CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina — North Carolina carried momentum from an 11-win season and a trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game into national signing day.
The Tar Heels unveiled a 26-player class — including seven January enrollees — that earned top-25 nationally from both Rivals and Scout recruiting services. That followed a year in which the Tar Heels matched the program single-season record for wins and earned a top-10 ranking for the first time since 1997 before finishing at No. 15 in the Top 25.
"Winning helps in every aspect of the program, but definitely in recruiting," Fedora said Wednesday. "And I think towards the end of the year, I think you felt that bump. And you're going to feel that bump into the 2017 class and the '18 class."
UNC's haul ranked No. 22 according to Rivals and No. 23 according to Scout, the highest in either ranking since Fedora arrived here after the 2011 season.
In addition, Fedora said he felt the school's long-running academic fraud scandal — which has hindered recruiting since his arrival — was less of an issue. The NCAA has charged the school with five violations, including lack of institutional control, tied to 18 years of irregular courses featuring significant athlete enrollments.
A year ago, Fedora said "negative recruiting" by other schools tied to the case was "at an all-time high."
"It's not like it was," Fedora said. "Even though I think people still use that out there, I just think people are tired of hearing about it and they know that there's been a lot crying wolf about what's going to happen and none of those things have happened. So I think they feel pretty comfortable with what we're saying and they know that we're moving forward."
Other things to know:
Top 25 class: Yes.
Best in class: Kyree Campbell, DT, Woodbridge, Virginia.
Best of the rest: Chazz Surratt, QB, Denver, North Carolina; Jay-Jay McCargo, OL, Alexandria, Virginia; Tomon Fox, DE, Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Late addition: DB Patrice Rene (Alexandria, Virginia) originally committed to Rutgers but flipped to UNC in January.
One that got away: WR Nate Craig-Myers (Tampa, Florida) chose Auburn over UNC on Wednesday.
How they'll fit in: After a defensive turnaround last year under coordinator Gene Chizik, the Tar Heels loaded up on defense with 16 signees — including seven defensive backs and four linebackers — after losing seniors in the unit's back seven.