Join us daily at ACC DieHards for the latest North Carolina recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Tar Heels. Don’t miss any coverage from Cody Pace and the DieHards.com team. Read his daily notebooks here at 7 p.m. ET Sunday through Thursday. In this edition, we discuss the recruiting benefits of North Carolina’s hire of former Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie.
Robert Gillespie will bring recruiting prowess to North Carolina
There’s been a lot of change on North Carolina football’s coaching staff this offseason, with the latest iteration being the addition of former Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie.
Gillespie’s hiring was reported on Tuesday by Greg Barnes of Inside Carolina. While his role hasn’t been specified, he’ll take the spot vacated by co-offensive coordinator, receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Gunter Brewer, who left for the reigning Super Bowl champion Eagles earlier this month.
Gillespie brings a long history of coaching running backs to the Tar Heels, but that’s probably not what’s most enticing about his hire.
What he’ll be expected to fill is the recruiting ability left by Brewer’s absence, and he’s got a long history of that, too.
Gillespie has been primarily used to recruit running backs. Just in his Tennessee tenure, which lasted from 2013 until February of this year, he was the primary recruiter for 4-star running back Jalen Hurd, 4-star JUCO transfer and reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara and 4-star running back Ty Chandler. He also helped the Volunteers land 4-star all-purpose back Derrell Scott, a Havelock, N.C. prospect, and he was the primary recruiter who helped South Carolina land 4-star running back Jarvis Giles in the Class of 2009.
In that department, Gillespie can immediately step in and give North Carolina a boost with top targets such as 5-star running back Quavaris Crouch and 4-star running backs Devyn Ford and Khafre Brown. Crouch is likely familiar with Gillespie because he took a visit to Tennessee in January before he left the staff.
That isn’t all Gillespie did as a recruiter over the course of his 12-year assistant coaching career.
Gillespie was also the primary recruiter on 4-star JUCO defensive end Jonathan Kongbo, 4-star athlete Alontae Taylor and 4-star outside linebacker Quart’e Sapp. Gillespie also helped Oklahoma State land 4-star athlete Justin Gilbert in 2010, who went on to finish fourth all-time in Cowboys’ history with 7 interceptions in 2013 and finished his career fifth all-time with 12 interceptions.
Tar Heels offer 4-star receiver Zion Puckett
North Carolina had a big haul at receiver in the Class of 2018 and it looks like it’s aiming high again for the Class of 2019.
On Tuesday, the Tar Heels offered 4-star receiver Zion Puckett.
— Zion Puckett (@ZionPuckett) March 13, 2018
Puckett, a Griffin, Ga. native, is a highly sought after prospect in the junior class, totaling 23 offers including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame and Ohio State, among many other blue bloods.
Puckett is the No. 43 receiver and No. 277 overall player in the Class of 2019. He’s the 24th receiver to receive an offer from the Tar Heels and so far, North Carolina’s class does not contain a pass catcher.
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