Does it hurt? Heck yes. To say it doesnt is a lie. The kid can play any number of positions better than most of the kids available. Does it ruin this class? No. He was going to play wide receiver, and that happens to be an area in which the Tar Heels have one of their richest veins of talent.Had he been the running back this program needed, then the criticism might have been legitimate. But Carolina got a kid at tailback who shined among the estimations of all the recruiting writers in the nation as the season progressed. And better yet, this staff is elated with the one they got. Hes 5-foot-10, 230-pounds of muscle, and he can run.
Whether or not this is a genuinely effective class of recruits is far more related to the number of available scholarships and how UNCs staff used those to fill their needs. If the kids who signed eventually enroll and meet their projected promise, then this class will be a winner by anyones view of it.Start with defensive end. These players have the potential to exceed in quantity and quality of any group since the days of Mack Brown. And Browns recruiting is the measuring stick by which North Carolina recruiting must be measured. He put more players in the National Football League than any coach at this school, and those kids helped him win 10 or more games three times in the 1990s.The jewel of the defensive ends is a North Carolina kid, which should be noted by all those who want to criticize Davis for not hitting this state hard enough. His name is Quentin Coples, and hes listed at 6-foot-6, 245-pounds, and he could easily be the next Julius Peppers/Mario Williams, two eastern North Carolina natives as yet unparalleled by any other defensive linemen.Peppers, of course, is a familiar name to Carolina fans. A two-sport star and a dominant player in college and the National Football League, he is a force of nature. Williams chose N.C. State instead of UNC. He went No. 1 in the NFL draft, and hes starting to fulfill his promise as an impact player for the Houston Texans.Watch Coples film on the Internet, and it is hard to dispute the notion that he is the heir apparent in this group. Frankly, hes another freak.Quinton Coples you dont see too many guys who are 6-6, 250-something pounds. I hate to put numbers on guys, but its conceivable hes a guy who is going to run in the 4.6s (in the 40-yard dash), Davis said after Coples signed with the Tar Heels. Peppers ran 4.7 at NFL Day at Carolina in the spring he turned pro.Coples backed himself into a corner in high school, so he is spending his senior year at Hargrave Military Academy, spit-shinning his shoes and marching to a different drummer while trying to meet the NCAA academics guidelines necessary to qualify to enter Division I-A football.To his everlasting credit, he is working to do it.Quinton Coples is the kind of kid that I love coaching, Hargrave head coach Robert Prunty said. Hes special. (Hes got) leverage, height, aggressiveness (and) a mean streak. I will be very surprised if he doesnt become the next Julius Peppers at Carolina.Defensive end Robert Quinn, 6-5, 260 pounds, and a two-time heavyweight wrestling champion in South Carolina, chose Carolina over Alabama (which had the top-ranked class in America.) He is a similar prospect. So is 6-7, 245-pound Robert McAdoo of Tennessee, another potentially dominant player at that position.
UNC needs linebackers and it needs kids who can run. Enter Zach Brown of Maryland, who spent the past year at Hargrave Military Academy. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash on timing day at Hargrave. Dont believe in 40-times? Thats reasonable, considering the lies. Well, how about this instead: He won the Class 3-A title in the 100-meter dash (10.67 seconds) and 200-meter dash (21.52) in high school in Maryland. Brown is so fast the Carolina coaching staff is considering having him return kicks. When did you ever remember anyone have a linebacker return kicks?Kevin Reddick of New Bern, hometown of former UNC All-American Brian Simmons, is a dominant player. He proved it with his performance at the annual North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl. Hes 6-3, 230 pounds in high school.Then there is Christian Wilson, a 6-3, 245-pound prep All-America tight end from Pennsylvania who was committed to Michigan until the coaching change and ensuing difference in offensive philosophy. Michigan is the winningest college football program ever. Steal one of their recruits and one would have to figure the kid can play.
In the end, there are plenty of stories such as this with the Carolina recruiting class. The truth will be told on the field, as always, but for now forget the recruiting rankings.If you are a Tar Heel fan, trust Davis and his staffs judgment.If you look at the kids who played last season as first-year players, there is no reason to believe these coaches do not have a firm grip on what theyre doing. This means you can look forward to seeing some excellent athletes joining those already on campus, and that should eventually translate into more wins and trips to bowl games.