CHAPEL HILL– Carolina’s football signing day was a bit anticlimactic compared to some of the other buzz and excitement of coaches hanging over fax machines across the country.
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But Head Coach Larry Fedora says he was perfectly fine with the stress-free day thanks to the fact that all but a couple of the recruits committed last summer.
“Probably the bets thing about the entire class is that all but two of these guys were locked in before July. Our coaching staff did an unbelievable job getting out there and working extremely hard and getting these guys in the boat very early,” Coach Fedora says.
In fact, Coach Fedora says the day was more about 2015 than it was 2014. The stable commitments provided Coach Fedora and his staff the ability to get ahead on the competition and call up future prospects.
“We’re way ahead on 2015 right now. Since about 6:30 this morning, we’ve been hitting it really hard. We’ve talked to somewhere around 80 kids today that are 2015 guys that I’ve personally talked to,” Coach Fedora says.
2014 marks the last National Signing Day in which Carolina will suffer from reduced scholarships as a result of the NCAA sanctions. Coach Fedora says the penalties definitely raise the stakes on the Tar Heel recruiting process.
“We just couldn’t take more players, and other schools benefited from that. Your margin of error is smaller. You can’t make mistakes because it’s affecting us depth-wise on this football team. That’s always an issue. But we’re out of that now. In the 2015 class, we won’t have that problem,” Coach Fedora says.
Coach Fedora says one of the primary objectives in his recruiting strategy is defending the state of North Carolina. And he says he thinks with the talented crop of eight N.C. products the Tar Heels have coming in; UNC is continuing to build momentum.
“The first time I stepped up here I told you we were going to focus on the state of North Carolina. We wanted to keep the best players in the state at home. Those eight guys from the state are actually seeing what’s happening here in Chapel Hill. […] I think they’re getting excited about what’s fixing to happen here,” Coach Fedora says.
Running back Elijah Hood has received most of the attention in the 2014 class, but despite his well-documented athletic prowess, Coach Fedora says the most impressive thing about Hood, the Eagle Scout, is his dedication and well-rounded nature.
For Coach Fedora it isn’t a “wait and see” game with these new Tar Heels. He says he fully expects many of the new recruits to make immediate impacts on the field this fall.
Full 2014 Class:
Cameron Albright DB 6-2 210 Kennesaw, Ga. North Cobb
Josh Allen OL 6-3 285 Jacksonville, Fla. University Christian School
Allen Artis* DB 6-1 190 Marietta, Ga. Wheeler
Ayden Bonilla DB 6-2 200 Woodstock, Ga. Etowah
Josh Cabrera WR 6-3 190 Jacksonville, N.C. Northside
Malik Carney LB 6-2 210 Alexandria, Va. T.C. Williams
Jeremiah Clarke DL 6-5 275 Alexandria, Va. T.C. Williams
Jared Cohen OL 6-4 295 Owings Mills, Md. McDonogh
Cayson Collins LB 6-1 215 Charlotte, N.C. Berry Academy
Robert Dinkins DL 6-2 235 Charlotte, N.C. Olympic
Avery Edwards TE 6-5 230 Raleigh, N.C. Ravenscroft
Brandon Fritts* TE 6-4 215 Mentor, Ohio Mentor
Caleb Henderson QB 6-3 220 Burke, Va. Lake Braddock
Elijah Hood* RB 6-0 220 Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte Catholic
Freeman Jones PK 6-1 185 Bunn, N.C. Bunn
Devin Perry WR 6-2 185 Memphis, Tenn. Memphis University School
Tyler Powell DL 6-4 255 Midlothian, Va. Cosby
Austin Proehl WR 5-10 175 Charlotte, N.C. Providence
Caleb Samuel OL 6-6 260 Macon, Ga. First Presbyterian
Bentley Spain* OL 6-6 285 Charlotte, N.C. Providence
M.J. Stewart* DB 5-11 190 Arlington, Va. Yorktown
Tyrell Tomlin LB 6-0 220 Marietta, Ga. Marietta