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Tag:John Blake
Posted on: August 15, 2011 9:27 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 9:27 pm
 

UNC recruiting put in a difficult spot

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There might not be a more interesting recruiting situation in the country than at the University of North Carolina. Their head coach was fired before the season - but after ACC Media Day. The program is in the middle of putting together their response to a set of serious allegations from the NCAA and, by the way, they're still facing a rebuilding job from a pure numbers standpoint because they've had so many players declared ineligible or leave to the NFL draft.

It's going to be a tough road to Signing Day for interim head coach Everett Withers. Not only must he continue to keep the current 12 players in the Tar Heels' recruiting class committed but he'll have to deal with plenty of negative recruiting out on the road. Unlike a USC, Miami or Ohio State that can sell players on their history and tradition of sending players to the NFL when times are tough, North Carolina isn't an elite school when it comes to that. Given the fact that there is so much uncertainty surrounding possible - and by possible we mean likely - NCAA sanctions, it's going to be difficult for the school to land high end talent.

That's not to say they can put together a solid class however. UNC is well known for its academics and Chapel Hill is a great college town. There's a good deal of talent in the Carolinas and nearby states such as Virginia and Tennessee. There's some solid players already committed at the moment, such as offensive lineman J.J. Patterson, tight end Justin Meredith and quarterback Patton Robinette. If they can build around that group, possibly target a few speedsters on either side of the ball and evaluate others well, there's no question the program can make it through this year before learning how handcuffed they'll be going forward.

Butch Davis, John Blake and the school administration have put the Tar Heels football program in a tough spot. They certainly can dig out of it with good effort but it will be an uncertain road until Signing Day and beyond.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:45 pm
 

Early recruit reaction to Davis firing is mixed

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A state of shock.

That's likely what many North Carolina recruits are feeling following the sudden dismissal of Tar Heels' coach Butch Davis on Wednesday. That the school chose to wait until it did - two days after ACC media days and eight days before fall camp started - was a bit surprising to just about everyone.

So how does it affect North Carolina's recruiting? Only time will tell but it isn't going to be positive.

It was Davis who was chiefly responsible for luring the class of 2011 to Chapel Hill despite the possibility of severe NCAA sanctions stemming from violations involving former assistant John Blake and instances of academic fraud that caused several players to lose their eligibility. Despite the head coach being shown the door, that class has already begun college and won't be able to leave unless released by the university.

Undoubtedly many are upset after being told by the staff that things would blow over in short order. They obviously knew this could end up happening down the road and so far none are speaking out. According to The Virginian-Pilot, the players can't speak with the media after being told by the school to keep quiet.

For the upcoming class of 2012, things are a bit different.

Running back Greg Garmon had the Heels as his top school but following the dismissal, has dropped the school way down his list according to Scout.

"I no longer have a leader," Garmon said.

Defensive end target Sheldon Rankins had similar thoughts.

“It’s always a shocker to hear the head coach of the football team you really like got fired … but you take it as it is and go with it,” Rankins told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I was already looking at other options because of the NCAA sanctions, so it didn’t really affect me that much. Everything is still wide open.”

Though neither have completely ruled out the school, it's going to be quite the uphill battle for the interim staff to land either given the uncertainty. The pair doesn't speak for every recruit however. Offensive tackle Jon Heck is one of several UNC commits in the upcoming class to say they're still on board despite the recent news.

"It is unfortunate and I wish that I could still play under Coach Davis but like I said I considered this possibility from the get-go, so I am still a 100% committed to UNC," Heck told Rivals.

North Carolina currently has 12 commitments for the class of 2012 though none is considered an elite prospect. While it remains to be seen how many actually stick with their commitment on Signing Day, at least they'll be able to make a more informed choice than their peers in the 2011 class. Remember that all of this is before any possible sanctions handed out by the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which will only make things worse. You can bet that opposing schools have already begun negatively recruiting and used all this against the Heels.

No matter how you slice it, it's going to be tough for North Carolina out on the recruiting trail.
Posted on: March 16, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 5:33 pm
 

Delvon Simmons gets release from UNC

Posted by Bryan Fischer

MaxPreps eighth-ranked defensive tackle Delvon Simmons has been released from his letter of intent, North Carolina head coach Butch Davis confirmed to CarolinaBlue.com.

Simmons surprisingly chose the Tar Heels on Signing Day despite never taking an official visit to the school. The 6-foot-5, 265 pound defensive tackle asked for his release following the departure of line coach Brian Baker, who was only on staff for a month. Baker followed Charlie Coiner, who filled in following the departure of disgraced assistant John Blake.

According to Scout.com, Simmons listed USC, Pitt, Texas Tech, Iowa, Oregon, Florida and Rutgers as schools he would like to be released to. He is expected to choose between Texas Tech or USC.

News is not all bad in Chapel Hill however, as former North Carolina defensive tackle Brandon Willis rejoined the team on Monday following a transfer to UCLA.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com