North Carolina came into this year with big expectations, but it hasn’t worked out. The Tar Heels have three losses already this season, the latest coming at home to a struggling Florida State squad. 

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that UNC is recruiting at a level that will make future breakout seasons more possible. The Tar Heels’ 2022 class currently ranks in the top 10 nationally and is loaded with blue-chip recruits. 

It’s also a class that’s heavily focused on skill position players and in the trenches — two areas where North Carolina needs to see improvement moving forward. 

Here’s a breakdown of UNC’s class so far:

Class ranking: No. 1 in ACC, No. 9 nationally

Total commits: 15

Blue-chip commits (4-and-5-star prospects): 10

Highest-rated offensive player: 5-star OT Zach Rice | No. 9 overall | No. 1 OT | Lynchburg, Virginia

Highest-rated defensive player: 5-star DL Travis Shaw | No. 4 overall | No. 2 DL | Greensboro, North Carolina

Final thoughts: If North Carolina can close on this class, it will be a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing 2021 campaign. There’s plenty of potential for early-impact players here, and that will be important as the Tar Heels look to fill holes next season.