Recruiting Storylines: UNC vs Miami

Revisiting the North Carolina-Miami recruiting stories that will play a role in Saturday's matchup.

Since Butch Davis’s departure in 2011, North Carolina-Miami recruiting battles have decreased significantly. Still, there are several players that could have been on the opposite side of this Coastal Division rivalry on Saturday.

Miami

Braxton Berrios

Class of ’14, Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road, 3-star, No. 64 WR

Although he’s one of the few N.C. natives on Miami’s roster, Berrios gave little thought to UNC outside of a couple of campus visits. Early in the summer prior to his senior year, he named Clemson, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia his favorites. Two months later, his recruitment drastically changed when childhood favorite Miami offered. He committed to the Hurricanes the following October.

As a true freshman last season, Berrios played in all 13 games with four starts at slot receiver. He ended that season with 21 receptions for 232 yards and three touchdowns. He’s played in seven games this year catching nine balls for 70 yards.

Dallas Crawford

Class of ’11, Fort Myers (Fla.) South, 3-star, No. 35 CB

In the January leading up to his Signing Day, Crawford had consecutive official visits scheduled (in order) with Miami, UNC, and Southern Cal. His recruitment, though, didn’t make it much beyond that first trip. Two days after returning home, he committed to the Hurricanes and canceled the rest of his visits.

After red-shirting 2011, Crawford has appeared in all 47 games the past four seasons. He began his career at running back, but switched to safety prior to his junior campaign. At safety, he has collected 61 tackles the past two seasons. 

Kendrick Norton

Class of ’15, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian, 3-star, No. 33 OG

As he entered the homestretch of his recruitment last January, Norton named Miami, Michigan, UNC, Ole Miss, and UCLA as his top schools. He had official visit dates with UNC tentatively scheduled at different points that month, but ended up only visiting Auburn, Miami, and Ole Miss. On Signing Day, he signed with the U.

A true freshman, Norton has played in all nine games this season backing up senior Calvin Heurtelou at nose tackle. On the year, he has compiled 11 tackles, including a sack.

North Carolina

Jeremiah Clark

Class of ’14, Alexandria (Va.) Williams, 4-star, No. 11 DE

Heading into the summer of his senior year, Clark reduced his list of schools under consideration to six – Miami, UNC, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wake Forest. A day after visiting the last of those – Tennessee – he verbally committed to UNC.

After red-shirting last year, Clarke has played in all nine games this season, while starting two at defensive tackle. On the year, he has 24 tackles (10 solo), including 1.0 for a loss.

Jalen Dalton

Class of ’15, Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth, 4-star, No. 10 DE

As late as last September, Miami – along with UNC and Virginia Tech – was a member of Dalton’s favorite schools list. Regardless, he never ended up visiting the campus. After in-season official trips to UNC and Virginia Tech, he decided to stay in-state.

Injuries at defensive tackle forced the UNC staff to burn Dalton’s red-shirt prior to the Wake Forest game. In four contests, he has eight tackles, including one for a loss.

Andre Smith

Class of ’15, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian, 3-star, No. 27 MLB

Midway through his junior season, UNC became the first school to offer Smith. He returned the favor by pledging to the school sight unseen. A year later, though, he decided to officially visit other schools with Miami among his desired destinations. Nebraska and Wisconsin, as well as UNC, were the only schools that ended up receiving an official trip. Last December, he solidified his commitment to the Tar Heels.

Although a true freshman, Smith has appeared in all nine games this season with a pair of starts at linebacker. He’s fourth on the team with 39 tackles (16 solo).

Current Class

Al Golden’s ousting last month has led to four Miami de-commitments – and that doesn’t include James Pierre’s deflection to UNC just before the firing. So the Hurricanes are more focused on keeping its nationally ranked class intact than adding to it. 

Even before Golden’s termination, UNC and Miami met sparingly on the recruiting trail this year. Outside of Pierre’s flip, the only real battle was Dominique Ross. The Jacksonville (Fla.) linebacker committed to UNC in June, but was on the recruit guest list for Miami-Clemson, the game that cost Golden his job.


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