UNC football is expanding its 2023 recruiting board. Here are 5 names to know

·4 min read
Dec 30, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown during the first quarter against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Bank of America Stadium.
Dec 30, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown during the first quarter against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Bank of America Stadium.

UNC football is all but moving on to the class of 2023.

While the Tar Heels are still targeting a few more high school seniors and transfer portal players for 2022, they’ve focused most of their January recruiting efforts on the current high school junior class.

UNC has extended 47 offers in the class of 2023, per 247Sports, and has one verbal commit to date in four-star Hough quarterback Tad Hudson. Earlier this month, coach Mack Brown’s program also hosted a group of newer recruiting targets and their families on campus for UNC’s first junior day of the cycle.

Here’s what you need to know about five intriguing UNC recruits who attended that event.

Edge rusher Desmond Umeozulu, Charles Herbert Flowers (Md.)

Playing in the ultra-competitive DMV area, Umeozulu established himself as one of the nation’s better defensive ends last fall. The first-team all-county honoree ended his junior season with 10-plus Division I offers (including UNC in October), and he’s added the likes of Ohio State, USC and Michigan this month.

Umeozulu ranks as a four-star recruit and the No. 25 edge rusher in the class, per the 247Sports composite. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Maryland defender had already visited Chapel Hill for a camp last summer, and his recent weekend on campus has “solidifie(d) UNC as a favorite,” per InsideCarolina.

Read more: UNC football needs offensive line depth. This Ivy Leaguer in the transfer portal could help

LB Tony Rojas, Fairfax (Va.)

Rojas’ 1,700 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns earned him regional offensive player of the year honors as a junior, but it’s his defensive acumen – 50 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks last year – that has drawn in various Division I programs. The 6-3, 200-pound athlete holds nearly 20 offers to date.

UNC offered Rojas in October, and he spent a “great” junior day visit chatting with linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen and tight ends coach John Lilly, among others. Rojas, who’s averaging 19.2 points per game on the basketball court this season, also visited Virginia Tech and Penn State for games last fall.

Read more: Charlton Warren was a 'remarkable recruiter' in the SEC. Now, he's bringing his pitch to UNC football

Edge rusher Daevin Hobbs, Robinson (Concord)

The next time recruiting websites update their 2023 rankings, Hobbs projects as one of the biggest risers across North Carolina. He recorded 50 tackles, 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles off the edge last year while using his size (6-6 and 240 pounds) to star at tight end, too, with 621 yards and nine touchdowns.

Hobbs, also a standout basketball player averaging 16.1 points per game, has offers including App State, Coastal Carolina and ECU, and his Power Five interests include UNC and Tennessee. Hobbs unofficially visited the Volunteers (who’ve had success recruiting North Carolina in recent seasons) twice last fall.

Read more: Can UNC football and Mack Brown make a late recruiting push for another defensive lineman?

DL Terry Simmons, Calvary Day School (Ga.)

Simmons, a three-star recruit per Rivals, picked up Division I interest through his junior season (Central Michigan, Georgia Southern, Florida Atlantic) and earned his first Power Five offer from Northwestern in January. Since then, he’s taken unofficials to UNC and Duke and communicated with Clemson’s staff.

He can credit that jump in interest to his 2021 productivity. In 13 games last fall, Simmons recorded 67 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hurries, four pass deflections and three sacks – solid numbers for a 6-2, 305-pound interior lineman. As with Hobbs, UNC hasn’t offered Simmons yet.

Read more: Can UNC football, Mack Brown continue trend of recruiting elite defensive linemen for 2023?

WR Isaiah Crumpler, D.H. Conley (Greenville)

Mixed into UNC’s junior day visitors were a few high school sophomores, including five-star quarterback Jayden Davis, 247Sports’ No. 1 overall 2024 recruit who recently transferred into Charlotte’s Providence Day School, and Crumpler, a 6-1 receiver turning heads in eastern North Carolina.

Crumpler, who holds an ECU offer, caught 40 passes for 874 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021 for the Pirates while contributing 85 tackles and three defensive touchdowns. He also excelled as a kick returner and a punt returner while picking up N.C. State interest. He’s a name worth following among N.C. sophomores.

Read more: 5 things to know about new UNC quarterback target Jadyn Davis, No. 1 recruit of 2024 class

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Isaiah Crumpler's current high school. He attends D.H. Conley High School, not J.H. Rose High School.

Chapel Fowler is a recruiting reporter for The Fayetteville Observer and the USA TODAY Network. Reach him by email at cfowler@gannett.com or on Twitter at @chapelfowler.

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: UNC football, Mack Brown ramp up recruiting efforts in class of 2023

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting