North Carolina’s 2023 recruiting class is poised to make history.

GG Jackson, who has been committed to the Tar Heels since April 27, was named the No. 1 overall prospect in the country for the class of 2023 by 247Sports on Thursday.

North Carolina has recruited well through the years, but having the nation’s top prospect is a rare feat even for the Tar Heels.

UNC also has another 5-star commitment in guard Simeon Wilcher. Hubert Davis is also still pursuing other 5-star prospects in this class in advance of presumed final collegiate seasons for players like Armando Bacot, RJ Davis, Caleb Love and Leaky Black.

Here’s a look at some records and droughts that UNC is poised to break with its 2023 recruiting class.

First No. 1 overall prospect at UNC since…

Harrison Barnes in 2010.

The Tar Heels have recruited well over the past decade, but their pursuit of truly elite prospects was put on hold during the NCAA’s infractions case. The NCAA ultimately found no wrongdoing, but the impact of the case still haunted the Tar Heels in recruiting.

That likely had an impact on creating a 12-year drought in-between Barnes and Jackson as the top-ranked player in a class. UNC did come close a couple times after the NCAA case ended — Nassir Little was the No. 3 player in 2018 and Cole Anthony was the No. 4 player in 2019.

Barnes ended up having a solid career in Chapel Hill. He stuck around for 2 seasons and helped lead the Tar Heels to back-to-back Elite Eight appearances. He became the No. 7 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and has enjoyed a successful pro career.

First pair of 5-star prospects at UNC since…

The class of 2020.

That group included the special trio of Caleb Love, Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler. Love is returning for his 3rd season in 2022-23. Sharpe (NBA) and Kessler (transfer) both left after one season.

Although 2020 is only 3 cycles ago, landing multiple 5-stars in a class has still been rare throughout UNC’s recent history. Here’s a look at the number of 5-star prospects UNC has signed since Barnes’ class in 2010:

  • 2022: 0
  • 2021: 0
  • 2020: 3
  • 2019: 2
  • 2018: 2
  • 2017: 0
  • 2016: 1
  • 2015: 0
  • 2014: 2
  • 2013: 1
  • 2012: 0
  • 2011: 2
  • 2010: 2

The potential for more

North Carolina almost certainly isn’t finished in the class of 2023. With so many expected outgoing players after the 2022-23 season, Davis and his staff are likely to continue recruiting elite prospects in this class.

One that is already known is 5-star forward Matas Buzelis — the No. 7 overall prospect in the country according to 247Sports. Wilcher revealed earlier this month that he has been recruiting Buzelis to the Tar Heels’ 2023 class.

If North Carolina does land Buzelis, it would put this class in a special place in UNC lore. For one, it would give UNC a trio of 5-stars. Aside from the 2020 class, that hasn’t happened in Chapel Hill since 2006.

It would also be the first time that North Carolina has landed 2+ top-10 players in the same class since 2006.

That 2006 class actually had 3 top-10 players: No. 3 Brandan Wright, No. 7 Ty Lawson and No. 9 Wayne Ellington. All 3 went on to have lengthy NBA careers. More importantly, Lawson and Ellington stuck around long enough to help lead UNC to the 2009 National Championship.