North Carolina landed its quarterback o the future Monday, when key in-state recruit Anthony Ratliff committed to the Tar Heels, according to Charlotte Observer reporter Langston Wertz. The Butler High School (Matthews, N.C.) standout is the third member of Larry Fedora's 2015 class, joining Florida defenders Ronnie Harrison and Andre Smith.
Ratliff, rated the nation's No. 20 dual-threat quarterback by 247Sports, enjoyed a strong junior campaign last fall. He dominated opposing defenses during an 11-win season.
The 6'1", 195-pound playmaker picked up 2,362 passing yards and 30 touchdowns, per The Observer. Ratliff also rushed for more than 1,400 yards and 20 scores.
He spent time at Chapel Hill last season and this February, establishing a strong rapport with the program. Less than three weeks since his latest visit with the Tar Heels, Ratliff pulled the trigger on a pledge.
“It was the familiarity with them,” Butler coach Brian Hales told The Observer. “Those guys did an unbelievable job recruiting him. The style of offense they play is very comfortable for him, and academically [UNC] a great reputation, and he gets to stay close to home.”
Ratliff traveled to Duke for a visit in late February. The Blue Devils are among a group of programs that invested resources into recruiting the quarterback but now must look elsewhere.
His offer sheet includes Clemson, Toledo and Mississippi State.
Ratliff's collegiate attention has quickly increased during his junior year.
“I know how much mail I’ve gotten here at school from (college) and that doesn’t even compare to what he gets at home," Hales said.
The commitment gives North Carolina a prospect to develop. His skill set presents plenty of promise for progression in upcoming years.
Ratliff is able to beat teams with his legs on a routine basis. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds, according to 247Sports.
His agility allows him to make defenders miss in the open field and keeps him upright in the pocket. Ratliff doesn't have a rocket, but his arm is strong enough to fire the football into exploitable space beyond the defensive backfield.
“That’s the thing with him, he can be any kind of quarterback,” Hales told Scout.com writer Don Callahan. “He’s a kid that if he’s in the pocket and he has time, he’ll pick the defense apart. But, he’s able to hurt a defense with his legs, too.”
Ratliff will arrive in Chapel Hill as a quarterback prospect, but his athleticism provides the possibility for a possible position change if things don't work out for him as a passer.