Despite a poor year on the field, Larry Fedora and UNC are putting the finishing touches on a talented recruiting class. Part of that success can be attributed to the collection of players that the Tar Heels signed on defense, which will help the team rebound in the 2018 season and build for the future.
We have compiled scouting reports on every defensive player that Carolina has signed this year. As more recruits continue to commit and sign letters of intent, we will update this story.
- 3-star OLB Matthew Flint (6-1, 213)
A versatile athlete, Flint is listed as a linebacker but played safety for his high school as well. He is a solid tackler, driving through his opponent and making a stop upon contact. He is not a super twitchy athlete nor is he super athletic, but Flint rarely takes a misstep as he takes an angle towards his target. As an early enrollee, Flint should be able to put in work in the weight room and take a role on special teams as a freshman.
Other offers: Tennessee, Auburn, Louisville and Mississippi State
- 3-star S Bryson Richardson (6-0, 180)
Richardson looks the part of a college safety already. At 6-1, 180-pounds, he is big enough to jam receivers and take on blocks in the run game. He was moved all over the field in high school, lining up as a deep safety, a box safety, and even an edge rusher at times. Richardson has a great motor and is a sideline-to-sideline player, often chasing down opponents other players would give up on. He also has a nose for the football and his film shows him forcing a few fumbles. As a freshman, look for Richardson to play a role on special teams and contribute in the safety rotation.
Other offers: Tennessee, Kansas State, Stanford, West Virginia and Wisconsin
Signed Letter of Intent
- 3-star WDE Chris Collins (6-4, 215)
The first thing you notice about Collins on film is his motor. Despite not having a great first step on the snap, he is relentless as a pass rusher, going through or around blockers to make a tackle. He does not play against great competition, but shows a good ability to shed blockers and make stops in the open field as well. Collins also played tight end for his high school, displaying his athleticism on a few touchdown grabs. At Carolina, Collins will need to add weight before contributing along the defensive line. Look for him to grab a redshirt year and push for playing time as a redshirt freshman or sophomore.
Other offers: Miami, Georgia, Louisville, Michigan State and Virginia Tech
- 3-star ATH Trey Morrison (5-10, 187)
One of the more athletic players that Carolina signed this year, Morrison played both receiver and cornerback in high school. On defense, he showed a good ability to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. He plays bigger than 5-10 and runs with receivers well. He also moonlighted as a returner and was dynamic in the open field with the ball in his hands. As a freshman, Morrison should be able to contribute in the defensive back rotation.
Other offers: Boston College, Maryland, Minnesota and West Virginia
- 3-star S Javon Terry (6-0, 180)
With experience playing everywhere in the secondary, Terry could play either cornerback or safety at the college level. But with his size, it’s likely that he will get a first look at safety, where his ball-hawking skills and ability to adjust in the air could make him a valuable asset to the defense. Terry should be able to contribute on special teams early as he works his way into the defensive back rotation.
Other offers: East Carolina, Marshall, NC State and Wake Forest
- 3-star DT Jahlil Taylor (6-1, 290)
Taylor is a big kid and plays with good leverage as well. He will get underneath opponent’s pads and force them back into the quarterback. He also has a good first step and displays an aptitude for timing the snap, often blowing up the play before it even begins. His film also shows a good use of the swim move, beating interior linemen to make a tackle in the backfield. At 6-1, 290-pounds, Taylor has the size to contribute right away. If he can clean up his technique and continue to learn the nuances of being an interior lineman, he should be able to contribute fairly soon.
Other offers: Appalachian State, Army, Colorado State and Western Kentucky
- 3-star SDE Lancine Turay (6-5, 230)
At 6-5, 230-pounds, Turay is already on his way to becoming a college-ready defensive end. The strength and conditioning program at UNC should do wonders for adding good muscle to his frame. On film, Turay shows a good burst off of the line is a solid tackler as well. He is still developing as a pass rusher, but can slowly learn more as he progresses in practice. As a freshman, Turay could contribute in a specialized pass rushing role on third downs or in late-game situations.
Other offers: Boston College, Minnesota and Rutgers
- 3-star ILB Kyle Wright (6-1, 220)
Although Wright does not have prototypical linebacker size at 6-1, 220-pounds, Wright is a solid player on film. He diagnoses the run well and takes good angles of pursuit. In high school, Wright played both linebacker and running back which speaks to his athleticism. He is an explosive athlete and should develop into a solid player for the Tar Heels. As a freshman, Wright will be able to play on special teams early and play as a rotational linebacker in late-game situations.
Other offers: Purdue and Temple
- 3-star CB DeAndre Hollins (6-2, 172)
At 6-2, 172-pounds, Hollins has the size and length to be shut down big receivers. He is good in coverage and able to match up with receivers down the field. He is a bit limited in run support, but that is an area he can work on in practice. As a bigger player, Hollins could develop and either stick at cornerback or move to safety. But for now, expect the staff to work him in slowly as they add good weight to his big frame.
Other offers: Mississippi State, Penn State and Tennessee
- 3-star DE Gavin Lewis
At 6-4, 275-pounds, Lewis has the size to contribute right away. He can either play at strong-side defensive end, or add weight and slide inside to defensive tackle. Either way, he will need to work on his technique when he arrives at Carolina. Lewis is a big kid with a lot of power, and it shows on film as he bowls over linemen on the way to make a tackle. As a freshman, expect Lewis to either redshirt or contribute in late-game situations as he works on his technique.
Other offers: Colorado, Iowa State and Kentucky