After a football season of too many injuries and losses, the early Signing Day felt like a win for North Carolina coach Larry Fedora.
The Tar Heels, after a 3-9 season, added 14 new players on Wednesday, including four four-star recruits and four of the top 20 players in the state, according to 247sports.
Receiver Jordyn Adams from Green Hope and running back Devon Lawrence highlight Fedora’s seventh class at UNC.
“I really do feel good,” Fedora said.
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The UNC coach was not able to say that many times during the 2017 season. Injuries derailed any chance UNC had at building on the success of the 2015 and ’16 seasons, when it went 19-8 overall and 13-3 in ACC play.
Fedora said the recruits understood the season, the first with a losing record in ACC play, was an exception to what has been the rule under Fedora.
“It was a tough year,” Fedora said. “It wasn’t like we got out on the road and kids, when we into talk to them, they thought the sky was falling.
“They know what’s going on. They see what we’re doing with the program, and so there weren’t any problems in that situation.”
The additions of Adams (6-1, 180 pounds), ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 75 in the country, and Dyami Brown (6-1, 180, West Mecklenburg), ranked No. 11 in the state, could fill an immediate void at receiver.
Adams caught 54 passes for 1,060 yards and 12 touchdowns at Green Hope this season, but Fedora said there’s a possibility he could be taken in the Major League Baseball draft this summer.
If Adams bypasses pro baseball, Fedora said he would play both sports for the Tar Heels.
Lawrence, whose older brother Dexter is a star defensive tackle at Clemson, ran for 1,845 yards and 30 touchdowns for Wake Forest High.
Fedora was also able to land a pair of quarterbacks, Jace Ruder from Norton, Kan., and Cade Fortin, from Suwanee, Ga., who could also help right away.
The Tar Heels are expected to return quarterbacks Nathan Elliott and Chazz Surratt, who both started games last season, but there’s always room for competition, Fedora said.
“All of these guys have an opportunity to earn a spot – at quarterback, at left guard, at kicker, at defensive tackle, at whatever the position is,” Fedora said.
“I want it to always be about competition, for these guys, in everything they do.”
The class ranks No. 6 in the ACC and No. 36 in the country, according to 247sports.
Six of the 14 players are from the state, and four (Adams, Brown, Lawrence and guard Avery Jones) rank in the top 20.
Fedora said he expects to have six of the players who signed on Wednesday to enroll in January, including both quarterbacks.
UNC won’t go up to the 25-man scholarship limit before the Feb. 7 Signing Day, Fedora said, but it will likely add a handful of players.
“This class isn’t done,” Fedora said. “I’m happy with where we are at right now. We did what we expected today, and we know what we have to do the rest of the way. So now, we will focus on that.”
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown High School
Jordyn Adams WR 6-1 180 Cary Green Hope
Dyami Brown WR 6-1 180 Charlotte, West Mecklenburg
Chris Collins DE 6-4 215 Richmond, Va. Benedictine College Prep
Cade Fortin QB 6-2 207 Suwanee, Ga. North Gwinnett
Avery Jones OL 6-4 285 Havelock Havelock
Devon Lawrence RB 5-11 190 Wake Forest Wake Forest
Trey Morrison DB 5-10 187 Norcross, Ga. Greater Atlanta Christian
Bryson Richardson DB 6-0 180 Buford, Ga. Buford
Jace Ruder QB 6-1 203 Norton, Kan. Norton Community
Jahlil Taylor DT 6-1 290 Pinehurst, Ga. Crisp County
Javon Terry DB 6-0 180 Wake Forest Wake Forest
Lancine Turay DE 6-5 230 Newark, N.J. Irvington
Kyle Wright LB 6-1 220 Blythewood, S.C. Ben Lippen
Javonte Williams RB 5-11 210 Wallace Wallace-Rose Hill