2021 College Football Class Review: North Carolina

By Corey Long - @CoreyLong
Updated Sept. 9, 2020.

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This is everything we got college recruiting wise for North Carolina but don't take our word for it...be sure to click around the site to drive up our traffic. :).

Conference Class Rank

Last Updated/Ranked: June 11, 2020
1 Clemson logo Clemson
2 North Carolina logo North Carolina
3 Miami logo Miami
4 Florida State logo Florida State
5 Louisville logo Louisville
6 Georgia Tech logo Georgia Tech
7 Virginia logo Virginia
8 Pittsburgh logo Pittsburgh
9 Boston College logo Boston College
10 N.C. State logo N.C. State
11 Syracuse logo Syracuse
12 Duke logo Duke
13 Virginia Tech logo Virginia Tech
14 Wake Forest logo Wake Forest

2021 College Recruiting - 14 Commits

Last Player Grade Published on July 18, 2020
North Carolina logo DE Trevion Stevenson (Hampton, VA) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Stevenson makes his second flip of this recruiting cycle, backing away from his commitment to Pittsburgh and shifting to fellow ACC program North Carolina. Previously, Stevenson (6-3, 215) was committed to Old Dominion. From an earlier evaluation: He makes a lot of plays in the backfield, has pretty good anticipation and comes off of the snap well. Most of his splash plays came against the run, so it's hard for me to determine his abilities as a pass rusher.

Trevion Stevenson's Player Grade: C+
North Carolina logo CB Tony Grimes (Virginia Beach, VA) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Grimes (6-0, 180) was the No. 1 cornerback in the 2021 recruiting class, but he signed a letter of intent with the Tar Heels and re-classified himself as a 2020 prospect because the upcoming Virginia high school football season was canceled/delayed. His move will be reflected in the upcoming rankings adjustment.

Grimes has great size; he is bigger than most cornerbacks and has sufficient length. He is smooth in coverage, with great speed and fluid movement. Grimes is technically sound too. He transitions very well from the backpedal and knows how to stay on the hip of the receiver. He can run for days and has no problem covering the deep routes or going across the field. Grimes is also a form tackler who will play with integrity against the run. This is the biggest recruiting win for North Carolina in years and the best defensive back prospect to come through the program since Dre Bly.

Tony Grimes' Player Grade: A+
North Carolina logo DE/DT Jahvaree Ritzie (Kernersville, NC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Ritzie (6-4, 271) is another big in-state win for Mack Brown and the Tar Heels. Ritzie is a powerhouse. He is a state champion in the shot put and has incredible strength in his hands. He can move offensive linemen out of the way with hand fighting alone.

Ritzie is a quick-twitch athlete who can move extremely well at 270 pounds and should be just as effective in the 290-pound range. He can play on the inside or the outside, with the ability to play on the outside in three-man fronts and provide a strong inside rush as a three-technique on four-man fronts.

Ritzie is currently ranked the No. 20 defensive end in the nation, but he is likely to get a bump and possibly a position switch to defensive tackle in the pre-fall rankings. He is a tough player who will not be contained one on one. Ritzie possesses major upside.

Jahvaree Ritzie's Player Grade: A-
North Carolina logo WR J.J. Jones (Myrtle Beach, SC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Jones (6-3, 193) gives North Carolina a big, outside receiving target who can run pretty well and stretch the field. He is still pretty young in his football development, but he proved to be a beast on the field as a junior and had 45 receptions for over 700 yards and a remarkable 15 touchdowns. Physically, Jones is a threat in the red zone, but he is also a big-play threat who can run after the catch on short passes and get down the field off the line for the deep ball. Jones is a tough player and will battle for the ball on contested throws. He has some work to do on the fundamental end, but he has massive upside and the potential to be a WR1.

J.J. Jones' Player Grade: B
North Carolina logo OL Jared Wilson (Clemmons, NC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Chalk up another big recruiting battle win for the Tar Heels and Mack Brown, as they received a verbal commitment from Wilson (6-4, 320), who had been committed to Georgia earlier in the process. Wilson was racking up the offers over the past six weeks with Ohio State and Alabama extending offers with the hopes of him dragging out his recruitment through the summer. But the North Carolina staff got aggressive and continued to push.

Wilson plays tackle in high school, but he's going to get kicked to the inside in college. He moves exceptionally well though, much better than I expected for a big lineman. He plays with pad level and has good lower body strength. On the inside, he's going to pull a lot because he does have quick feet and good lateral speed. Wilson could also play center. At either position, I believe Wilson has potential should be a multi-year starter.

Jared Wilson's Player Grade: B+
North Carolina logo LB Raneiria Dillworth (Kennersville, NC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Dillworth (6-2, 185) becomes the 14th commitment in North Carolina's 2021 recruiting class, which is a consensus top-10 class, and he's the 13th in-state player committed. Dillworth has incredible speed and pursuit along with a great motor. He runs like a track kid. Dilllworth is built more like a cornerback than a linebacker, so he's going to have to go through a body transformation, more than just adding weight, he's going to have to add mass and strength. He'll never be the biggest linebacker, and I don't know that a weight over 210-215 pounds is going to be good for him, but he's a natural football player who will make plays sideline to sidelines and end to end. I feel comfortable saying he'll learn how to play in space and be one of the better coverage linebackers in this class. Dillworth has the potential to be a freak athlete who can play several positions at linebacker or in the secondary.

Raneiria Dillworth's Player Grade: B
North Carolina logo RB Kamarro Edmonds (Havelock, NC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

The one thing missing from the Tar Heels' impressive early haul in the 2021 class was a top end running back. Edmonds (5-11, 195) should fill that void as a prospect who projects to be one of the top-20 running backs in this class. Edmonds fits that tweener back role, as he's somewhat of a power back with some speed, but he also has plus-level quickness and explosive burst. What puts Edmonds a cut above other backs in his tier might be his ability to catch out of the backfield. He is a solid back who should project out as a multi-year starter and a guy who will reliably get 20-25 touches per game.

Kamarro Edmonds' Player Grade: B+
North Carolina logo ATH DeAndre Boykins (Concord, NC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Boykins (5-11, 195) should project out to be a versatile piece on defense who could play some safety or possibly grow into a middle linebacker position. He's likely to stay in the secondary, however, because he has good enough coverage skills to play cornerback in certain alignments. Boykins is a two-way player in high school and certainly has the size to play running back. He doesn't have top-end track speed, but he has plenty enough speed to compete in the secondary or on offense as a bigger power running back. Boykins' football instincts should get him on the field early and in a spot to contribute.

DeAndre Boykins' Player Grade: B
North Carolina logo ATH Tymir Brown (Jacksonville, NC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Brown (6-0, 160) had been handling his recruitment as if he wasn't going to be too far from home, and the projected defensive back chose the Tar Heels over N.C. State when it came to his final decision. The Tar Heels staff is looking at Brown to be a cornerback who can compete in man coverage and survive when he's out on an island. Brown has good length, but he'll need to gain overall strength to cover outside receivers one-on-one. I think Brown will contribute more as a slot corner and corner in the nickel package on the front end of his college career before he becomes a full-time starter as an upperclassman.

Tymir Brown's Player Grade: C+
North Carolina logo OT Eli Sutton (Brentwood, TN) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Who said the Tar Heels can't recruit out of state? We've rightfully given Mack Brown and his staff so much credit for their in-state recruiting prowess, but we shouldn't discount Brown in any recruiting battle. With Sutton (6-7, 280), there was no shortage of suitors, including Tennessee, Baylor, Florida, LSU and several others. He is built like a prototypical left tackle with those long arms and wide wingspan. He is a two-sport guy, and his days playing basketball have served him well with his footwork. He's built from the lower body up and has a great leg drive. Sutton is going to be the left tackle of the future for North Carolina and has a high ceiling.

Eli Sutton's Player Grade: B+
North Carolina logo WR Kobe Paysour (Kings Mountains, NC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Paysour (6-1, 170) is the latest in-state prospect to commitment to North Carolina and continue to buy into Mack Brown's plan to fill the roster with in-state players. Paysour's commitment comes a day after North Carolina flipped blue-chip quarterback Drake Maye from Alabama, and there's little doubt that Maye's decision along with the Tar Heels' exciting options at quarterback were the main catalyst for Paysour's decision.

Paysour has been productive in high school, starting since he was a freshman and averaging over 1,100 receiving yards each season. He is a bigger receiver and plays a big receivers game. He'll jump for the 50-50 balls and get physical with defensive backs. Paysour's not a speedster, but he has a nice combination of size, speed and hands.

Kobe Paysour's Player Grade: B+
North Carolina logo QB Drake Maye (Charlotte, NC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

This was the huge play Mack Brown was looking for early in this recruiting cycle. Maye (6-4, 205) is a blue-chip quarterback who was committed to Alabama until the start of the weekend, and now he will be the centerpiece of the Tar Heels' 2021 recruiting class.

Maye is a terrific athlete and comes from a strong line of athletes in football and basketball, with his father Mark Maye having played quarterback for North Carolina in the 1980s. He is a high-level passer that is mechanically sound and has one of the quicker releases of any quarterback in this class. Maye has been incredibly productive in high school. He threw for over 3,200 yards and 35 touchdowns as a sophomore and then over 3,500 yards and 50 touchdowns as a junior. If it wasn't clear that Mack Brown is going to control the recruiting narrative in North Carolina, it should be by now.

Drake Maye's Player Grade: A
North Carolina logo WR Gavin Blackwell (Monroe, NC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

North Carolina head coach Mack Brown said he was going to focus on getting the top in-state prospects during his introductory press conference. In his first recruiting class, he grabbed quarterback Sam Howell before the end of the early signing period. In Brown's second recruiting class, he convinced Desmond Evans and Myles Murphy to sign. Now already in the 2021 class, Brown has secured commitments from Gabe Stephens and Power Echols. Wide receiver Gavin Blackwell has now joined the fold as well, and very quickly, the Tar Heels have secured three of the top-12 players in the state for the 2021 class. Blackwell is an exciting receiver who can stretch the field and can play several spots in the offense and on special teams.

Gavin Blackwell's Player Grade: A-
North Carolina logo ATH Gabe Stephens (Mount Holly, NC) commits to North Carolina  View Class

Stephens (6-3, 200) continues North Carolina's impressive early run with in-state prospects. Stephens is a long athlete who will likely find a home at linebacker, where he can use his length and athleticism to make plays in coverage and in the backfield. Stephens said he is looking to be to North Carolina what Isaiah Simmons was to Clemson. Stephens has the ability to go from sideline to sideline to make plays against the run, and he can get up to the line of scrimmage and come off the edge. Stephens is capable in coverage and should only get better with more opportunities to drop back.

Gabe Stephens' Player Grade: B+

All Commitments - 16

Most recent Commitment on July 18, 2020
  • 7/18 - Trevion Stevenson DE
  • 6/30 - Tony Grimes CB
  • 6/12 - Jahvaree Ritzie DE
  • 5/21 - J.J. Jones WR
  • 4/17 - Jared Wilson OL
  • 4/17 - Raneiria Dillworth LB
  • 4/3 - Kamarro Edmonds RB
  • 3/18 - DeAndre Boykins ATH
  • 3/17 - Tymir Brown ATH
  • 3/8 - Eli Sutton OT
  • 3/8 - Kobe Paysour WR
  • 3/6 - Drake Maye QB
  • 2/10 - Gavin Blackwell WR
  • 2/7 - Gabe Stephens ATH
  • 1/25 - Power Echols LB
  • 1/20 - Caleb Hood ATH

Last Season's Roster:

  • Seniors: 17
  • Juniors: 19
  • Sophmores: 27
  • Freshmen: 53
DB: 20 Players | 96 games played
Sr:4 Jr:2 So:6 Fr:8
Player Class Games|Starts
Myles Dorn Sr 9|9
D.J. Ford Jr 9|6
Storm Duck Fr 9|5
Greg Ross Sr 9|5
Don Chapman Fr 9|1
DeAndre Hollins Fr 9|0
Javon Terry So 9|0
Trey Morrison So 7|7
Obi Egbuna Fr 7|0
Myles Wolfolk Jr 5|4
CamRon Kelly Fr 5|1
Patrice Rene Sr 3|2
Tre Shaw So 3|0
Giovanni Biggers Fr 2|0
Graham Eklund Sr 1|0
Val Edwards Fr 0|0
Drew Homschek Fr 0|0
Kyler McMichael So 0|0
Bryson Richardson So 0|0
Bryce Watts So 0|0
DL: 15 Players | 60 games played
Sr:2 Jr:1 So:5 Fr:7
Player Class Games|Starts
Aaron Crawford Sr 9|9
Tomari Fox Fr 9|2
Jason Strowbridge Sr 8|8
Xach Gill So 8|1
Jahlil Taylor Fr 8|0
Raymond Vohasek So 8|0
Chris Collins So 5|0
Quiron Johnson So 5|0
Wisdom Asaboro Fr 0|0
Nolan DeFranco Jr 0|0
Kevin Hester Jr. Fr 0|0
Brant Lawless-Sherrill Fr 0|0
William Robertson Fr 0|0
Lancine Turay So 0|0
Kristian Varner Fr 0|0
K: 5 Players | 26 games played
Sr:1 Jr:0 So:2 Fr:2
Player Class Games|Starts
Noah Ruggles So 9|0
Cooper Graham So 8|0
Michael Rubino Sr 6|0
Jonathan Kim Fr 3|0
Nicky Solomon Fr 0|0
LB: 17 Players | 81 games played
Sr:3 Jr:5 So:2 Fr:7
Player Class Games|Starts
Tomon Fox Jr 9|9
Jeremiah Gemmel So 9|9
Allen Cater Sr 9|7
Chazz Surratt Jr 9|7
Khadry Jackson Fr 9|0
Dominique Ross Sr 8|7
Tyrone Hopper Jr 8|1
Eugene Asante Fr 8|0
Jake Lawler So 6|0
Jonathan Smith Sr 4|1
Matthew Flint Fr 2|0
Parks Cochrane Fr 0|0
Dilan Gonzalez Fr 0|0
Jake Harkleroad Fr 0|0
Alex Nobles Fr 0|0
Hunter Sheridan Jr 0|0
Noah Taylor Jr 0|0
LS: 2 Players | 17 games played
Sr:0 Jr:1 So:0 Fr:1
Player Class Games|Starts
Drew Little Fr 9|0
Trevor Collins Jr 8|0
OL: 20 Players | 73 games played
Sr:2 Jr:1 So:5 Fr:12
Player Class Games|Starts
Marcus McKethan So 9|9
Jordan Tucker So 9|9
Brian Anderson So 9|7
Ed Montilus Fr 9|7
Joshua Ezeudu Fr 9|3
Charlie Heck Sr 8|8
William Barnes Fr 6|0
Billy Ross So 6|0
Asim Richards Fr 4|0
Nick Polino Sr 3|2
Tobechi Nwokeji So 1|0
Layton Barber Jr 0|0
Noland Brown Fr 0|0
Avery Jones Fr 0|0
Nick Mackovic Fr 0|0
Triston Miller Fr 0|0
Ty Murray Fr 0|0
Jake Setterlind Fr 0|0
Hunter Shope Fr 0|0
Wyatt Tunall Fr 0|0
P: 3 Players | 9 games played
Sr:0 Jr:1 So:0 Fr:2
Player Class Games|Starts
Ben Kiernan Fr 9|0
Mats Pokela Fr 0|0
Michael Selsor Jr 0|0
QB: 4 Players | 11 games played
Sr:0 Jr:0 So:0 Fr:4
Player Class Games|Starts
Sam Howell Fr 9|9
Jace Ruder Fr 2|0
Vincent Amendola Fr 0|0
Donovan Brewington Fr 0|0
RB: 5 Players | 38 games played
Sr:1 Jr:1 So:2 Fr:1
Player Class Games|Starts
Michael Carter Jr 9|8
Javonte Williams So 9|1
Antonio Williams Sr 8|0
British Brooks So 7|0
Josh Henderson Fr 5|0
TE: 8 Players | 35 games played
Sr:3 Jr:3 So:0 Fr:2
Player Class Games|Starts
Garrett Walston Jr 9|5
Jake Bargas Sr 9|0
Noah Turner Jr 9|0
Carl Tucker Sr 7|4
Kamari Morales Fr 1|0
Will Crowley Fr 0|0
Brandon Fritts Sr 0|0
Dom Samson Jr 0|0
WR: 17 Players | 64 games played
Sr:1 Jr:4 So:5 Fr:7
Player Class Games|Starts
Dyami Brown So 9|9
Dazz Newsome Jr 9|9
Beau Corrales Jr 9|7
Rontavius Groves Jr 9|0
Antoine Green So 6|2
Emery Simmons Fr 6|0
Welton Spottsville Fr 6|0
Roscoe Johnson Jr 5|0
Corey Bell Jr. Sr 3|0
Khafre Brown Fr 1|0
Austin Chrismon So 1|0
Carson Burgess Fr 0|0
Austyn Chestnut So 0|0
Gray Goodwyn Fr 0|0
Mason Laurence So 0|0
Justin Olson Fr 0|0
Jeffrey Saturday Fr 0|0


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