Monday, August 17, 2009

Is Tar Heels' recruiting finally awakening?

Well, North Carolina does have two new recruits after sitting on the sidelines for weeks, but we’re not talking five-star phenoms here. The Tar Heels have added TE Sean Fitzpatrick of Pittsford (N.Y.)-Mendon High and OL Nick Appel of Bishop O’Connell High in Arlington, Va.

Neither was highly recruited; this class could use some big names to give it some sizzle, and many of the hotshots the Tar Heels were working on have committed elsewhere.

Fitzpatrick had already committed to Maryland, in fact, but when North Carolina hired Allen Mogridge—who had recruited Fitzpatrick in the past—to coach TEs, the player reconsidered.

Fitzpatrick, who has 4.6-second speed in the 40-yard dash, is 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, and considered a good blocker. As a junior, he caught 18 passes for 275 yards.

Appel is 6-6 and 300 pounds, and recruited to play OT, although he played some DE in high school. O’Connell coach Steve Trimble said, “There were some other teams right there, at the point of giving him an offer. Northwestern and Maryland were excited about him. I told him that he could go to only so many (summer) camps.

“I told Nick to pick out the schools he was most interested in and try and get
in their camps so they could get a look at him. The big thing was he was at
UNC's camp and they got a chance to see him.”

North Carolina was Appel’s first offer. He had been in the program for three years, since being cut from the freshman basketball team had dimmed his interest in that sport. He has 5.4 speed.

The additions push the Tar Heels’ class to nine players, counting those who were not admitted last year and were bumped from the Class of 2009 to ’10. UNC has 19 spots to fill.

--Stan Olson

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