Mack Brown’s second stint as the head coach at North Carolina began with a primary mission: Own the state. Brown understood that had to happen for the Tar Heels to compete with Clemson in the ACC.
North Carolina has accomplished that goal for the most part. That’s especially impressive given the state of North Carolina is one of the most important recruiting territories for Dabo Swinney and the Tigers.
And it seems as though North Carolina is about to win a big battle over Clemson for an elite-level in-state prospect.
Five-star defensive lineman Travis Shaw of Greensboro (N.C.) Grimsley will announce his commitment on Aug. 21. The Tar Heels are trending in his recruitment.
Rated the No. 3 overall prospect and the No. 2 defensive lineman in the 2022 class in the 247Sports Composite, Shaw has offers from Georgia, Clemson, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State. Tennessee, USC, Wisconsin and many others. He was also considering North Carolina A&T, an HBCU.
But it seems likely that Brown is going to keep this program-changing defensive lineman home. It’s one thing to say you want to land the best in-state prospects, but to win a battle for an elite interior defensive lineman who has offers from every possible blue blood is recruiting at the highest level.
And this happened last year as well. In the 2021 cycle — in which North Carolina’s class ranked No. 14 overall and included 14 in-state prospects — the Tar Heels signed five-star defensive lineman Keeshawn Silver of Rocky Mount High, the No. 31 player nationally and the top player in the state. Shaw, of course, is also the No. 1 player in the state.
It’s taken Brown, hired in November 2018, a few years to get to this point. North Carolina failed to land the No. 1 player in the state in 2019 (athlete Quavaris Crouch, Tennessee) and 2020 (linebacker Trenton Simpson, Clemson), though it should be pointed out that the 2019 class signed only months after Brown took the job.
But now Brown is accomplishing his goal by keeping most of the elite prospects home — even away from nearby Clemson — and you see the result. North Carolina is ranked No. 9 in the preseason coaches poll, and the roster is getting deeper and more talented with each recruiting class.
Notre Dame lands two elite receivers
Four-star wide receiver C.J. Williams of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei committed to Notre Dame over the weekend, the Fighting Irish’s second pledge of the week from a receiver rated in the top 125 nationally.
Last Wednesday, Notre Dame landed four-star receiver Tobias Merriweather of Camas (Wash.) Union, the No. 125 overall player and the No. 18 receiver in the 2022 class.
Williams, who is rated the No. 86 overall player and the No. 11 receiver, had offers from Stanford, Texas, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Ohio State and many others.
Notre Dame took two high-level prospects from the Pac-12 footprint, which is top-notch recruiting from Brian Kelly and his staff. More importantly, these are the type of players who can make a difference in a College Football Playoff game.
The Irish’s 2022 class now ranks No. 2 nationally and includes 21 commitments, with six ranked in the top 150 nationally.
Texas A&M wins crucial battle
A top-50 national player in the state of Texas who is down to Texas A&M and Texas? That’s recruiting in its most entertaining form.
Texas A&M won the battle.
Four-star safety Bryce Anderson of Beaumont (Texas) West Brook committed to the Aggies over the Longhorns last Friday. Yes, it was a head-to-head matchup between two in-state powers in the end, but Anderson also had offers from Alabama, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma and many others. Anderson, the No. 48 overall player and the No. 3 safety in the 2022 class, is the epitome of a national prospect.
Jimbo Fisher has things humming at Texas A&M on the recruiting front, especially in Houston and the surrounding areas. The Aggies finished with the No. 6 overall class in the 2021 cycle after closing strong in the Houston area, and now they are back at it again in 2022.
Texas A&M has had five-star quarterback Conner Weigman of Cypress (Texas) Bridgeland in the fold since February and now adds Anderson to the mix. The top five commitments in Texas A&M’s 2022 class are all top-150 national players, and all of them are from Southeastern Texas.
Texas A&M’s recruiting prowess has staying power. The Aggies have been more than a viable foe to Texas throughout the entire state, but there’s no question who is leading the way in the Houston area. That’s a significant position to hold not only because Houston is one of the most talented cities in the country, but also because every SEC power heavily recruits the area.
It’s easy to envision the Aggies breaking through and reaching the College Football Playoff if they continue to own Houston for the foreseeable future.