2007 Class Revisited: Part I

Many claim a recruiting class can't truly be evaluated until college careers are completed. With that in mind, Inside Carolina is beginning an annual tradition of analyzing Signing Day hauls five years later. This week, we review the Class of 2007 ...

Position: Defensive Tackle
School: Washington (D.C.) Ballou
Scout.com Ranking: 5 stars (No. 1 DT)
UNC Career Rating: 3.5

Austin was the crown jewel of Butch Davis's and John Blake's recruiting efforts for this class – he was a five-star prospect, U.S. Army All-American, the top ranked defensive tackle, and at one point the top ranked overall prospect in the nation. He considered UNC under John Bunting's regime, but that interest quickly fizzled out. After Davis' hiring, Austin showed a renewed interest in UNC and eventually officially visited. Austin also officially visited Florida State, Illinois, Tennessee, and USC, before selecting the Tar Heels on national television on Signing Day.

UNC Career
Although his UNC career was stained by an NCAA investigation during his senior season that resulted in an indefinite suspension until he was ultimately dismissed from the team, Austin's final season as a Tar Heel (2009) ended with second team All-ACC honors. During that season, he totaled 42 tackles, including six for a loss and four sacks, three pass breakups, six quarterback pressures, and a forced fumble. Despite being projected as a high NFL draft pick, Austin returned to UNC for his senior season.

As a true freshman, he made three starts and played in all 12 games at defensive tackle, accumulating 26 tackles, including six for a loss and four sacks. He followed that debut by playing in each of UNC's 13 games in 2008 and starting all but two. He ended his sophomore season tied with E.J. Wilson for most tackles by a UNC defensive lineman with 38. He also had 1.5 tackles for a loss, a sack, an interception, and a blocked kick.

The New York Giants drafted Austin in the second round of the 2011 draft (52nd pick overall). During the preseason, he tore his pectoral muscle and was placed on injured reserve.

Position: Cornerback
School: Maple Heights (Ohio)
Scout.com Rating: 2 stars (NR WR)
UNC Career Rating: 3.0

Brown didn't begin hearing from UNC until Butch Davis, who was hired a few months prior, tapped into his Cleveland area connections to pursue the athlete. He officially visited Chapel Hill in late-January and wasn't offered a scholarship until a week later. A day after receiving the offer, Brown committed to UNC over Connecticut. Besides UNC, Brown officially visited UConn and Bowling Green.

UNC Career
As a true freshman, Brown played in all 12 games, making nine starts at either cornerback or nickel back, and finished second in the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year voting to teammate Deunta Williams. For his sophomore season, he was the starting nickel back, playing in ten games. He was moved to cornerback during his junior year, where he started all 13 games and finished the season second on the team with 66 tackles and fifth in the ACC in passes defended with nine breakups and three interceptions. After sitting out the 2010 season and 2011 season opener for his involvement in the NCAA investigation, Brown started every game in 2011 at cornerback, leading UNC in passes defended with seven breakups and two interceptions. He also accumulated 53 tackles, including six for a loss, as a senior.

ESPN ranks Brown as the 20th best cornerback heading into the 2012 NFL Draft and projects him as a fifth rounder.

Position: Punter
School: Fresno (Calif.) City College
Scout.com Rating: NR (JC P)
UNC Career Rating: 3.0

Brown was a late addition to the Tar Heels' recruiting class. The JuCo punter didn't begin hearing from UNC until roughly a month after Signing Day and didn't officially visit the school until April. Before ending his official visit, he verbally committed to Butch Davis. Prior to hearing from UNC, Brown was headed to Santa Barbara (Calif.) Westmont College for baseball.

UNC Career
Brown was the punter for both of his two years on campus. He ended his career with a 40.5-yard average on 123 punts, with a long of 64 yards. Fifty of his punts were downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line and only nine went into the end zone for a touchback. He also failed to have a single punt blocked.

Position: Offensive Line
School: Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) Anderson
Scout.com Rating: 4 stars (No. 27 OT)
UNC Career Rating: 1.0

Despite collecting a plethora of scholarship offers, various reasons, including academic concerns, lead to Bryant only officially visit Mississippi and UNC. He selected the Tar Heels on Signing Day, after taking his UNC official visit the weekend prior. In spite of the academic concerns, the massive offensive lineman enrolled at UNC on time.

UNC Career
Bryant's UNC career was plagued by injuries and ended prior to his sophomore season. After red-shirting in 2007, he injured his wrist the following spring. He played in seven games as a freshman, primarily on special teams and as a reserve offensive lineman, before re-injuring his wrist and missing the final five games. He left the team prior to the 2008 season.

Position: Linebacker
School: High Point (N.C.) Southwest Guilford
Scout.com Rating: 3 stars (No. 26 MLB)
UNC Career Rating: 0.0

Craddock verbally committed to UNC in March of his junior year. Although he kept his options open throughout his recruitment, he never ended up officially visiting any other school. When he failed to qualify out of high school, he enrolled at Poplarville (Miss.) Pearl River CC. After red-shirting his first year at Pearl River, Craddock followed its coaching staff to Scooba (Miss.) East Mississippi CC. He saw limited action in East Mississippi's season opener before leaving campus to be with his father, who was suffering from a serious illness.

Position: Offensive Line
School: Pittsburgh (Pa.) Woodland Hills
Scout.com Rating: 3 stars (No. 61 OG)
UNC Career Rating: 1.0

Dykes verbally committed to UNC under the John Bunting regime, but softened his pledge when Bunting was dismissed. He eventually officially visited Mississippi. He solidified his commitment to the Tar Heels during an in-home visit with Butch Davis.

UNC Career
After red-shirting as a freshman, Dykes suffered a knee injury during practice prior to the 2008 season. He received a career-ending medical hardship the following spring.

Career Rating Scale
5.0: All-American
4.0: 1st Team All-ACC
3.0: Multi-year Starter
2.0: Reserve
1.0: Limited Contributor
0.0: Never Enrolled
About The Rating System: Putting a numerical rating to a college career is no simple task. The goal of the rating scale was to measure the college impact of each player, in a way that could enable future class comparisons, while taking as much of the subjectivity out of the equation as possible. This is not meant to parallel the high school star ratings, as there are factors that make a direct parallell flawed.

Check back tomorrow for Part II ...

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