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.
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.
Despite being listed as Miami’s starting Z-receiver in the pregame depth chart, Berrios hasn’t started a game since the 2014 season. Regardless, he’s made 37 receptions for 364 yards and three touchdowns in three years for the Canes. This season, he’s only found the end zone on a punt return (a 41-yarder versus FAMU in the opener).
Class of ‘13, Oakland (Fla.) Northeast, 4-star, No. 75 WR
While he never visited campus, Coley included UNC among his favorite schools during a later segment of his recruitment. After official visits to Florida State, Miami, and South Florida, he chose the Hurricanes on National Signing Day.
Coley has established himself as one of the Canes’ top receivers of all-time. In 41 career games, he has hauled in 125 receptions (seventh all-time) for 1,755 yards (10th all-time), and 17 touchdowns (tied for seventh all-time). This season, he’s Miami’s leading receiver with 22 catches for 297 yards and six touchdowns.
Class of ’15, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian, 3-star, No. 33 OG
As he entered the final month of his recruitment, 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 January, but ended up only visiting Auburn, Miami, and Ole Miss. On Signing Day, he signed with the U.
Norton has started all five games at nose tackle this season with 16 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss. As a true freshman a year ago, he played in all 12 games with 19 stops.
Class of ’14, Alexandria (Va.) Williams, 4-star, No. 11 DE
Heading into the summer of his senior year, Clarke 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.
Since red-shirting in 2014, Clarke has played in every game the past two seasons (20) with four starts at defensive tackle. He has 18 tackles this year, with a sack. A year ago, he tallied 44 tackles, including two for a loss and a sack.
Class of ’15, Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth, 4-star, No. 10 DE
Up until the final month of his recruitment, 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.
Six games into last season, Dalton’s red-shirt was burned. He went on to appear in nine games -- primarily at defensive tackle -- tallying 15 tackles, two QB hurries, and two pass breakups. He has appeared in all six games this season, with a pair of starts at D-tackle. He’s made 11 tackles on the year.
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. However, Nebraska and Wisconsin, as well as UNC, were the only schools that ended up receiving an official trip. After his travels, he solidified his commitment to the Tar Heels.
Smith has started every game this season at Mike linebacker recording double-digit tackles in half those contests. After posting a career high of 15 tackles last week, he ranks third in the ACC with 9.7 tackles per game. As a true freshman a year ago, he appeared in all 14 games collecting 53 tackles.
Following fringe recruiting intersections earlier this cycle, potential battles are brewing for a pair of Sunshine State running back -- Malik Davis and Darrian Felix. Davis has already said that Miami and UNC are the only schools guaranteed to receive official visits. Although Oregon is the team to beat for Felix, he reportedly came back from a recent official trip to Eugene citing he may need to take official visits before rendering a decision. UNC -- as well asTennessee -- was mentioned as a likely destination, while Miami also remains in the picture.