North Carolina signed 23 players in its Top-30 ranked recruiting class of 2014. The Heels signed 23 solid players, including a quartet of four star prospects, in OL Bentley Spain, QB Caleb Henderson, OL Josh Allen and RB Elijah Hood. Highlights on the defense included DE Robert Dinkins and ILB Ty Tomlin. ESPN also has the class rated 6th in the Atlantic Coast Conference heading into the morning of signing day. Lets take a closer look at some of the defensive players UNC Football got.
Blue Chippers: DE Robert Dinkins, ILB Ty Tomlin, S Cameron Albright
Two of these three standout defensive prospects came from Georgia, and one (Dinkins) stayed in state to play for UNC. All three of these guys look to fill a void left over from graduating seniors or UNC’s off the field issues. Dinkins will be in the mix for a starting defensive end spot after Kareem Martin’s graduation left a void at the position. Dinkins is an athletic beast who is quick to attack the quarterback off the edge. He needs to work on his inside move and his run defense, but should help out UNC’s defense this fall get some pressure on the quarterback.
Tomlin is the 22nd rated Inside Linebacker prospect out of Marietta, Georgia. Tomlin has great instincts filling gaps and wrapping up running backs, and has shown flashes dropping back into coverage on third down. Expect Tomlin to at the very least be a big time contributor on special teams for UNC.
Albright is the 41st rated safety in the nation, and rates out as a three-star prospect by ESPN recruiting services. Albright played a lot of wide receiver in high school, and his experienced catching the football and good hands show up on tape. Albright could end up sliding into a starting spot at safety left open with Tre Boston’s graduation. All three of these defenders could make big plays on defense for the Heels this upcoming football season.
Under the Radar Steals: DL Tyler Powell, DL Jeremiah Clarke, S Allen Artis
Clarke is the highest rated of this three under the radar steals for UNC. These guys might not have been recruited by every SEC school, but they still have the talent and upside to be really good football players for Carolina this season and down the road. Jeremiah Clarke is an interior lineman who excels in breaking up run plays in the backfield. He needs to add some more weight to his 6-4 frame, but he is a versatile prospect for UNC who could make plays for the Heels for years to come.
Tyler Powell’s quick first step shows up on film, and as he grows and gets stronger, he could be a great run stopper in the interior of UNC’s defense. Give him a year or two to mature, but Powell will be a really good football player for Coach Fedora in UNC Blue. Allen Artis is a three-star prospect out of Georgia who is very physical in the run game. Artis isn’t afraid to bust in from the secondary and blow up a screen pass or running play, similar to how Tre Boston played. At the very least, Artis will be making impact plays on special teams come September and October.