Michael Switzer/Inside Carolina

UNC Commit Tyler Pritchett on the Mend

Tyler Pritchett is working his way back to be able to return to action this fall. But when it comes to recruiting for UNC, he's never been sitting on the sidelines.

After a strong start to his senior season, North Carolina pledge Tyler Pritchett has been out of service the past two games.

“I was sick and I lost a little bit of weight,” Pritchett said. “So now I’m just trying to get my strength back and get back to where I was at before [getting sick].”

Pritchett isn’t comfortable revealing the actual illness and isn’t certain of his exact return. But, the 6-foot-3, 295-pound offensive lineman believes he’ll be on the field when Auburn (Ala.) High enters the playoffs.

“I’ve been playing varsity football and starting since the eighth grade,” Pritchett said. “For me, I honestly can’t remember a time when I had to sit and watch and know that it’s my team that’s playing and I can’t do anything about the outcome. It’s been really tough. Once I recovered [from the illness] and actually to be there for games, that’s when it really hit me. You see the guys you went through all summer with – blood, sweet, and tears being shed – and you can’t do anything to help them. I’m not even going to lie, I almost shed a tear.”

The extra time has allowed Pritchett to plan his Chapel Hill return. He says he’ll definitely be in Kenan Stadium when UNC takes on rival Duke on Nov. 7 and hopes to also make the Tar Heels’ home finale against Miami.

“I just want to go up there and have a good time and see the bond between the players that are up there already,” Pritchett said. “I want to continue to build relationships and if I get a chance to talk some Xs and Os with Coach Kap [Chris Kapilovic] that would be great, too. Other than that, I’m looking to have a good time. I’m hoping my Tar Heels will be ranked by then and we’ll be able to beat a good Duke team and a good Miami team, as well.”

Sight unseen, Pritchett committed to UNC in mid-May. However, he was able to visit Chapel Hill a couple of weeks later and returned for Fedora’s Freak Show in June.

“I took a leap of faith with committing,” Pritchett said. “When I was going up there [the first time], my expectations were I just wanted it to feel like a family. When I first got there, that’s what it was. My first visit blew everything out of the water… Honestly, I felt like when they were telling me about the future of North Carolina football, I really saw the vision and what they were talking about.”

Pritchett says that vision has begun to materialize this season with UNC’s 4-1 start and a win to open ACC play.

“To everybody else it might be a surprise, but I saw it,” Pritchett said. “I remember back when Logan [Byrd] and I were the only two committed and the future wasn’t looking too bright from the outside. But I knew that the future was going to be bright.”

Pritchett has been sharing that vision with other recruits. Even though he’s one of the farthest UNC pledges from campus, he has been the most active recruiter on the Tar Heels’ commitment list.

“I’ve always had a dream of winning a national championship,” Pritchett said. “… And to do that, I need to play with the best.”

Among Pritchett’s current targets are five-star receiver Nate Craig and his half-brother Jayvaughn Myers, who is committed to Florida. Pritchett says he communicates with Craig daily.

“All I can say is don’t be surprised, because there are some good things happening in Tar Heel recruiting,” Pritchett said.

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