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North Carolina now has the No. 3 2021 recruiting class in the country; UNC, Ohio State tied with most four-star commits at 10

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Yes, we are living in a world where North Carolina is further solidifying a Top-Five recruiting class in football.  Not hoops.  IN FOOTBALL.

As a backdrop, from our March 19 post:

[F]our-star 2021 prospect Drake Maye, the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the country, committed to North Carolina football. Maye had been committed to Alabama since July of last year. Over the next two days, the Tar Heels received a pair of verbals from two other 2021 four-stars — wide receiver Kobe Paysour and offensive tackle Eli Sutton.

While North Carolina football was quiet on the recruiting front for the next week and a half or so — and Ohio State wasn’t — the Tar Heels made some noise again as Deandre Boykins verballed to the ACC school Wednesday night.

In confirming his commitment, the defensive back praised the 68-year-old North Carolina football head coach.

“He’s just a great coach first of all and he’s a great person,” Boykins said of Brown. “He cares about you and your family. And you can see it, it shows. I felt at home when I was there. I felt that all the coaches wanted me.

Fast-forward to April 3. On that day, Kamarro Edmonds gave a verbal commitment to North Carolina football. Edmonds committed to UNC over offers from, among others, Louisville, LSU, Missouri, NC State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

The four-star running back announced his decision via Twitter.

With Bryant’s verbal, North Carolina football now has commitments from 12 2021 recruits. Of those, 10 are four-star prospects. That’s tied with Ohio State for the most in this cycle.

Of those 12 Tar Heels commitments, 11 of them played their high school football in the state of North Carolina.

For the 2020 cycle, head coach Mack Brown landed nine four-star recruits. That gives him 19 (and counting) in less than two full cycles as the North Carolina football head coach. In the five cycles prior to Brown’s return to Chapel Hill, the program had signed 21 four-star recruits. Combined.

Currently, the Tar Heels can claim the third-ranked class in the country. Ohio State (No. 1) and Clemson (No. 2) are the only schools ahead of UNC at the moment.

This century, North Carolina has never had a Top-Five recruiting class. Their highest-ranked class in that span was 10th in 2007, the first year under Butch Davis. The Tar Heels have had five other classes that were Top 20 — 2020 (19th), 2018 (20th), 2011 (18th), 2009 (12th) and 2003 (18th).

Brown, of course, is no stranger to highly-rated recruiting classes. His last 14 years as the head coach at Texas, the Longhorns finished in the Top 10 on 10 different occasions. Included among that was the top-ranked class in 2002. Brown also pulled in the No. 2 classes in 2010 and 2012.

All told, Brown had five Top-Five classes during his time in Austin.

South Alabama announces future home-and-home with Louisiana Tech

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If you’ve been thinking, “boy, I sure could use some scheduling news involving South Alabama and Louisiana Tech,” are you ever in luck.

South Alabama Wednesday announced a future home-and-home series with Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs will head to Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile on Sept. 24, 2022.  The Jaguars will then take a trip to Ruston’s Joe Aillet Stadium on Sept. 25, 2027.

South Alabama and Louisiana Tech have squared off twice previously.  Those two matchups were part of a home-and-home in 2017 and 2018.  Both of those were wins for the Bulldogs.

USA had previously announced a home-and-home with Ole Miss.

South Alabama is coming off a 2-10 season in the second year under Steve Campbell.  The Jaguars have never finished above .500 since making the move to the FBS level in 2012.  The closest they came was a 6-6 record in 2013.

Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, is coming off a 10-3 2019 campaign.  The 10 wins set a school record as an FBS program. In beating Miami 14-0 in the 2019 Independence Bowl, Tech became the first Group of Five school to shut out a Power Five member in a postseason game.

In seven seasons under skip Holtz, the Bulldogs have gone 56-36.  Those are the most wins for a Bulldogs head coach since Tech moved up to the Div. I-A, now FBS, level.  With 151, Joe Aillet holds the school’s all-time record.

Eastern Michigan adds a tight end to its 2020 recruiting class

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Like Boise State and Nebraska before it, Eastern Michigan continues a late filling of its 2020 football recruiting class.  Even as its eyes are mostly on the 2021 class.

Eastern Michigan football Wednesday that its has officially signed tight end Lucas Luft as part of its Class of 2020.  With Luft’s signing, the Eagles now have a class that’s 24 recruits strong.

Luft spent the past two seasons at Fullerton College.  In 2018, Luft was a first-team All-Southern California Football Association selection after averaging a ridiculous 31.5 yards per catch.

According to 247Sports.com, Luft is the No. 17 JUCO tight end in this year’s class.  He’s also a three-star signee according to that recruiting service.

“In Lucas, we have found exactly what we were looking for,” said head coach Chris Creighton. “He’s a tough 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end that can really stretch the field and catch. He was an excellent wide receiver in high school and has grown into a man who can do it all. Best of all, he is the kind of person we look for off the field. He is a great fit for Eastern Michigan football.

Eastern Michigan now holds the No. 7 football recruiting class in the MAC.

EMU is coming off a 6-7 campaign that ended with a QuickLane Bowl loss to Pitt.  The Eagles have now played in a bowl game three of the past four years, the only time in school history that’s ever happened.

Creighton’s 28 wins (in six seasons) are already fifth-most in the program’s history.

At least five Alabama football players have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus

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For once, Alabama and Marshall have something in common when it comes to football.

Earlier this week, it was reported that a pair of Marshall football players had tested positive for coronavirus.  The positive tests came after the Thundering Herd players had returned to campus for voluntary workouts.  Both of those individuals were placed in quarantine.

After being allowed to by the SEC, Alabama football players began returning for voluntary on-campus workouts Monday.  Four days later, it’s now being reported that at least five Alabama football players have tested positive for COVID-19.

All of the Crimsin Tide players who tested positive are asymptomatic.  Based on protocol, all of those have been isolated from the rest of the team. Al.com wrote that “[a]t least one of the players who tested positive for COVID-19 was in attendance for player-led workout sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday.” Obviously, the players involved have not been named publicly.

One report, however, stated “that the list of players included a lineman, a couple of skill players and one quarterback.”

Thursday evening, Alabama released a statement that neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

The health and safety of our student-athletes is a top priority. Resources and protocols are in place to ensure they receive the best medical care when returning to campus. Due to privacy laws we cannot share information specific to the health of our student-athletes.

Chris Beaty Memorial Fund set up to honor ex-Indiana defensive lineman gunned down Monday

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Chris Beaty may be gone, but the former Indiana football player won’t be soon forgotten.

It was reported Monday that Beaty “was one of two men shot and killed in separate incidents over the weekend as violence erupted in Downtown Indianapolis.” The 38-year-old Beaty was shot multiple times shortly before midnight local time Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Chris Beaty was a defensive lineman for the Indiana Hoosiers football team from 2000-04.

This week, Beaty’s nephew, Jared Thomas, set up a GoFundMe page to honor his uncle’s legacy.  The goal of the fundraising page, Thomas wrote, is to collect “donations in his memory to the Chris Beaty Memorial Scholarship Fund that will benefit Indiana University & Cathedral High School, his alma maters which he loved so dearly.”

As of this posting, more than $40,000 has been raised.

Despite being away from the Indiana football program as a player for nearly two decades, Beaty remained close to it.

HoosierHuddle.com wrote that “Beaty was still actively involved with IU football. He tweeted on April 26th a screenshot of head coach Tom AllenMark Deal and several other Indiana football alumni. He thanked Allen for checking in with the former players and said that IU football was in good hands.”

Included was a tweet from Beaty’s personal Twitter account.

“I am at a loss for words,” a statement from Allen began. “The news of the passing of Chris Beaty is just devastating. Since I returned home to coach at Indiana, Chris embraced me, encouraged me and supported me! His passion for life and Indiana Football energized me every time we were together. He was one of our first alumni that displayed his unwavering support for what we are building here at Indiana and how we are building it. I am so heartbroken for his family and he will be deeply missed by all those that were blessed to call him a friend! LEO”