North Carolina coach Larry Fedora is working to get ahead of the curve on the recruiting trail.
Of UNC's 17 signees for 2014, five enrolled in January and went through fall practice, including projected instant-impact running back Elijah Hood of Charlotte, North Carolina.
A four-star recruit ranked among the nation's top 10 freshman running backs, Hood is an elusive, hard-nosed runner with sprinters' speed who was originally committed to Notre Dame before switching to the Tar Heels.
Also enrolling early were four-star offensive lineman Bentley Spain of Charlotte, defensive backs M.J. Stewart of Arlington, Virginia and Allen Artis of Marietta, Georgia, and tight end Brandon Fritts of Mentor, Ohio.
The Tar Heels signed a pair of quarterbacks, including four-star Caleb Henderson of Burke, Virginia, who is rated as the nation's No. 7 pro-style quarterback by 247Sports.
Also signing with UNC was two-star QB Dante DiMaggio of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Other additions of note include wide receiver Austin Proehl of Charlotte, North Carolina; defensive tackle Jeremiah Clarke of Alexandria, Virginia; offensive lineman Josh Allen of Jacksonville, Florida; and defensive ends Robert Dinkins of Charlotte and Tyler Powell of Midlothian, Virginia.
The status of one of UNC's signees is uncertain, following the arrest last week of tight end Avery Edwards on felony larceny chargers. Edwards, a graduate of the Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, is charged with stealing watches and jewelry worth $53,000.
Looking ahead to 2015, UNC currently has 10 players committed, including ESPN Top 300 picks Tommy Hatton, an offensive lineman from Montvale, New Jersey, and Carl Tucker, tight end from Cornelius, North Carolina, as well as four-star prospects Mason Veal, an offensive lineman from Charlotte, and Ronnie Harrison, a defensive back from Tallahassee, Florida. The Tar Heels have quarterback commitment from Anthony Ratliff of Matthews, North Carolina.