolina has the No. 11 recruiting class nationally and although it’s still a long way until the early signing period, that finish would be the best for the Tar Heels since they finished ninth in 2009.

Brown is loading up nicely with high-level prospects as four of North Carolina’s commits are four-star recruits in receivers Joshua Downs and Ray Grier, linebacker Ethan West and defensive back Cameron Roseman-Sinclair.

Getting a jumpstart on the recruiting cycle has been a trademark of Brown’s since his days at Texas when he would receive commitments from nearly his entire class before the season even started.

He might not have that level of success in Chapel Hill, but he’s off to an excellent start and many of the state’s top recruits remain uncommitted including high four-star defensive end Desmond Evans.

Can Brown quickly make North Carolina a contender again in the ACC or does this program have way too many holes to fill and is it surprising that he’s doing so well in recruiting without even coaching a game yet?


“I’m not surprised he’s had a major impact on changing the vibe around the program and culture in it and I’m not at all surprised recruiting has picked up. But I am surprised everything has changed as much as they have and as quickly as they have.

"So far, he’s checked every box except one, and he can’t start winning until the games begin, and that will be the toughest part. He can be successful depending on what one’s measure of success is. UNC is fully committed to winning in football and expectations are very high, so if he meets those I’d consider him a success. By changing the culture and rebuilding the infrastructure, coming close to on-field expectations will make this run for him at UNC a successful one.”


“Few guys are better in recruiting during the preseason than Brown. At Texas, he used to load up most of his classes before the season even kicked off. He’s doing a good job at North Carolina bringing a lot of buzz and interest to the program itself.

“That program is an absolute mess. We’ll see what they bring to the field. They can’t be worse. But if they go 4-8 or 3-9, will that be enough to hang on to these guys when everybody else comes in? It’s a good start. He’s selling a vision. That’s important. He’s a very, very good recruiter and he has a good staff. He’s going to be just like a lot of other programs: If you win on the field, you’ll keep your recruits, but if you don’t people will steal them.”