North Carolina recruiting: Where will the Tar Heels turn after losing on Tyler Shough, Cole Beck?
Join us daily at ACC DieHards for the latest North Carolina recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Tar Heels. Don’t miss any coverage from Cody Pace and the DieHards.com team. Read his daily notebooks here at 9 a.m. ET Monday through Friday. In this edition, we discuss the Tar Heels options at running back and quarterback after Cole Beck committed to Virginia Tech and Tyler Shough flipped his commitment to Oregon.
It wasn’t a fun weekend to be a North Carolina football fan.
Not only did the team get beat pretty badly at home against Notre Dame, but it suffered some real losses on the recruiting trail.
On Friday, 3-star all-purpose back Cole Beck from Blacksburg, Va., committed to Virginia Tech over the Tar Heels. It was always going to be an uphill battle to pull Beck away from the Hokies, who play in his backyard, but it’s disappointing nonetheless with North Carolina still hunting for a running back in the Class of 2018.
On Saturday, North Carolina got a real shocker when 4-star quarterback Tyler Shough, who had been committed to the Tar Heels since June 15, announced that he was de-committing from North Carolina and would be flipping his commitment to Oregon.
Shough, from Chandler, Ariz., unofficially visited Oregon on Oct. 4, and obviously, that visit was enough to change his mind.
The weekend leaves the Tar Heels with two large holes on offense in its recruiting class for 2018 and searching for answers.
Those answers are a little more well-defined at the running back position, as we’ve written before in The Dean’s List.
Devon Lawrence, a 3-star running back, is the top-rated target on the board and has been for quite some time. Lawrence was on campus over the weekend for his official visit, and he’s a teammate of 3-star safety commit Javon Terry at Wake Forest High School. North Carolina is up against stiff competition, however, with Tennessee getting an official visit this weekend and reigning national champion Clemson being considered the favorite to land the Wake Forest, N.C., native.
Behind Lawrence, there’s also 3-star Georgia running back Emeka Nwanze, who has publicly named Wake Forest his leader, and 3-star Winston Salem, N.C., running back Marcus Caldwell, who included North Carolina in his top five in May but has been quiet since.
While the running back position seems to have a specific hierarchy, quarterback is going to take some time to develop.
Of the quarterbacks who North Carolina have offered, only 4-star Corona, Calif., quarterback Tanner McKee is uncommitted, and he does not appear to be seriously considering the Tar Heels.
With 3-star Norton, Kan., quarterback Jace Ruder already on board in the Class of 2018, it’s certainly possible that Larry Fedora and his staff turn their attention elsewhere and stand pat at the quarterback position. But there’s a reason that the Tar Heels had two quarterbacks to begin with, so it’d be a bit surprising to see them not at least try to replace Shough in the class.
That could come in the form of a player who North Carolina has scouted but has not offered. The Tar Heels have looked at 13 other quarterbacks, including 3-star Nevada product Kenyon Oblad, 2-star South Carolina product Tyshun Sarratt and 2-star Tennessee product John Foreback.
Another player worth watching, although a long shot, is 3-star Temple commit Trad Beatty. The pro-style quarterback has 17 offers, but only Mississippi State and N.C. State offered from Power 5 conferences. An offer from North Carolina could, at the very least, get some interest, although it would take a lot to break his commitment.
Miss a previous edition? Find every ACC DieHards daily North Carolina Tar Heels recruiting notebook right here.