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Thursday, February 4, 2010
Recruiting rewind: North Carolina

By Heather Dinich

Unfortunately for UNC coach Butch Davis’ wife, her birthday falls on signing day.

“The common joke around our house is what did you get her -- four offensive lineman, two wide receivers?" Davis said. "But it was a good day.”

Yes it was for the Tar Heels.

North Carolina was at its best down the stretch and cracked the Scouts Inc. Top 25 at No. 24, bringing in the ACC's fourth-best class. Davis and his staff closed strong, adding the No. 16 running back, Giovanni Bernard, the No. 10 defensive tackle, Brandon Willis, and top-25 receiver Sean Tapley, who switched from South Carolina on signing day. It’s not a large class, but it packs a punch, thanks to players like ESPNU 150 offensive guard James Hurst.

“This class is what we would like a recruiting class to look like in future years to come,” Davis told reporters at his Wednesday press conference. “The first couple years you have to recruit on need. There are voids in the roster, you need speed or skill players or you are short at a position. In this particular recruiting class we signed a player at every position, with the exception of quarterback.”

And that was intentional. The staff made a decision about six months ago that they wouldn’t add another signal caller to the roster in this class.

“We felt comfortable with the guys that we had on our team,” Davis said. “We respected the idea that kids who play quarterback want to look into the future. Not only do they want to know whom they are going to play with, they also want to know what their opportunities are to get a chance. … Coach (John) Shoop and I felt that in the Carolina’s there are some of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country. We felt like this would be an appropriate time to skip the quarterback position.”

Instead, the staff focused on what it needed -- offensive and defensive linemen and tight ends. They also wanted to recruit more speed at the skill positions. With five four-star recruits, they did that.

“We wanted guys who are home runs hitters, someone (who) can score quickly – I think we accomplished that. I think there are some guys we have that can do that."

Wide receiver Sean Tapley should be one of those players. Despite the signing day decision, Davis said the staff knew Tapley was coming to Chapel Hill for about two months.

"In Sean’s case, his father is a major Tar Heel and he really wanted Sean to go to school here," Davis said. "Sean was heavily recruited in Jacksonville by two schools in the state of South Carolina among other schools. One of the trends that have I noticed this year with a lot of recruits is that kids are tired of getting “beat up.” They are tired of getting beat up in their schools, by alumni, in their community and a lot of them have said ‘Here is what I want to do. Will you keep it quiet?’ That way the kid does not have to battle the unnecessary phone calls from coaches asking why they committed or why they decommitted. When Sean came here he said ‘Coach, I want to be a Tar Heel."

Davis said he anticipates all 21 of the signees will be on campus in the fall.

"In previous years, as in last year, we over-signed -- knowing a few players might have to be placed somewhere,” he said. “This year that is not the intent in any of the 21 players that we signed."