The North Carolina Tar Heels didn’t sign a linebacker in the class of 2013, so heading into this recruiting cycle, head coach Larry Fedora and his staff seem to have made it a point to get a few verbal commitments early. In April, they received their first when three star LB Cayson Collins pledged his services to the Tar Heels. And yesterday, they got a second commitment from two star Malik Carney from Alexandria, Virginia.
The 6-foot-2 208 pound Carney had a dozen or so offers, but the biggest competition for the Tar Heels was believed to be the Tennessee Volunteers. However, Carney picked North Carolina on Saturday, becoming the 15th commitment for 2014, joining his T.C. Williams High teammate Jeremiah Clarke in this class.
As a junior, Carney had 79 tackles and five sacks defensively and was one of the top running backs for his team as well. He had flown under the radar for the most part but began drawing attention after performing well at a Rivals Camp Series this spring.
Rivals national recruiting analyst Adam Friedman had this to say about his performance at the event:
“(Carney) didn’t really stand out in drills, but he shined during one-on-ones. For a big linebacker, Carney showed good speed and quickness in the open field when going against the running backs. He stuck with the backs on downfield routes and came up with a few impressive pass breakups and interceptions.”
Of the 15 commitments this year, 10 of them are on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Fedora is trying to improve a defense that was in the middle of the pack nationally in terms of total defense.
He’s off to a very nice start.
B.L. is an ACC Football writer for Rant Sports who can be followed @coachlip on Twitter.