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Cayson Collins (23), Ayden Bonilla (24), and R.J. Prince (76) take the field against Virginia Tech.

North Carolina recruiting: Will the Tar Heels land an interior lineman?

Cody Pace

Join us daily at ACC DieHards for the latest North Carolina recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Tar Heels. Today, we discuss the Tar Heels’ recruiting board on the interior offensive line, plus a quick note on 5-star forward Nassir Little, who dropped his top five yesterday.

North Carolina football finds itself in good shape for the Class of 2018, with solid defensive prospects, two quarterbacks and a handful of potential pass catchers.

But the class has two deficiencies — the backfield and the offensive line. Last week, we discussed possible options for the Tar Heels at running back as they search for the first one, so this week, we’ll discuss the offensive line.

The offensive line is in better shape than the running game in that Larry Fedora has secured one commitment — from 4-star Havelock, N.C. offensive tackle Avery Jones.

In the Class of 2017, North Carolina took five offensive linemen, three of which played in the interior. While that means that there isn’t as much pressure to load up on the big men inside in 2018, you’d expect Fedora to target one or two in this cycle.

Trey Hill, the 5-star Warner Robbins, Ga. product who ranks as the No. 2 guard in the Class of 2018, would be the top target, but it looks like it’s a three-team race between Georgia, Clemson and Florida State at this point.

Instead, these are a few options for Fedora and the Tar Heels.

Jovaughn Gwyn, Charlotte, N.C.

Gwyn, a 3-star prospect, may rank as only the 23rd-best guard and 442nd-best player in the Class of 2018, but he’s no slouch.

The 6-foot-3, 290-pound guard received an invitation to Nike’s The Opening finals earlier this summer and boasts 14 offers, which include Duke, N.C. State, South Carolina, Louisville and Wisconsin.

Gwyn originally planned to make his decision before he attended The Opening finals in June, but that didn’t happen, and that could be good news for the Tar Heels. The in-state prospect has been hottest on Duke, N.C. State and South Carolina, all within a relatively close proximity of Charlotte.

Toward the end of the summer, North Carolina was able to get him on campus for the FREAK SHOW camp event in July. A solid impression there, plus the closeness to home factor, could help the Tar Heels climb back in the race.

Ed Montilus, Apopka, Fla.

Montilus, like Gwyn, was on campus for the FREAK SHOW camp in July.

That was the second visit for the 3-star guard, who was also on campus for junior day in March.

The No. 25 guard in the class, Montilus has 13 offers including Florida, Miami, Auburn, Oregon and Tennessee. It’s going to be the former two, though that will pose the biggest threat to North Carolina in its recruitment of Montilus. Both Florida and Miami, being in-state schools, also got junior day visits from him. Montilus camped at Florida in July and told Rivals’ Blake Alderman shortly after that event that Florida and North Carolina were the two schools recruiting him the hardest.

Henry Chibueze, Woodbridge, Va.

If Fedora opts to take two interior linemen in this class, Chibueze would be an intriguing option as the No. 2.

The 3-star prospect has the size at 6-foot-2, 330 pounds, though he hasn’t been as highly recruited with only five offers.

That being said, North Carolina is among those five, and Virginia is the only other Power 5 school. Granted, it’ll be difficult to pull the No. 66 guard in the Class of 2018 out of his home state if Virginia pushes strongly, but he does have a solid relationship with the Tar Heels coaching staff and attended the FREAK SHOW camp in July.

Nassir Little sets North Carolina official visit date

Yesterday, we wrote about 5-star small forward Nassir Little, who included the Tar Heels in his top five on Wednesday.

Since then, Little has updated his relationship with North Carolina, telling Scout’s Sherrell McMillan he intends to take his official visit to the Tar Heels on the weekend beginning Sept. 8 when the football team will be hosting Louisville.

Little has one other visit scheduled among his top five — to Georgia Tech the weekend of Aug. 26.