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Recruiting Storylines: UNC vs SC

The North Carolina-South Carolina border clash kicks off 6pm on Thursday. But, this contest is waged annually on the recruiting trail.

Since the two schools are in neighboring states, UNC and South Carolina battle over some of the same recruits. Thus, both teams will oppose former targets during Thursday’s opener in Charlotte. 

North Carolina

·        Quinshad Davis

Class of ’12, Gaffney (S.C.), 3-star, No. 55 WR

Larry Fedora capped his makeshift, inaugural recruiting class at UNC with the addition of Davis on Signing Day. Early in his recruitment, South Carolina was believed to be – at the very least – a strong contender. However, after picking up commitments from three receivers in four days in July, the Gamecock offer was pulled. The offer was restored late in the cycle, but Davis elected to focus solely on UNC, Tennessee, and Wake Forest.

Davis, who received Freshman All-American Honorable Mention in 2012 and All-ACC Honorable Mention in 2013, enters 2015 tied with Hakeem Nicks for the UNC career record for touchdown receptions with 21. During his three-year career, he has made 150 receptions for 1,976 yards.

·        T.J. Logan

Class of ’13, Greensboro (N.C.) Northern Guilford, 4-star, No. 28 RB

South Carolina was the first school to offer Logan. That meant it was the first school to recognize that his hands-off approach to recruiting would make him difficult to pursue. However, UNC – specifically Chris Kapilovic – was persistent and thus scored his commitment that July. After capping an unbelievable senior season, UNC had to swat away overtures from several programs, including South Carolina.

Logan might not be listed  as UNC’s starting tailback, but he’ll be a big piece of the offense come Thursday – as a rusher, receiver and kick returner - just as he has the past two seasons. In 22 games, including 13 starts, he has rushed for 1,115 yards and scored nine touchdowns. He's added 36 receptions, and has returned 35 kicks for more than 700 yards and two touchdowns.

·        Bentley Spain

Class of ’14, Charlotte (N.C.) Providence, No. 10 OT

In the spring of his junior year, Spain narrowed a lengthy list of scholarship offers to LSU, UNC, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Stanford, and Virginia. He cut that list in half – to UNC, South Carolina, and Stanford – the ensuing summer. After summer trips to his three finalists, Spain returned to Chapel Hill to commit to the Tar Heels.

As a true freshman, Spain saw action in all 13 games of the 2014 season. He used this past spring to win the starting left tackle job.

South Carolina

·       Pharoh Cooper

Class of ’13, Havelock (N.C.), 3-star, No. 120 WR

Despite ending his junior season with the offensive MVP of the NCHSAA 3A State Championship game plus Associated Press All-State honors, most FBS schools passed on offering Cooper. South Carolina was one of the few exceptions and that paid off in the form of a commitment that May. As Cooper led Havelock to its second consecutive state championship, UNC realized the error of its ways, but it was too late.

A first-team All-SEC selection in 2014, Cooper has 402 rushing yards, 107 passing yards, 1,190 receiving yards, 359 kickoff return yards, and 115 punt return yards in his 24-game career.

·        Alan Knott

Class of ’13, Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek, 3-star, No. 30 OG

UNC and South Carolina became Knott’s top two schools after visiting both a couple of times during the spring of his junior year. The following June, he committed to the Gamecocks.

After red-shirting in 2013, Knott started eight games (appearing in all 13 contests) last season at center. He sits atop the center depth chart heading into Thursday.

·        Connor Mitch

Class of ’13, Raleigh (N.C.) Wakefield, 3-star, No. 44 QB

Mitch had several connections to UNC – attended games in Kenan Stadium as a child, trained with Bill Renner (father of Tar Heel QB Bryn), camped at the school as an underclassman, and watched his high school teammate, Jordan Fieulleteau, commit early to the program. But during UNC’s transition from Butch Davis to Larry Fedora, LSU and South Carolina emerged as co-leaders. He committed to the Gamecocks in the spring of his junior year.

Last week, Steve Spurrier named Mitch his starting quarterback. Mitch, who red-shirted in 2013, backed up Dylan Thompson a year ago, appearing in two games.

Current class

Outside of Javon Jackson, who was set to choose between Duke and South Carolina a couple of weeks ago only to delay the decision and thus reopening the door for UNC, there aren’t any pending recruiting battles between the Tar Heels and Gamecocks.

However, UNC and South Carolina collided a few times during this recruiting cycle. In early August, UNC received verbal commitments from Jordon Brown and Kyree Campbell – both not only listed South Carolina as finalists, but the Gamecocks were significant threats for each. Nearly two months prior, Luke Elder committed to UNC at Fedora’s Freak Show after narrowing his focus to North and South Carolina. The only true South Carolina recruiting victory against the Tar Heels for this class came last New Year’s Eve when Brandon McIlwain, who UNC was high on but eliminated the Tar Heels the previous summer, pledged to the Gamecocks.

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