UNC wraps up 2009 recruiting class
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
I was waiting to make sure quarterback A.J. Blue's Letter of Intent was in before the Carolina post went up, and a school spokesman said it came in about five minutes after coach Butch Davis' press conference, so the Tar Heels' class is officially complete, and it's a great one.
This class includes 15 players from the state of North Carolina, and four players are ranked among the ESPN 150, and seven of them earned grades of 80 or higher. One of the differences Davis mentioned about this class is that he wasn't nervous about the faxes coming in, and the bulk of them showed up before 9 a.m. He was a little worried, though, when standout quarterback Donavan Tate's LOI didn't show up on time. It turned out Tate's mother had trouble finding a fax machine to send it from.
Davis addressed the issue of over-recruiting, which has made for some interesting math in Chapel Hill. As Robbi Pickeral of the Raleigh News & Observer explained, the problem is not so much getting the 29 commitments down to the NCAA allotted 25 (he has until Aug. 1 to do that, I think), it's squeezing into the 85 scholarship limit. Some might not qualify, some might leave, some will greyshirt. Regardless, Davis says he has a plan for each of them, and that over-recruiting isn't unique to UNC.
"The practice of oversigning has been around for a long time," Davis said. "We did it several times in my years at the University of Miami and basically what you're trying to do is you're trying to target kids that want to come to the University of North Carolina. We had a plan for every kid that could potentially fall into that category, whether it's a greyshirt opportunity because of an injury, whether it's an academic situation that someone may need to go to post graduate, whether it's somebody that they need some maturity, they're a 17-year-old senior that needs to be a little bit older, a little bit more mature ... there's a variety of different guys that this fits.
"But here's the secret that goes into it. You have to be honest with the player, the high school coach, you have to be honest with the parents and say this is our plan for your son. And surprisingly ... some of the kids we have oversigned are ... absolutely, academically, fully eligible to accept a scholarship that could have gone to any other school they would have chosen and been immediately eligible at that school. But they said they wanted to come to Carolina and they were willing to wait and put off that opportunity until later."
It will be interesting to see who the impact players in this class are in 2009 after the dust settles, but there's no question Davis is building a program that will contend for ACC championships.